Middle East 2019 – GC Powerlist

Middle East 2019

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Aarij S. Wasti

Senior legal counsel | Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022)

Aarij S. Wasti has spent much of the last decade working on Qatar’s FIFA World Cup project, first on the winning historic bid and now on the delivery phase. After...

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Aasma Khan

Chief legal officer | Gemstone Real Estate Development

Chief legal officer for Gemstone Real Estate Development since 2014 as well as a divisional chief legal officer of the real estate sector for the Al Rajhi family, Aasma Khan’s...

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AbdelKader Ahmed El Khatib

Group legal affairs director | Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)

Abdel Kader Ahmed El Khatib has been with SEHA since 2007 and having been board secretary since 2010, he has a unique purview into its overall organisational operations. As group...

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Ahmad Azzouni

Group chief legal counsel | Aujan Group Holding

Since joining the major Saudi conglomerate as group chief legal counsel in 2010, Ahmad Azzouni has expanded the legal function of Aujan Group from a team of two members in...

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Ahmad Zaky Bin Ismail

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

Approached to join Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (SASREF) in June 2016, prior to which he was legal advisor to the eGovernment Authority Kingdom of Bahrain and also board legal...

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Ajith Madhavan

Head of legal services | Aster DM Healthcare

Ajith Madhaven joined Aster DM Healthcare in 2010 to become the company’s sole counsel, forming the company’s legal department in 2014 – no mean feat at a company that is...

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Alexander Ridout

‎General counsel and company secretary | Lamprell

Leading oil and energy equipment firm Lamprell relies on the services of a highly capable in-house legal function to get the blockbuster deals which it is engaged with over the...

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Ali Khalaf

General counsel | Evolvence Capital

As general counsel of one of Dubai’s leading private equity and investment firms, Ali Khalaf has enjoyed an extremely diverse range of projects as part of his regular workload. He...

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Amr Elsayed

Senior general legal counsel | Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA)

With 20 years of legal experience in both the government and corporate worlds, Amr Elsayed brings a vast wealth of knowledge to his role as senior legal counsel for Kuwait...

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Andrew Cooke

Head of strategy and general counsel | Flash Entertainment

In place since 2011, Andrew Cooke has been absolutely instrumental to Flash Entertainment’s success in the eight years since, having had responsibility for IT, HR, internal audit, company secretarial matters...

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Aneeza Siddiqui

General counsel and company secretary | ADNOC Offshore

A highly experienced in-house lawyer in the oil sector, Aneeza Siddiqui enjoyed lengthy and extremely successful periods with British Petroleum (where she was involved in the response to the Macondo...

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Anneliese Reinhold

General counsel and senior vice president legal | EITC (du)

Noted in the GC Powerlist: Middle East Teams 2018 for her excellent leadership of the EITC (du) legal team, general counsel and senior vice president legal Anneliese Reinhold returns this...

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Aysha  Abdulmalek​

General counsel | Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company

Aysha Abdulmalek’s role as general counsel for Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, gives her a unique opportunity to directly take part in supporting the...

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Bharat Mehta 

Legal and compliance manager | APM Terminals Bahrain

Bharat Mehta is an in-house legal counsel, compliance officer and company secretary with over eleven years of experience in capital markets, private equity, fund structuring and management, contracts and other...

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Brett Hattaway

Vice president and head of legal East Europe, Middle East and Africa | DHL

A part of the DHL in-house legal department since 2004, Brett Hattaway’s vast experience with the company makes him an indispensable part of its legal team. As vice president and...

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Brian M. Dunn

Vice president of legal | Property Finder

‘Brian M. Dunn is the leading in-house counsel in the UAE on issues of legal tech, and he is on the cutting edge of introducing tech solutions to the general...

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Bruce McAlister

General counsel – Global Growth | General Electric (GE)

Bruce McAlister’s 19-year career with GE has seen him take full advantage of the myriad opportunities within the vast and highly diverse company: ‘I joined GE in London supporting GE...

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Cara Fox Dwyer

Senior legal counsel | Seddiqi Holding

In 2011, Cara Fox Dwyer put her plans into action and moved to Dubai to practice law, working in private practice in Dubai until 2017 when she transitioned into her...

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Christian Graville

Head of legal, Middle East | RSA Insurance

Christian Graville has been head of legal for the Middle East at RSA Insurance since 2017. This is his second period of tenure with the company, having previously worked for...

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Dalia Al Sayeh

Deputy general counsel Europe, Middle East and Africa and general counsel Middle East | Honeywell

Dalia Al Sayeh joined Honeywell in 2013 as general counsel for the Middle East after a private practice career undertaken at leading US firms in New York and the UAE....

