|Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna||Rohit Ramachandran|
|Ghaith Al Ghaith||Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem|
|Jozsef Varadi||Tim Clark|
|Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi||Tony Douglas|
Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna
President UAE and Global Chief Strategy & Operations
GE International Markets
Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna is president of GE in the UAE and the global Chief of Strategy & Operations, GE International Markets.
Al Muthanna partners with the GE businesses in the industrial verticals of Energy, Aviation and Healthcare to develop and facilitate the execution of market business strategy in the UAE.
She also holds a global role leading the strategic direction of the GE International Markets organisation, which enables GE to operate within selected strategic, complex, and emerging markets by building strong stakeholder relationships, analysing unique market dynamics, and leading lean transformation across its operational management system.
Al Muthanna joined GE in 2008, climbing the corporate ladder until she assumed her current role. Prior to her career with GE, Al Muthanna founded, and was the CEO, of Haya Enterprises LLC, a retail organisation of a group of multi-brands and exclusive franchises in the UAE.
Al Muthanna gives particular interest to promoting diversity, developing leadership capability and local talent, as well as driving innovation to advance technological growth in the region.
She has an MBA from the American University of Dubai and a PhD from the Imperial College of London where she wrote her thesis on Business Model Innovation to Promote a Low Carbon Economy in Dubai.
Speaking to Arabian Business during this year’s Emirati Women day – under the theme of Ambitions & Inspiration for Next 50 years, an ode to HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE’s, announcement of 2021 as the Year of the 50th – Al Muthanna said: “The theme emphasizes the role women will continue to play in the progress, growth and prosperity of the UAE.
It inspires all generations of Emirati women to contribute to the work of nation building – now and in the future – to assume leadership positions.”
Ghaith Al Ghaith
Ghaith Al Ghaith was appointed CEO of Dubai’s first low-cost airline, flydubai, in 2008. Since then, he’s helped to pilot the continuous growth of the sector in the region, which has been buoyed by flydubai’s partnership with Emirates – a relationship that will enable Dubai to become an even larger aviation powerhouse than ever before.
Al Ghaith has enjoyed a career of more than 30 years in the aviation industry. He began his career with Dubai’s more famous carrier, Emirates Airline, as a management trainee in December 1986. During his career at Emirates he held a number of positions including executive vice president of worldwide commercial operations and area manager UK and Ireland.
Earlier this year, in May 2021, it was revealed that Al Ghaith is in contention to replace Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, as he prepares to end his two-decade run at the helm of the world’s largest long-haul airline. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is chairman of both Emirates and flydubai, broke the news to Bloomberg TV.
Under Al Ghaith’s strategic direction, over the past 13 years, the airline has grown its network to more than 90 destinations in 47 countries, opened up 71 previously underserved markets, and carried over 70 million people.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Al Ghaith helped flydubai to play an important role in the global community. When flight restrictions first went into effect between March 24 and July 7, 2020, the airline was forced to focus its efforts on supporting government requests with repatriation flights and working to enable the movement of essential goods across its network and beyond.
Working closely with its stakeholders, flydubai cargo secured special approval to utilise six of the carrier’s next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft to operate cargo-only flights during this period. Capacity was further optimised by transporting goods in the cargo hold on repatriation flights. Plus, flydubai operated repatriation flights to 19 countries.
The CEO founded Wizz Air in 2004 and took it public in 2015, and it has gone on to become central and eastern Europe’s biggest discount carrier, operating a fleet of 136 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The Hungarian low-cost airline’s head office is in Budapest, and Wizz’s other western European base is at London Luton.
Wizz flights span from Iceland on the Arctic Circle to Dubai in the Arabian Gulf, and from the Canary Islands in the Atlantic to Astana in Kazakhstan. It has a market capitalisation of €3.39bn ($3.9bn), 48 percent that of Lufthansa, while Ryanair is worth almost 60% more than the German company.
In 2019, Wizz Air reached a deal with Abu Dhabi Development Holding Co. to operate a new carrier in the emirate from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The airline, which is 51 percent owned by Abu Dhabi, is a joint venture established between Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (or ADQ) and Wizz Air Holdings. It started flying in January 2021 with a fleet of three new Airbus SE A321neos, with plans to increase to 50 planes over 10 years. The inaugural flight was from Abu Dhabi to Athens, with an initial route network including Thessaloniki, Alexandria, Kutaisi, Larnaca, Odessa, and Yerevan. Further destinations will be announced launched over the coming months.
