Middle East 2017 – GC Powerlist

Middle East 2017

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

Adrian Brown

General counsel | Takamul Investment Company

With almost a decade spent as Takamul Investment Company’s general counsel, Adrian Brown has been at the company, which is owned by the Oman government, since its incorporation in 2008...

Ahmad Zaky Ismail

General legal counsel | Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (SASREF)

Ahmad Zaky Ismail amasses over 24 years as an accomplished general counsel within the private and public sector, specialising in strategic regulatory management, corporate governance, mergers & acquisitions and pre...

Ajith Madhavan

Head of legal - GCC | Aster DM Healthcare

Managing the legal matters of a healthcare company with operations across eight countries is not a small task, and one that requires the management skills of an exceptional general counsel....

Alex Ridout

‎General counsel and company secretary | Lamprell

Alex Ridout has always combined corporate ability with legal attributes in his career, but did not originally envision working in the oil and gas sector, originally qualifying in a boutique...

Alexandre Fathay

General counsel and company secretary | Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC)

Alexandre Fathay has amassed almost 20 years of in-house experience in senior positions. Originally from France, Fathay’s in-house journey began at France Telecom where he served as corporate counsel in...

Ali Alfrayhat

Chief legal counsel | Executive Affairs Authority

The Executive Affairs Authority is tasked with providing up to date strategic policy advice to the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al...

Ali Khalaf

General counsel | Evolvence Capital

Throughout his career, Ali Khalaf has always sought to combine his legal ability with business acumen. Indeed, he places this business expertise (honed using expert knowledge gained via an MBA...

Amr Marar

Manager legal department and board secretary | Saudi Chevron Phillips

In 1999, Saudi Chevron Phillips Company (SCP) was the first private sector investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical industry. The facility is owned 50 percent by Arabian Chevron...

Andre Roos

Group corporate secretary | Ahli United Bank


Ahli United Bank is the largest bank in Bahrain by total assets, being founded in the year 2000 on the back of a merger between The United Bank of Kuwait...

Andrew Cooke

General counsel | Flash Entertainment

Andrew Cooke welcomes the varied nature of his role as general counsel of FLASH Entertainment, the region’s premier live events company. Indeed, he recalls being thrown in at the deep...

Anneliese Reinhold

General counsel and senior vice president legal | du

Telecoms company du occupies an important place in the history of the diversification of the UAE’s economy, as it was the first domestic telecoms company to challenge the market upon...

Anuraag Malhotra

General counsel and chief tax officer | Landmark Group

One of the most significant achievements in Anuraag Malhotra’s career since joining the Dubai headquartered multinational conglomerate Landmark Group in 2004 has been establishing a well organised legal department; the...

Anwar El Khatib

Executive vice president legal and compliance | Oman Insurance Company


Anwar El Khatib is a lawyer with over 21 years’ experience in both private practice and in-house environments, which has given him a ‘diversified and strong knowledge in litigation, consultancy...

Ayman El Mahmoudy

General counsel | SaudiGulf Airlines

SaudiGulf Airlines is the third domestic Saudi airline in operation, after Saudia and budget carrier flynas. Aiming to occupy a gap in the market in the airline industry in Saudi...

Ayman Hamdy

General counsel | Emaar Properties

Listed on the Dubai Financial Market and boasting 2016 revenues of over $4.3bn, Emaar Properties is the largest and most prominent real estate developer in the UAE. Among other projects,...

Basem Al-Imam

General counsel to the executive management | Arab Bank


Arab Bank is one of the largest financial services companies in the Middle East, and holds a place in history as the first private financial institution founded in the Arab...

Ben Swagerman

Chief legal and compliance officer | Qatar Airways

Ben Swagerman’s varied career, involving positions at the very highest levels of private practice, state judicial and in-house, places him as one of the most experienced and well-respected corporate counsel...

Bernadette Baynie

Group general counsel | Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunications Company)

Bernadette Baynie is a well-known presence in the Middle Eastern in-house legal community, frequently appearing in various media to provide the benefit of her immense experience to a wider audience....