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David Weir

General counsel | Jumeirah Group

Formerly a successful private practice lawyer, including periods as an associate for Simmons & Simmons and Jones Day, David Weir moved to his first in-house role with Mövenpick Hotels &...

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Dawn Sanderson

Global head of legal | Al Dahra Holding

As global head of legal for international agribusiness leader Al Dahra Holding, Dawn Sanderson has the privilege of working on some of the most noteworthy and high-value deals in the...

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Dean Sheehan

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

Qualifying in 2001, Dean Sheehan specialised in M&A and corporate finance in private practice within the UK, and achieved partner level only six years later in 2007, an early indication...

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Dominik Engel

Head of legal Middle East and Africa | ABB Power Grids

Dominik Engel arrived in Dubai from Europe in 2008, which has proved to be an extremely successful move given the success he has enjoyed since. Joining Giesecke & Devrient in...

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Dr Abdelkareem F. Alkadomi

Group chief legal officer | Abdul Latif Jameel Investments

Starting his career as legal counsel and then senior legal advisor, Dr Abdelkareem F. Alkadomi transitioned to become a judge in Jordan. He regards this particular part of his career...

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Dr Abdullah M. Mattar

Chief legal officer | Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair

Formerly a public sector lawyer in the Saudi Arabian foreign trade agency as a legal advisor to a deputy minister, Dr Abdullah M. Mattar joined Fawaz Alhokair Fashion Retail Group...

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Dr Markus A. Federle

Senior managing director, group general counsel, head of compliance and member of the executive committee | Samena Capital Group

Prior to his in-house career, Dr Markus A. Federle was a highly successful private practice lawyer, with his most recent role in this category being as partner and head of...

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Dr Pascal Dutru

General counsel | Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)

‘General counsel of an institution established in 2014, I have the rare opportunity to create and develop the legal department, mixing cultures and pushing each individual to grow in its...

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Dr Soliman Abdel-Meguid

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

One of the most experienced in-house counsel in the Middle East with an unparalleled knowledge of banking regulations in the region, Dr Soliman Abdel-Meguid began his banking sector career with...

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Dr Souhayel Tayeb

Chief legal and governance officer | Commercial Bank of Dubai

Having completed successful spells in the public sector with the Financial Markets Authority of Tunisia and as part of the in-house legal team in charge of derivatives transactions of BNP...

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Dr Yasser Aboismail

General counsel and compliance officer, MENA | Schindler Group

Formerly chief legal counsel for the Middle East and Africa at Eaton Corporation, Dr Yasser Aboismail joined Schindler Group in August 2016 as general counsel and compliance officer for the...

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Dzul A. Bakar

Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | Shelf Drilling

‘My prior stints with Schlumberger and Transocean and attending the INSEAD management programme played a key role in moulding me with the right skills and experience to assume my current...

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Elsamawal A. Idris

Assistant general manager, head of legal and board secretary | Sohar International Bank

Joining the Bank in 2013 as head of legal affairs, Elsamawal A. Idris was the Sohar International Bank’s only in-house legal resource for a time. ‘This helped me push boundaries,...

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Emile Saadi

Head of legal for Middle East and Africa | Apple

Emile Saadi is an English law-qualified solicitor who started his career in private practice in London before moving to Dubai in 2011. Today he leads Apple’s legal team for the...

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Eyad Yousef Jaber

General counsel | Gulf Specialized Works

Eyad Yousef Jaber has been in place as general counsel at Gulf Specialized Works since 2015, after ‘learning and acquainting myself with all disciplines of law’ through a successful period...

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Fadia Mubarak

Legal counsel | Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill (GARMCO)

‘In 2010, when I started my first in-house role at Gulf Aviation Academy in the aviation sector I established a legal department from scratch and negotiated large commercial contracts including...

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Fauzia Kehar

Director, cluster legal head Gulf and Pakistan | Citi

A perennial high-flyer, as well as a trailblazer for Pakistani women looking to emulate her success in the competitive legal and business world, Fauzia Kehar’s extremely impressive career – achieved,...

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Fayez Khouri

Middle East general counsel | PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Coming off an extremely successful period as regional counsel of Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) during which he established the firm’s law department in the Middle East, Fayez Khouri joined...

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Feras Alkasab

Associate general counsel and director of technology transfer | Sidra Medicine

Feras Alkasab began his legal career in the US as part of the IP and commercial transactions group at Sidley Austin and, seeking a challenge, moved to the Middle East...