The airline also introduced a new era of sanitised travel across its network, with enhanced hygiene measures to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In September, it announced that its flight crews, including all pilots and cabin crew, were required to be vaccinated.
Varadi studied economics at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences in 1989 and in 2014 he completed an LLM at the University of London. Before Wizz Air, he spent a decade working for Procter and Gamble, and then joined Malev Hungarian Airlines. He was the chief commercial officer, and later the CEO, for the country’s state airline, which ceased operations in 2012.
Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi
Abu Dhabi Ports
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Group CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports, joined Abu Dhabi Ports in 2008 and led the restructuring of the company’s ports assets to enable the organisation to become a fully operational customer-focussed ports and industrial zones business.
Shortly after the launch and the first-phase completion of Abu Dhabi’s new dedicated ultra-modern deep-water port, Khalifa Port, and the adjacent Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), Al Shamisi was appointed Group CEO.
During his 20-year career, Al Shamisi has witnessed tremendous changes across the ports industry. After reaching its zenith in 2007/2008, volumes of international maritime trade and logistics suffered for years following the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The external trade shocks to the world economy ultimately led to many businesses taking a much more measured and sustainable approach, one that championed greater efficiency and consolidation, while also placing added value on striking strategic partnerships with players from emerging economies, such as China,” said Al Shamisi.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic is causing even more significant shockwaves and disruption to the old order, but for agile and resilient companies such as Abu Dhabi Ports, there are also marvellous opportunities to grow and expand despite this crisis. We are ready and excited about the future.”
According to Al Shamisi, incredible lessons have been learned over the past year.
“I am undeniably proud of our achievements to date. In the face of extraordinary global challenges, we have managed to surpass expectations to deliver a unique and evolving offering to all who choose to do business with us,” he stated. “I am particularly proud of our leading role in the HOPE Consortium, the Abu Dhabi government-led public-private effort to distribute millions of vaccines around the world, through our storage and distribution facility based in KIZAD.”
As the CEO of Dubai Airports for more than 10 years, Griffiths has been involved in one of the fastest growth stories in aviation history. Dubai International Airport has been the busiest international airport in the world for four years, serving 89.1 million passengers in 2018.
Griffiths has worked in the industry for more than three decades, and joined Dubai Airports in 2007. With his leadership and guidance, Dubai has since become an international hub, with the launch of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 in 2008, and Griffiths manages the airport authority’s workforce of 2,300 people. More than 56 airlines connect Dubai to 141 destinations in 78 markets. The opening of Terminal 3 was followed by the opening of Dubai’s second airport, Al Maktoum International, in 2010.
Despite the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on air travel, Dubai Airports received more than 25.9 million passengers last year. Griffiths also worked to ensure that the airport is safer and cleaner than ever. Earlier this year, it was accredited by Airports Council International as being amongst the most clinically sanitised of all airports.
At the time, Griffiths pointed out: “From the hospital operating theatre levels of cleanliness we’ve tried to put within the airport, the plexiglass screens in front of people involved in customer service, all of the other measures sees the staff wearing PPE, the rollout of vaccination programme amongst staff which has been highly intensive and the touchless immigration and checking processes we’ve introduced, I would suggest that our status as an airport, in terms of our medical security is amongst the best in the world, if not the best in the world.”
Before joining Dubai Airports, Griffiths worked as managing director for BAA Gatwick Airport, as well as an executive commercial director for Virgin Rail Group and Virgin Atlantic. He’s also a vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Royal College of Organists, as well as a keen player.
The CEO of Jazeera Airways, Rohit Ramachandran is often credited with turning around the performance of the Kuwaiti airline, which is the largest aviation company in the country. He has more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, and has worked with four major airlines on three continents, including Air Arabia, Singapore Airlines, and KLM.
He gained an MBA in International Marketing at the University of Leicester in the UK, and also studied at IMD Switzerland and Cranfield University.
Ramachandran was appointed CEO at the beginning of 2017. That year, the company announced updates including a refresh of its logo, a new website, brand new uniforms for its staff, and new international routes, as well as state-of-the-art aircraft interiors.
During his time at Jazeera Airways, he’s led a programme of restructuring, including reducing and renegotiating major costs, expanding the network, and renewing the airline’s fleet of aircraft.
First established back in April of 2004, Jazeera Airways was the first non-government owned airline to open up in the Middle East. It currently flies to destinations across the region, with a modern fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
In 2018, the Jazeera Airways Terminal (T5) opened up at Kuwait International Airport. It’s the first airport terminal in the region owned by a non-government airline, and aims to reduce congestion at the airport. The terminal, which covers an area of 4,750 sq m, can handle an average of 1,200 bags an hour.
