Expo Leaders – Construction

Emad AzmyOsama Bishai
Hamed ZaghwStephen Flint
Kez Taylor
Emad Azmy, President and Executive Director, ASGC

Emad Azmy

President and Executive Director


At the helm of the Dubai-based construction company since 1989, Azmy has incorporated strategic decisions to take ASGC into new directions. Under his stewardship, the group has also demonstrated operational expertise and ability to deliver turnkey projects across a diverse portfolio. One of the main reasons that has led the group to be one of the top contractors in the region is its ability to handle most of the construction activities in-house.

In Azmy’s words, this gives the company a high degree of control over all the projects and construction life cycle. It is not just in-house abilities, technological advancements too have contributed to the group’s success. The adoption of technology has aided in streamlining processes for ASGC, as the company continues to further enhance its technological capabilities to be an “innovative” contractor.

Despite the slowdown caused by the pandemic, ASGC recorded a significantly successful year with the completion of five of its remarkable projects, including Expo 2020 Dubai’s Sustainability Pavilion, Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Library as well as Harbour Views. The contractor also secured the Building Completion Certificates (BCCs) for these projects. In addition to the Sustainability Pavilion, ASGC has also worked on Expo’s Opportunity Pavilion and several country pavilions, including Pakistan, Palestine, Morocco, Ukraine and Egypt.

While the UAE is ASGC’s home country, it has also expanded operations in Egypt and Angola in Africa. Some of its renowned projects in the North African nation include, Magra El Oyoun Fence Area Development, Mivida Office Park Buildings, and infrastructure of R7 District in the New Administrative Capital, among others.

Looking ahead, in 2021, ASGC anticipates its revenues to cross $1bn across the group, as Azmy expects “a strong market recovery” in the second half of the year, with an increased demand in the residential sector.

Hamed Zaghw, CEO MEA, AECOM

Hamed Zaghw



AECOM’s CEO for the Middle East and Africa, Hamed Zaghw, has been at the helm of the organisation for the last five years.

Zaghw first joined AECOM as the Chief Operating Officer in November 2014 and was appointed to his current role on January 1, 2017.

Over the last year, Zaghw has guided AECOM’s people and operations safely through the pandemic while ensuring a relevant and profitable business in the ‘new normal’.

According to Zaghw, resilience and dedication to client success have paved AECOM’s way for growth.

In the past 12 months, AECOM continued to stabilise its business by leveraging on client relationships and innovation to create new opportunities, mainly in programme management, transportation, and masterplanning.

One important factor that aided the company during the turbulent market situation is digital project delivery, which was a focus area for AECOM across the region, prior to the pandemic, as many of its projects have been cloud-based.

The second major success for the firm has been extending its role on key projects in the region including NEOM and regional aviation hubs.

AECOM’s ongoing projects include Saudi Customs PMO, MoMRA PMO, NEOM Bay PMC, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, The Red Sea Airport, schools infrastructure development PPP in Saudi Arabia, Midfield Terminal Complex in Abu Dhabi, and roads and drainage projects in Qatar.

Among the projects completed in the past year are Al Maryah Central, Expo 2020 Interchanges, East Sitra Housing, Al Janoub Stadium, Jebel Ali Sewage Treatment Plant, the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Scheme, ICD Brookfield Place.

Other achievements include specific completion milestones at Yas Acres, Doha Oasis, and the Mall of Oman.

Kez Taylor, CEO, ALEC

Kez Taylor



Spearheading one of the largest construction firms in the region, ALEC, is its CEO Kez Taylor, who came in fifth place in Construction Week’s Power 100 list in 2021.

Over the past 12 months, ALEC has maintained a healthy order book by securing work for 2021 and 2022, as it marked a significant improvement in its operational efficiency.

The company is implementing its new ERP system setting – a stepping stone of its digital transformation. ALEC has also increased the utilisation of BIM in addition to using software and digital solutions across different processes within the firm.

The contacting heavyweight has been digitising its core operations through the HIVE initiative, which aims to connect over 53 applications, 219 core processes, scores of departments, business units, sites, as well as 2,300 staff members.