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Filippo Cossalter

Legal director - Janssen emerging markets Europe, Middle East and Africa | Johnson & Johnson

Filippo Cossalter joined Johnson & Johnson in 2011 and was originally based in Belgium before moving to the Middle East in November 2015, where he now takes on an extremely...

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Firas Oggar

Group general counsel | Zain Group

Zain is a leading mobile telecommunications operator listed on Boursa Kuwait (and on three other regional equity markets) with a market cap totalling over US$8.2bn as of July 2019, counts...

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Francesca Gori

Managing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa lead for compliance, operations, regulatory and ethics | Accenture

Francesca Gori’s career at Accenture began in Italy in 2006 as employment law lead for Italy, Greece, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Then after expanding her responsibilities,...

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Geoff Allen

Group general counsel and company secretary | Arabtec Holding

Geoff Allen relocated to the Middle East from the UK in 2012, joining Arabtec in 2013. He was appointed as group general counsel and company secretary in early 2017 and...

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Gordon Finlayson

Director, legal | twofour54

An expert in-house lawyer within the media sector, Gordon Finlayson has provided his significant talents to such prominent broadcasters as Showtime and HBO, the latter of which he operated as...

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Gregor Pannike

Group head of legal | Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

Gregor Pannike sees general counsel operating in the Middle East as among the elite worldwide, given the unique challenges posed by operating within the region: ‘I believe in-house lawyers and...

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Heba Hamdy

Corporate counsel | Cisco

‘I had the opportunity to work with Heba Hamdy on several matters’, says one extremely positive nominating source when describing the skills of Cisco’s highly regarded corporate counsel for Middle...

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Helen Graham

General counsel | Dubai Transport Company (Dutco Group)

Dutco Group’s general counsel since 2007, Helen Graham’s extensive prior career included conduct spanning seven years on the largest London Maritime Arbitrators Association arbitration relating to the conversion of an...

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Ian Quigley

Legal director | Vodafone Qatar

Ian Quigley has enjoyed an impressive rise at Vodafone Group since 2009. ‘Looking to gain international experience’, he moved within the Group from Vodafone Ireland to Vodafone Qatar in 2013,...

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Irina Kovalchuk

Head of legal | Zakher Marine International

Formerly a lawyer for the Ukrainian government, at the Defence and Justice Ministries and then a lawyer for the Ukrainian parliament, Irina Kovalchuk originally moved to the Middle East to...

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Iryna Telychko

General legal counsel | Etihad Rail Company

Iryna Telychko’s educational and professional background, which is atypical for a Middle East-based general counsel, stems from the Ukraine where she trained as a lawyer, clerked in the judiciary and...

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Ismaeel Omer Elnasri

Head of legal | INOVEST

A veteran legal counsel with more than 15 years of experience in the fields of Islamic banking, finance, company, labour, real estate and construction law, Ismaeel Omer Elnasri has attained...

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Isoken Imohe

Group legal counsel | DNV GL

A dual-qualified lawyer in both Nigeria and England and Wales, Isoken Imohe regards her move to the Middle East, initially with Proserv Middle East in 2012 and thereafter with DNG...

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Jafar Khan

Head of legal for the Middle East and South Asia | Mott MacDonald

Jafar Khan joined Mott MacDonald in mid-2015 after a successful private practice career based in Melbourne, London and Dubai, an experience that he believes ‘shaped me into the lawyer I...

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James Ireland

General counsel and board secretary | Abu Dhabi Ports Operating Company – Abu Dhabi Terminals

James Ireland looks back fondly on his first in-house legal role, both for the specific legal skills he developed and the interpersonal abilities he honed which he considers indispensable to...

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John Davidson

General counsel | Nakheel

John Davidson’s move to Dubai in 2006 was preceded by a successful period in private practice with Osler in Canada, which provided a key grounding in corporate legal work that...

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Justin Dowding

Head of legal | noon.com

As general counsel for noon, the Middle East’s fastest growing e-commerce company, Justin Dowding has a vast amount of experience in setting up legal entities in new markets. When discussing...

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Karim El Dardiry

Legal director for Middle East and Africa | Eaton Corporation

‘Throughout my career to date, I have had the enviable task of establishing a legal department in the organisations that I have worked in. Therefore, my remit has always been...

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Karl Rogers

Regional general counsel, Africa and the Middle East | Standard Chartered

Karl Rogers joined Standard Chartered in 2010 from Norton Rose Fulbright, and leads the regional Africa and Middle East legal team across 25 countries. He has driven the direction of...