Brett Scrymgeour

General counsel | Aldar Properties

Aldar Properties is the largest developer, investor and manager of real estate in Abu Dhabi. In recent years the Abu Dhabi property market has encountered some difficulties, and, although not...

Brigitte Zammit

General counsel, head of legal and regulatory affairs and company secretary | Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT)

Brigitte Zammit made the move from private practice in London to an in-house role with Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) in 2008 and has not looked back, having been with the...

Bruce McAlister

General counsel Middle East North Africa and Turkey | GE Middle East, North Africa and Turkey

Bruce McAlister joined GE in 2000 as senior counsel for Europe, Middle East and Africa and has since assumed various positions within the company supporting the GE Aviation Division. In...

Catherine Chouteau

General counsel & ethics officer Energy Middle East, South & Central Asia, Turkey | ENGIE MESCAT

Operating in 70 countries, French utility company ENGIE earned over €66.6bn in 2016 from its three core business, namely electricity, natural gas and energy services. Currently general counsel for the...

Chahdan E. Jebeyli

Group head legal and compliance | Bank Audi


Bank Audi is Lebanon’s largest bank in terms of customer deposits and total assets. The bank offers universal financial products and services including corporate and commercial, retail and private banking...

Clinton Hermes

General counsel | Sidra Medical and Research Center

Clinton Hermes moved into the field of healthcare legal work soon after finishing his academic qualifications. ‘After I graduated from Harvard Law School, I went into a large firm practicing...

Daniël Venter

General counsel | Caracal Light Ammunition

Since joining Caracal Light Ammunition, a producer of various calibre small arms ammunition for military, commercial and specialised purposes, Daniël Venter has established the legal department from scratch. Since 2015,...

David O’Sullivan

Head of group legal | Qatar National Bank


As part of his role as head of group legal at Qatar National Bank, David O’Sullivan oversees one of the largest legal teams in the MENA region with 130 employees...

Dean Sheehan

Vice president, general counsel - Middle East & North Africa | PepsiCo

Food, beverages and tobacco

PepsiCo is one of the best known food and beverage companies in the world, owning a gamut of high-profile and market leading brands. In recent years the Middle East region...

Dean Stelfox

General counsel | Dubai Aviation City Corporation

Since 2008, Dean Stelfox has taken charge of the legal function for Dubai South (formerly Dubai World Central) as general counsel. Dubai South is an emerging 145 km2 city built...

Diego Felix

General counsel | Mubadala Petroleum

Distinguished International lawyer Diego Felix joined Mubadala Petroleum in 2012 as legal counsel, and was shortly promoted to senior legal counsel. Through his proven dedication and 15 years of experience...

Doraliz E Ortiz de Leon

Head of legal and regulatory compliance | Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC)

Originally from Puerto Rico, Doraliz E. Ortiz de Leon is a bi-lingual, US-qualified lawyer who moved to Dubai in 2009 after gaining first-rate litigation skills at the Puerto Rico’s Department...

Duraid Al Jamali

Head of legal | Oman Investment Fund

The Oman Investment Fund is sovereign wealth fund that was established in 2006, and provides medium to long-term investments, globally and domestically across several market sectors in order to diversify...

Ehab Elsonbaty

Senior legal counsel | QIA

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the organisation tasked with investing Qatar’s significant sovereign wealth fund, and possesses the ambitious goal of removing Qatar’s reliance on their hydrocarbon reserves for...

Emil Pellicer

General counsel | Abu Dhabi Ports Company

Serving as general counsel at Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Emil Pellicer stands out for his strong leadership skills, which have translated to impressive functional improvements to the legal unit. Joining...

Eric Milne

General counsel | Investment Corporation of Dubai

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) is a highly influential organisation in the Middle East and worldwide, operating as the primary investment body for Dubai. As one might expect, the...

Eyad Jaber

General counsel | Gulf Steel Works

Gulf Steel Works is a steel fabrication company that undertakes projects for leading companies, such as Saudi Aramco, Sabic and Maaden in addition to international EPC contractors. Since joining the...