Another distinctive milestone for the company is the launch of its new business verticals, including ALEC Energy and ALEC Modular, as Taylor says these businesses address the market trends as well the “future of construction”.

ALEC’s current pipeline of construction projects exceeds $2.7bn (AED10bn) in value. Some of these projects include the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport, One Za’abeel, Marina Gate 2 and 3, Tower 9, Dubai Hills Regional Mall, enabling works for Dubai Creek Harbour Retail District, Deira Waterfront – Plot 4, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Conference & Exhibition Centre and Mobility Pavilion, as well as KSA.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ALEC was able to prosper thanks to its digital transformation, which luckily began well before the crisis kicked off. In 2019, ALEC implemented several initiatives that enabled it to become efficient and sustainable, as well as provide maximum safety for all of its employees. ALEC reacted very quickly to the crisis, and even the firm’s leadership team were involved in daily team meetings, offering their guidance and support.

Osama Bishai, CEO, Orascom Construction

Osama Bishai


Orascom Construction

Osama Bishai, the CEO of Orascom, is spearheading the contracting giant that has positively been contributing to the development of Egypt, through projects across transportation, energy, industrial, and commercial among other sectors. Since joining the company in 1985, Bishai has transformed the business to become one of the most successful contractors in the region, with a global workforce of more than 54,000 people in over 20 countries around the world.

Egypt is Orascom Construction’s home country and the company, according to Bishai, has been excited about the North African nation. It has been supportive of Egypt’s Vision 2030 agenda that focuses on stimulating connectivity amongst Egyptians through rail and road projects.

The company is currently working on major transport projects in Egypt, including Cairo Metro Line 4 and Cairo Monorail. Other major projects that the company is involved in are the Grand Egyptian Museum and the Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre.

It has also worked on Ras Ghareb Wind Farm, which is based on the build-own-operate model. The project began commercial operations in 2019. In 2020, when the construction sector was grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orascom Construction continued to stabilise its business. The contractor maintained a strong backlog at $5.4bn as of 31 December 2020, which comprised high quality projects.

Over the past 12 months, the construction heavyweight generated positive operating cash flow and maintained a net cash position to reflect on the company’s healthy operations. During this time, the firm also strengthened its health and safety efforts to achieve multiple targets including low Lost Time Injury (LTI) rates at many of its sites, including at mega water projects in Egypt and commercial projects in the US.

As the contractor continues to be vigilant in 2021, it expects to increase this year’s revenues in line with the level achieved in 2020.

Stephen Flint, Managing Director, Khansaheb Contracting

Stephen Flint

Managing Director

Khansaheb Contracting

One of the Middle East’s most powerful construction leaders, Stephen Flint is the Managing Director of Khansaheb Group and Khansaheb Civil Engineering, and has been working for the firm for more than a decade now.

His career in the construction industry began in 1971, after he trained as an engineer. He’s worked in countries such as the UK, Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi before joining Khansaheb as Group General Manager in 2010.

Flint has worked closely with the company’s shareholders over the past 12 months to manage the acquisition and transfer of shareholding to 100% ownership by its local owners, Khansaheb Investments.

Despite the slowdown in 2020, Khansaheb has delivered several projects together valued at approximately $326.7m (AED1.2bn). Additionally, it has secured $272.3m (AED1bn) worth of new contracts over the past 12 months.

Some of the projects that Khansaheb has delivered and has been working on in recent months include the University of Birmingham in Dubai, Sports Society Mirdif, Ajman City Centre, Sofitel Hotel at Wafi, the Aquaventure Water Park on Palm Jumeirah, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Kempinski Hotel Business Bay, and the Mall of the Emirates redevelopment, in addition to various work packages at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Other recent achievements include setting excellent health and safety standards across the company’s projects.

The firm also highlighted its initiatives including its ‘K’ standards, which focuses on mandatory health and safety standards and provides fail safe equipment, while its ‘Sustain-Ability’ agenda has enabled the business to have year-on-year reductions in consumption and waste in key areas.

The UAE-based 85-year-old contractor expects revenues of $326.7m (AED1.2bn) in 2021. According to Flint, the revenue has been impacted by changes in the market due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.