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Katherine McAdam

Assistant general manager and head of legal | Commercial Bank of Qatar

A real estate and real estate finance lawyer in private practice in New Zealand and a project finance lawyer for Allen & Overy, Katherine McAdam originally moved to Qatar a...

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Katie Lenko Hiess  

General counsel and chief operating officer | Sumner Group Holdings (SGH Global)

According to Katie Lenko Hiess, general counsel and chief operating officer of SGH, ‘The in-house legal role is becoming much broader in scope. It is important that lawyers develop an...

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Khalid Khan

Chief legal officer | The Zubair Corporation

Khalid Khan enjoys a reputation among in-house counsel in the Middle East as one of the most experienced lawyers in the region. His first in-house role, after a number of...

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Kiran Scarr

General counsel | Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)

In the five years she has been DMCC’s general counsel, Kiran Scarr has enjoyed a uniquely successful and remarked-upon chapter in her career. Alongside a number of professional highlights, she...

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Kushagra Priyadarshi

Director of legal | Katara Hospitality

Prior to joining Katara Hospitality in 2015, Kushagra Priyadarshi was a private practice lawyer specialising in M&A with India’s foremost firm Amarchand & Mangaldas and as an investment lawyer with...

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Lesley Jones

Chief legal officer | Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

Among the foremost aviation leasing companies in the world, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise boasts a fleet of hundreds of aircraft worth billions of dollars. Lesley Jones has acted as chief legal...

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Lorenzo Bruttomesso

Head of legal | Oman LNG

Lorenzo Bruttomesso enjoyed an extremely successful period with Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) between 2013 and 2018, signing a number of important strategic agreements on behalf of...

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Mahmoud Zedan

Head of legal | Yokogawa Middle East and Africa

An extremely high performer for Yokogawa Middle East and Africa since joining in 2007, Mahmoud Zedan has been awarded the Yokogawa Award for Outstanding Performance in 2007, 2008, 2009 and...

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Majed Alshabana

General counsel | Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC)

Majed Alshabana has been the general counsel of the legal affairs department at STC since 2014, and now manages a team of 100 consultants from different nationalities and legal backgrounds...

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Marco Faldella

General counsel | Nebras Power

Receiving mentions in the GC Powerlist: Middle East Teams 2018 for his excellent marshalling of the Nebras Power legal team during an extremely busy period for the Doha-based power development...

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Mark Hultum

Head of legal Middle East and Africa | Deutsche Bank

Starting his legal career with Clifford Chance in London, where he specialised in corporate, M&A and private equity matters, Mark Hultum joined Deutsche Bank in Dubai in 2015, assuming his...

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Marthinus W. Vermeulen

Head of legal | OiLSERV

Appointed to OiLSERV’s executive leadership team in 2012, Marthinus Vermeulen’s time as head of the company’s legal and compliance functions has seen these teams achieve an extremely high level of...

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Maya Hardini Abboud

Head of legal compliance - director | Banque Libano-Française

Joining Banque Libano-Française in 2007, Maya Hardini Abboud brings an unparalleled level of knowledge in banking and financial law to her role as head of legal compliance. In her current...

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Meltem Ozker Gunduz  

Vice president, legal, compliance and quality | Novo Nordisk

Meltem Ozker Gunduz takes on a multi-faceted and international role as vice president of legal, compliance and quality for Novo Nordisk, where she oversees all Dubai-based lawyers and 43 more...

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Michelle Johnson

General counsel and senior vice president legal affairs | Dubai Aviation Corporation (flydubai)

Michelle Johnson joined Air Berlin shortly after its initial public offering in 2006, beginning her extremely successful in-house career within the low-cost airline sector. Here, she says, ‘I led and...

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Mohamed Helmi el Roubi

General counsel | GardaWorld International Protective Services

‘Since moving to Iraq in June 2003 and founding a law firm there immediately after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, my career has been focused on supporting multinationals...

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Mohammed Al Noor

Group chief general counsel and international advisor | Action Group Holdings

Mohammed Al Noor serves as group chief general counsel and international advisor for one of the largest family-owned international investment companies in the region Action Group Holdings. He leads a...

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Moulham Al Chawa

General counsel | RAK Economic Zone Authority

Among a number of highly complimentary nominations received for Moulham Al Chawa, one was particularly informative: ‘I have had the pleasure of working closely with him for over a year...

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Muhammed Alaa Radwan

Head of legal and compliance | Dimah Capital Investment Company

A forward-thinking in-house lawyer who is keen to make sure the department he heads at Dimah Capital Investment Company is at the cutting edge of legal capabilities, Muhammed Alaa Radwan...