Fadi Mudarres

Senior vice president and general counsel | Mashreq Bank


A multilingual lawyer that is responsible for ‘managing all aspects of the legal function as part of the risk management division’ at Mashreq Bank, Fadi Mudarres, in his role as...

Fadia Mufid Mubarak

Legal counsel and board secretary | Garmco (Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill)

After making the move into in-house legal work within brand-new company Gulf Aviation Academy in 2011, an organisation that trains captains and first officers for Gulf Air and other airlines,...

Fayez Al Kandari

General legal consultant | Boubyan Bank


At the forefront of the legal financial sector of Kuwait, Dr. Fayez Al Kandari leads the legal department at Boubyan Bank, one of the emerging banks within the country, and...

Fayyaz Mahmood

General counsel | Bahrain Airport Company

Founded in 2008, Bahrain Airport Company is responsible for managing and operating Bahrain International Airport, which saw almost 10 million passenger pass through it in 2016 and is used as...

Feras Alkasab

Associate general counsel | Sidra Medical and Research Center

Feras Alkasab is unequivocal about the positives that in-house legal work can bring to any ambitious legal professional: ‘Going in-house is an absolute must for lawyers as it is an...

Firas Oggar

Group general counsel | Al Ghurair Investment

Firas Oggar has immense experience of senior in-house roles in the Middle East, having had four roles in the position of either head of legal or general counsel since moving...

Gavin Milne

General counsel | Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries

An expert in corporate legal matters in the energy sector, Gavin Milne recalls he was ‘immediately drawn to the energy industry and new-build energy projects in particular’ going all the...

Henning zur Hausen

General counsel and company secretary | Etihad Aviation Group

A mark of their commitment to quality throughout the organisation, Etihad recently became the first UAE-based airline to receive the highly coveted five-star rating by prestigious airline rating organisation SKYTRAX,...

Hessa Al-Twaijri

Legal affairs manager | Petrochemical Industries Company

Hessa Al-Twaijri emphasises the need for in-house lawyers to get to grips with the upper management of their businesses as much as possible: ‘The more you engage with top management...

Hussein Saleh

Head of legal department | ALARGAN International Real Estate Company

A legal counsel with over 14 years of experience, Hussein Saleh has demonstrated a capacity to combine his knowledge and proficiency of different areas of the law to provide a...

Ismaeel Elnasri

Head of legal and company secretary | Inovest

Ismael Elnasri is a seasoned legal and compliance professional with over 15 years’ experience working in the investment and commercial banking industry. Praised for his understanding of Bahrain’s financial services...

Jacques Visser

Chief legal officer | Dubai International Financial Centre Authority

Jacques Visser heads the legal affairs division of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFC Authority), and holds the position of secretary to the DIFC higher board and the boards...

John Whitehead

Group general counsel -legal | MBC Group

MBC Group is notable for being the first free satellite broadcasting company service available in the Arab world, being launched in London in 1991. It moved to its current headquarters...

John Davidson

General counsel | Nakheel

John Davidson moved to Dubai in 2006, after gaining five years of private practice experience at Osler, one of Canada’s largest law firms. Davidson worked as an in-house lawyer at...

Judeh Bahnan

General counsel | Olayan Financing Company

Judeh Bahnan can count upon a wealth of technical legal knowledge gained through a varied and rewarding private practice career to inform his in-house operations. He rose through the ranks...

Kamal Rhazali

General counsel | Katara Hospitality

An expert at acquisitions with a deep understanding of the real estate market – and an alumni of the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris – Kamal Rhazali joined Katara Hospitality...

Karl Rogers

Head of legal | Standard Chartered

Karl Rogers is one of the most respected general counsel in the Middle East, as well as being one of the leading structured finance and derivatives specialists in the in-house...

Khalid Musa

General counsel | Es'hailSat - Qatar Satellite Company

Qatari satellite communications operate Es’hailSat, also known as the Qatar Satellite Company, employs a legal team that is charged with ensuring its range of satellite service provisions are legally sound...