In 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic, Jazeera Airways completed its first all-cargo flight to and from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The airline expanded its cargo capability during the Covid-19 shutdown of commercial passenger operations, with its entire fleet of 14 A320 aircraft available for cargo-only flights with a capacity of 15 tons per aircraft, within a range of six hours’ flying time from Kuwait.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem
Group Chairman and CEO
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem was appointed group chairman and CEO of DP World in 2007. He has been one of Dubai’s leading leaders for more than three decades, having started his career in the customs office at Jebel Ali Port after receiving a BS degree in economics from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Also the chairman of the Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), his career spans a wide range of leadership roles in business and government.
Bin Sulayem served as the first chairman of the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) when it was founded in 1985 and oversaw its development into the region’s leading hub for logistics, hosting more than 7,500 enterprises including nearly 100 Fortune 500 companies. Bin Sulayem also founded and led Nakheel, a leading real estate and tourism property development firm behind many of the most iconic projects in Dubai including Palm Jumeirah and The World Islands.
In 2002, he pioneered the development of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), a leading trading centre for international commodities across a range of goods from gold, diamonds and precious metals to tea, food and industrial materials.
In 2003, he also established and led Istithmar World, a premier global investment company with a portfolio of investments in private and public equity, real estate and alternative asset classes across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Bin Sulayem has successfully led DP World to its position as one of the world’s largest port operators and trade enablers. Today, DP World operates 78 marine and inland terminals on six continents and employs more than 45,000 employees in 42 countries.
Bin Sulayem has also been appointed to the boards of the Dubai Executive Council, the UAE Federal Tax Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One.
Sir Tim Clark is one of the region’s best-known public figures. The president of Emirates since 2003, he joined the Dubai airline’s founding team as the head of airline planning back in 1985, and he works closely with the chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
He has helped it grow into one of the world’s most recognisable airlines. It flew nearly 60 million passengers in 2018 with global services stretching across six continents, connecting people from their home countries to destinations across the world through the hub of Dubai.
He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014, and is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
An economics graduate from the University of London, Clark has received honorary degrees from both the University of Middlesex and Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School.
Clark’s worked in the aviation business since 1972, when he joined British Caledonian. His first job was as a check-in agent in what would eventually become London Gatwick’s South Terminal. He rose through the ranks, working in the airline’s planning department, and three years later he moved to Bahrain to work for then up-and-coming airline Gulf Air. He transformed the airline, phasing out its old aircraft for a much more modern fleet, and expanding its network to include destinations such as Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Paris. He joined Emirates a decade later, and also served as the managing director of Sri Lankan Airlines from 1998 until 2008.
In December of 2019, Clark announced that he would be stepping down from his role at Emirates. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, resulted in him delaying his retirement. Earlier this year, he said he wanted to set the airline on its future course before he officially retires from the company.
Clark is also the chairman of the Emirates Airline Foundation, a non-profit charity organisation that was established in 2003, and helps provide aid for children all over the world.
Etihad Aviation Group
With over two decades of experience in the transportation, infrastructure, and government sectors, Tony Douglas joined Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s national carrier, in 2018. He was tasked with turning around the fortunes of the airline.
Speaking about the appointment at the time, he said: “Abu Dhabi is a thriving cultural hub with a clear economic vision built on sustainability and diversification… Travel and tourism play a vital role in the economic growth of the capital and the UAE.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Etihad took advantage of having most of its fleet on the ground to complete the most extensive aircraft maintenance programme in its history. All 96 passenger aircraft were surgically and clinically refreshed, bringing forward scheduled engine changes and modifications on several aircraft.
Internally, Etihad also launched Project Vision, which prioritised envisioning what the travelling public would want from an airline post-Covid. In January of 2021, Douglas was one of the first in the company to receive a Covid-19 vaccination as part of the firm’s employee immunisation initiative. By February, the airline announced that 100 percent of its crew on board – both cabin crew and pilots – had been vaccinated.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Yas Island’s custom-built open-air venue, the largest in the Middle East, had been renamed as Etihad Park as part of a partnership deal announced between Etihad Airways and Flash Entertainment.
The venue is the latest addition to Etihad’s growing list of sponsored entertainment hubs, following the introduction of Etihad Arena earlier this year. “Etihad Park is testament to our commitment in positioning the UAE capital as a world-class entertainment hub and marries well with our existing sponsorship of Etihad Arena and the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix,” Douglas said.