Khalid Khan

Chief legal officer | The Zubair Corporation

Khalid Khan has almost unparalleled experience of legal work in the Middle East, having practiced at a high level at law firms and in an in-house capacity at a variety...

Kiran Scarr

General counsel | Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

‘My role is a constant balance between being a trusted advisor, protective influencer, strategic thinker, risk taker and moral compass’, explains Kiran Scarr, general counsel of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre,...

Knut Aksel Asp

General counsel | ExxonMobil Qatar Inc

Norway-trained lawyer Knut Aksel Asp began his career at ExxonMobil in 2003 as general counsel for the Russian legal division and has since held a number of positions within the...

Krishan Sinnadurai

Senior vice president - legal affairs | flydubai

The huge expansion of airline operations in the Middle East, especially the GCC states, has been one of the most obvious success stories of the region’s economic plan over the...

Kurt Alfrey

General counsel | Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC)

The Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) is one of the primary investment arms of the government of Abu Dhabi, operating and enlarging a highly varied portfolio of investments. The diversified...

Lois Allela

Head of legal Europe, Middle East and East Africa | Aggreko

Lois Allela’s career path has been, in her own words, ‘interesting’, and undoubtedly set her up incredibly well for her current position as head of legal for Europe, Middle East...

Lorenzo Bruttomesso

Manager legal and compliance | Orpic

During his four-year tenure at Orpic, Oman’s national refining and petrochemical company, Lorenzo Bruttomesso has built, developed and expanded the legal and compliance function from the ground up, enabling the...

Lubna Masoud

Head of legal | Dubai Healthcare City Authority

Launched in 2002 with the aim of attracting tourists for medical services and treatments, Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) is a healthcare free economic zone that aims to meet Dubai’s demands...

Lubna Qassim

Group general counsel | Emirates NBD

Lubna Qassim is the group general counsel of Emirates NBD, the largest banking group in the Middle East, which, owing to its reputation and a total asset portfolio worth around...

LV Ruhong

General manager of the legal department | CNOOC Iraq

CNOOC Iraq is the largest overseas subsidiary of CNOOC, China’s biggest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas. As the Iraqi branch of the parent company, CNOOC Iraq is...

Marco Faldella

General counsel | Nebras Power

In 2014 Nebras Power – a joint venture between Qatar Electricity and Water Company, Qatar Petroleum International, and Qatar Holding – was established to invest in large-scale power and water...

Marie-Therese Auger

General counsel | Qatar Cool

Marie-Therese Auger joined Qatar Cool, the leading commercial provider of district cooling services in the country, in 2011 as the company’s first general counsel. This required Auger to develop the...

Markus Federle

Senior managing director, general counsel and head of compliance | Samena Capital

Markus Federle places his decision to make the transition to in-house legal work as among his career highlights. Indeed, it was a momentous decision to leave behind a hugely successful...

Marouf Shweikeh

Head of legal | Alawwalbank


Formerly known as Saudi Hollandi Bank, Alawwalbank is the first bank in Saudi Arabia founded in 1926 as a branch of the Netherlands Trading Society. Plagued by financial and political...

Matthew Osborne

Director of legal and regulatory / investor relations / company secretary | Vodafone Qatar

Telecommunication services

Vodafone Qatar turned on its network in March 2009 and, now into its eighth year of operations, its growth plan continues alongside solid revenue postings for 2017 so far. Matthew...

May Khalife

General counsel | M1 Group

M1 Group is a family-owned Lebanese investment company, with origins in the construction and telecom sectors. Because the Group today operates in a diverse range of sectors in countries across...

Menha Samy

Regional legal counsel | Chanel

Menha Samy is no stranger to high-value transactions, having worked on multiple significant projects during the course of her 16-year career. Samy recalls that, while engaged as a private practice...

Michael Mitchell

General counsel | Qatar Foundation

As general counsel of one of the most prestigious and prominent non-profit organisations in the world, Michael Mitchell holds unique insight into how these organisations are run, and is among...

Mohamed el Roubi

Senior vice president, legal – Asia, Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe | Amec Foster Wheeler

Having joined Amec Foster Wheeler in October 2013, prior to which he was general counsel (MENAT) for GE, Mohamed el Roubi has recently taken on global responsibilities for legal support...

Mohammed Al-Noor

Group chief general counsel and international advisor | Action Group Holdings

Mohammed Al Noor is group chief legal officer and international advisor for internationally-invested Action Group Holdings, an investment company headquartered in Kuwait with subsidiaries in Europe, North America, Australia, and...

Mohammed Essa Al-Mannai

General counsel | Qatar Petroleum

Qatar Petroleum is a state owned petroleum company in Qatar that is responsible for all phases of the oil and gas industry in the country. With activities including exploration, production,...

Mohammed Hijazi

General counsel | Credit Suisse

General counsel of Credit Suisse Dubai for over 13 years, Mohammed Hijazi manages the legal and compliance department for CS offices in the Middle East and Africa region, including operations...

Mohammed Noaman

General counsel Middle East, North Africa and Turkey | GE Power and Water

Mohammed Noaman is highly regarded by peers in the in-house Middle East community for his ability, experience and track record of in-house legal success. Indeed, the GE Power and Water...

Mona Hussein

Director – legal and compliance Middle East and North Africa | Adidas emerging markets

An expert in JVs, corporate, commercial and companies’ laws, franchise agreements and compliance matters, Mona Hussein has operated in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait during the course of her career....

Nabeel Al Mansour

General counsel and company secretary | Saudi Aramco

One of the most talked about business events globally in recent memory is the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, perhaps unsurprisingly for a company whose value is often estimated in...

Nadia Anani

Associate general counsel | McKinsey & Company

Described by peers as a ‘valued advisor’ and ‘superb business leader’, McKinsey’s Nadia Anani has substantial experience of providing high quality legal support with a strong focus on corporate work,...

Nasser Al-Taweel

Chief legal officer & board secretary | Qatar Financial Centre

Nasser Al-Taweel’s rapid rise to his current position as chief legal officer and secretary to the board at the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority – preceded by a number of...

Nicholas Polley

General counsel and company secretary | GFH Financial Group

Responsible for a wide range of corporate, commercial, investment and financing matters, the general counsel position at GFH was filled by Nicholas Polley in June 2017. The Islamic investment bank...

Nimer Basbous

Head of legal-personal banking | First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)


Nimer Basbous has recently taken on a new role as head of legal for personal banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), a new financial giant born out of the...

Oliver Hallsworth

Managing director, global head of legal and compliance | ADS Securities

It is fair to say that Oliver Hallsworth has had a unique career for an in-house lawyer – his experience spans from the UK Bar, to investment banking in Jersey,...

Olof Arnman

Corporate counsel, international | Grey Wolf Drilling (Precision Drilling)

With an extensive in-house legal career in the oil and gas sector, Olof Arnman brings a wealth of experience to the Eastern Hemisphere activities of Grey Wolf Drilling (Precision Drilling),...

Omar Al-Mudarra

General manager, head of legal | Samba Financial Group

An Islamic banking specialist, based on both academic attainment in the subject and real-world application of these principles at a senior level, Omar Al-Mudarra is one of the leading financial...

Pascal Dutru

General counsel | Qatar Communications Regulatory Authority

Dr Pascal Dutru, general counsel of Qatar Communications, is one of the leading telecoms professionals in the entire Middle East. He brings with him a wealth of experience operating at...

Praveen Maheshwary

Head of legal | Landmark Group

Landmark Group’s Praveen Maheshwary is an analytical lawyer with 17 years of experience of handling legal affairs in India and the Middle East. A professional who has demonstrated excellence in...

Raed Al-Saadouni

Head of legal and compliance, security solutions | Airbus Defence and Space, Saudi Arabia

Dr Raed Al-Saadouni has amassed over 24 years of legal and business experience at reputable organisations and law firms. Al-Saadouni highlights his first in-house role, as general counsel for Arabian...

Rasha Alsaeed

General counsel | Aon Middle East

In January 2015, Rasha Alsaeed joined global professional services firm company Aon as its general counsel for the Middle East with responsibility for all legal matters related to insurance, re-insurance,...

Razi Heyasat

Head of legal department and board secretary | Arab Bank for Investment & Foreign Trade (Al Masraf)


Arab Bank for Investment & Foreign Trade (Al Masraf) traces its history back to 1975, when it was formed with the goal of promoting cooperation in financial matters between Arab...

Richard McLaughlin

General counsel | Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production

Starting off as a private practice lawyer at Nabarro in 2000, Richard McLaughlin’s subsequent in-house legal career has taken him to various locations across the world, having headed legal teams...

Rick Ward

Senior vice president legal | Emirates

Emirates is one of the premier airlines globally, ideally placed to serve international routes and connect East to West from its headquarters and primary hub Dubai International Airport – it...

Rima Hadid Al Masri

General counsel and corporate secretary | Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company is an investment arm of the Kingdom of Bahrain, with the stated goal of managing and expanding an ever expanding portfolio of diverse assets internationally. Rima...

Rowan McBrien

General counsel | Total E&P Qatar

A perennial high-flyer, Rowan McBrien recently brought his considerable talents to bear on the Middle East energy market, having taken on the role of general counsel for Total E&P Qatar...

Safwan Said

General counsel and company secretary | Waha Capital

Safwan Said is an Australian-qualified General Counsel, with seven years’ experience at Waha Capital, an ADX-listed investment company, and ten years’ experience in top-tier law firms in Australia and the...

Salah Othman Abuzaid

Senior vice president, head of legal affairs and compliance | Al Baraka Banking Group


The Al Baraka Banking Group is a leading international Islamic banking group providing retail, corporate and investment banking services in countries across the Middle East and North Africa, and benefits...

Salem Mohammed Al Darei

Chief legal counsel, legal, governance and compliance | Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Operating across the entire hydrocarbon value chain, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is one of the world’s largest oil companies by production, and has played a key role in...

Samer Abdelhaq

Group general counsel | First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)


One of the most exciting and high-profile development in the last twelve months of the Middle Eastern business timeline was the successful merger of First Gulf Bank and National Bank...

Shaun Johnson

General counsel | ACWA Holding

Shaun Johnson has practiced as a lawyer for 18 years, one third of which was in private practice at Ashurst in Melbourne, Australia and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, which...

Shehzaad Sacranie

General counsel | Americana Group

With over $3bn in revenue and more than 63,000 employees, Kuwait-headquartered Americana Group is the largest integrated food company in Middle East. It has activities across 13 countries in the...

Sherif Bishara

Group head of legal | Air Arabia

Air Arabia is a low-cost airline operating a fleet of 45 Airbus A320 narrow-body airliners based out of five regional hubs located in the UAE, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. The...

Siddig Hussein

Chief legal advisor | Al Rajhi Bank


A hugely experienced lawyer, Siddig Hussein has spent time in academic, private practice, legislative and in-house legal roles. As such, he contributes a wealth of experience to Al Rajhi Bank’s...

Simon Price

General counsel | Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

Upon joining the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, Simon Price undertook the ambitious task of streamlining his company’s processes and procedures by means of imbedding the role of the legal...

Soliman Abdel-Meguid

General counsel to the executive management | National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)


Soliman Abdel-Meguid is a vastly experienced and distinguished lawyer in the Middle East and the banking sector. His professional legal career began in Egyptian public prosecution between 1962 and 1982...

Sophie Moloney

Chief legal officer | OSN

Sophie Moloney has had a decorated in-house career since moving on from the TMT practice of UK law firm Ashurst in 2003. After a seven year spell as a principal...

Souhayel Tayeb

Group general counsel and company secretary | Commercial Bank of Dubai


Appointed group general counsel at the Commercial Bank of Dubai in 2013, Souhayel Tayeb has since implemented new technological changes aimed at streamlining work within the legal function. Legal portals...

Stephen Bodley

Chief legal counsel | Ma’aden

Stephen Bodley, chief legal counsel for $2.5bn-revenue Saudi mining company Ma’aden, has made the most of his time in the Middle East. ‘Working in the Middle East has been amazing’,...

Toufic Abi Fadel

General counsel | Qatar First Bank (QFB)


Qatar First Bank is a Doha headquartered bank and one of the first Shari’ah compliant financial institution regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority. Formed in 2009, the bank...

Ulf Bathke

General counsel | Industrialization & Energy Services Company (Taqa)

Ulf Bathke recently took on the general counsel role for Industrialization & Energy Services Company (TAQA), a Saudi business operation aimed at developing the industrial capacity of Saudi Arabia, particularly...

Vivek Gambhir

General counsel | TAQA

Vivek Gambhir is no less than an expert in international energy law. Much of his experience was gained during 12 years as a partner for law firm CMS Cameron McKenna...

Waleed (Mahmoud) Abkam

Chief legal advisor | Abdul Latif Jameel

Abdul Latif Jameel is a Saudi Arabia based diversified business comprised of independent entities that operate in financial services, automotive, real estate and many other sectors. Maintaining consistently excellent legal...

Zahid Kamal

Managing director | Fajr Capital

Zahid Kamal leads the three-member legal team at Fajr Capital, a Dubai-based private equity investor whose shareholders include sovereign investors from Abu Dhabi, Brunei Darussalam, and Malaysia, as well as...

Zaid Mahayni

Group chief legal officer and board secretary | SEDCO Holding

SEDCO Holding (Saudi Economic and Development Company) is a leader in Sharia-complaint investment management, with a broad portfolio including real estate, private equity and operating companies. SEDCO’s diverse holding sees...

Zain Al Abdin Sharar

Senior legal counsel - CEO office | Qatar International Court

Established in 2009, the Qatar International Court (QICDRC) was designed to be an international-tier dispute resolution centre and court aimed at cementing Qatar’s place as a global financial centre. The...

Zeid El-Uteibi

Head of legal Middle East and North Africa | Hikma Pharmaceuticals


Hikma Pharmaceuticals is a Jordanian-headquartered multinational pharmaceutical company that manufactures both branded and non-branded pharmaceutical products for a wide range of markets. Zeid El-Uteibi is the head of legal for...

Zeina Abi-Chahine Craven

General counsel Middle East and Africa | Agility

The Kuwait headquartered Agility is one of the world’s leading providers of integrated logistics with more than 22,000 employees in over 500 offices and 100 countries. The company operates a...

Zeina Abillamah

Senior legal counsel and head of the legal department | UAE Trading Group

The domestic luxury retail company, UAE Trading, opened the first boutique store offering luxury brands to the domestic market, back in 1972. Today it owns and operates 24 multi-brand boutiques...

Ziad Zarka

General counsel | Muntajat

‘Brilliant, extremely trustworthy and able to understand business concerns,’ Ziad Zarka leads the team responsible for legal and compliance support of the global activities of Muntajat, a wholly owned government...

The Middle Eastern economy is undergoing a major and ongoing diversification project, aimed at ending the reliance on the significant hydrocarbon reserves available to the Gulf States and establishing the region as a global hub for commerce, finance and leisure. Due to this, the Middle East features a mix of established, growing and emerging companies in a range of sectors, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In the established category, the region is still dominated to an extent by the major oil and gas producers, with Saudi Aramco – often stated to be the world’s most valuable company, and the subject of a highly publicised potential IPO in the very near future – perhaps the most obvious example of this. The surplus capital created by this immense natural hydrocarbon wealth has afforded many Middle Eastern states the luxury of being able to engage in huge investments both internationally and domestically. Large Middle Eastern-owned real estate projects in London and New York are examples of the former, while the huge growth of the airline industry in the Middle East is a salient example of the latter.

The growth and diversification of the economies of the Middle East has led to a corresponding expansion of the role of in-house counsel there, and the GC Powerlist: Middle East features senior legal counsel who have pushed the legal envelope, found innovative and creative ways to deal with issues and added real value to their companies in the process. The individuals contained in these pages have all successfully combined their excellent technical legal knowledge with sound business acumen and a thorough appreciation of the company goals inherent in their respective industry sectors. As such, they should be considered the premier in-house legal counsel in the Middle East.

I would like to express my personal thanks to our sponsors, Al Tamimi, for supporting this publication. A special mention must also be made to all the in-house personnel who spoke to us during the course of the research for the GC Powerlist: Middle East, and the research team who completed the project, led by senior research analyst Joe Boswell.

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Over the past year, we have seen a continued trend in the modernisation of markets across the Middle East, with the aim of attracting and retaining foreign investment. The need for economic diversification continues to be at the top of the agenda for governments across the region as nations seek smarter alternatives for economic growth and viability.

Diversification remains a key success factor for many of the GCC countries. Dubai and the UAE is a strong example as it continues to benefit from a diversified economic strategy and other countries in the region are following suit.

Saudi Arabia is also making good progress with its diversification plans. The Kingdom launched its ‘Vision 2030’ plan in 2016, identifying key strategies to reduce reliance on oil as the primary driver of economic growth.

Egypt has renewed its focus on structural reforms necessary to support strong economic growth. The next phase will include a new investment law, a bankruptcy law and other reforms to reduce regulatory overhang and improve the ease of doing business.

Oman is expected to adopt a new Foreign Capital Investment law in order to encourage greater FDI in the country and support the government’s ambitious economic diversification plans.

Kuwait’s Vision 2035 is also aimed at transforming Kuwait into a financial and economic hub both in the region and globally.

In line with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the hosting of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has taken measures to stimulate many of its vital sectors by providing financial support and issuing related regulatory legislation and incentives.

Bahrain has adopted a rather liberal approach to foreign investment, which has resulted in a marked increase in FDI. In 2016, the country secured an estimated USD 280 million in FDI flows, one of its best years to date.

The introduction of VAT across the GCC has been a hot topic for many businesses. Saudi Arabia and the UAE continue to lead the GCC VAT implementation drive, with an expectation that all GCC countries implementing the tax within the agreed timeframe of one year from 1 January 2018.

As the priorities of governments are changing, with regulation being introduced to match these, so too is the role of the GC and their teams. Traditionally seen as the medium between corporates and law firms, GCs have become key to the decision-making process and are being tasked with more responsibilities to ensure strategic objectives are achieved, both legal and commercial. This of course has come at a time when there are increased pressures on budgets with greater expectations of output.

As we look ahead, we are excited about the opportunities that diversification will create but are also acutely aware of the pressures these will bring on GCs and their teams. Our focus therefore on providing in-house legal teams with greater support and ensuring that our advice is commercially sound is more critical than ever before.

On behalf of Al Tamimi & Company, I congratulate everyone that has been acknowledged in this year’s GC Powerlist. It is a great achievement and one that highlights the importance of in-house teams in helping to shape the legal profession in the Middle East.

We look forward to continuing to be by your side in your success.

GC Powerlist: United Kingdom 2023

On the evening of September 18th, 2023, The Legal 500 gathered with great enthusiasm at the charming JW Marriott Grosvenor House in the heart of London to launch the GC Powerlist: United Kingdom 2023. This special event was made possible thanks to our incredible partners, Pinsent Masons and Laurence Simons. Esteemed legal experts from across the country came together to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

The evening began with a warm welcome from Sara Maggi, the deputy editor for The Legal 500 GC Powerlist Series, who set the tone for the evening by sharing some of the key research findings. Following her, Andrew Masraf, the managing partner at Pinsent Masons, addressed the audience. He emphasised the significance of this gathering in recognising excellence within the legal community and highlighted some of the challenges currently faced by general counsel in the United Kingdom, underscoring the importance of collaboration in overcoming these challenges.

After this exciting start, our esteemed guests moved to the ballroom for a thrilling time at the Legal Business Awards.

This gathering was undeniably a great success. Congratulations to all those who were recognised and featured in this prestigious celebration of legal excellence!