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Mustasan Jaleel Basharat Mir

General counsel | VPS Healthcare Group

Mustasan Jaleel Basharat Mir has noticed major changes in the in-house legal market in the Middle East over the past five years, with major new roles appearing and a corresponding...

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Nabeel Al Mansour

Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary | Saudi Aramco

As senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of what is often referred to as the world’s most valuable company Saudi Aramco, Nabeel Al Mansour is one of the most...

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Nadim El Haj

Head of legal and management executive committee member | Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company

Formerly general counsel and senior advisor in the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior’s Social Security Fund, Nadim El Haj joined Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company (ADNH) in October 2016...

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Najwa Attiga

General counsel | Emirates Investment Authority (EIA)

Najwa Attiga, a seasoned international corporate attorney, was headhunted by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council to become its first general counsel in 2008, where she established and managed the legal...

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Narguiz Birk-Petersen

Head of legal for India, CIS, Middle East and Africa, growth and emerging markets | Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

‘I have been very lucky to work with great leaders who supported me and mentored me in my professional journey’, says Narguiz Birk-Petersen when discussing the contributory factors that account...

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Nasser Al-Taweel

Chief legal officer and board secretary | Qatar Financial Centre Authority

Since his appointment in 2015 as Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA’s) chief legal officer, Nasser Al-Taweel has restructured the company’s legal operations to build an award winning well-respected legal team....

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Neeta Thakur

Group general counsel | EFG Hermes

Formerly group general counsel of Ideal Standard International in Brussels, Neeta Thakur joined EFG Hermes in Dubai in 2015, leading legal operations for the company in the US, the UK,...

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Oleksandra Storozhuk

Legal counsel | Five Holdings

Coming off of a diverse and international legal career encompassing Russia and Ukraine, Oleksandra Storozhuk’s move to Five Holdings in January 2018 began an extremely successful portion of her career...

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Oliver C. Hallsworth

General counsel and global head of legal and compliance | ADS Securities

A qualified barrister, Oliver C. Hallsworth made the move to investment banking relatively early within his career, moving through Citibank, Lehman Brothers and UBS before reaching the Middle East in...

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Omar Rahman

General counsel | Noor Bank

‘My job at Noor Bank has been unique, in that I joined the Bank prior to its formal launch to the public, and have therefore been responsible for creating the...

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Osama Romeih

Group legal counsel | Air Arabia

The go-to advisor for the CEOs and boards of the Air Arabia Group companies on laws, regulations and public policy, ethics and risk, Osama Romeih plays a central role in...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Pablo Seijas Ameijide

GCC regional general counsel and compliance officer | FCC Construccion

The FAST Consortium, one of three contracted to build the multi-billion dollar Riyadh Metro project, is led by Spanish construction major FCC Construccion. As such, Pablo Seijas Ameijide operates a...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Paul Kirkby

Chief legal and ethics officer - operations and assets | ENGIE

In place at Engie in Dubai since 2012, Paul Kirkby is now responsible for more than 90 companies in the region and has revolutionised the way these entities are run:...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Peter Howley

General counsel and company secretary | Waha Capital

In the more than six years he has been at Waha Capital, Peter Howley has spearheaded a major expansion of the team’s abilities. ‘There has been a significant up-skilling of...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Pradeep Chandrasekharan

Group head legal and board secretary | Gulf Marketing Group (GMG Dubai)

When asked about the future of the in-house legal profession, group head of legal and board secretary for GMG Dubai Pradeep Chandrasekharan says, ‘the role of the in-house legal [function]...

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Praveen Maheshwary

Head of legal | Landmark Group

‘The ever-developing role of an in-house counsel has given me an opportunity to grow as a legal professional by ensuing the steps of first to listen, second to think, third...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Rawad E. Abou Jaoude

Legal counsel and company secretary | Alcazar Capital

With a project development track record which includes major programmes in Southeast Asia and Europe in the infrastructure, energy, healthcare, and logistics sectors, Alcazar Capital is among the most noteworthy...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Razi Heyasat

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

In place at Arab Bank for Investment & Foreign Trade (Al Masraf) since 2008, Razi Heyasat brings unparalleled experience of the company’s operations to his role as head of the...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Reza Zaidi

Managing director and co-head of legal, compliance and public affairs | Marsh Middle East and Africa

One of Reza Zaidi’s interesting roles prior to his current one, and one which he ranks among his favourites, came with start-up Gatehouse Bank in London: ‘I was employee number...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Richard McLaughlin

General counsel | Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production (OOCEP)

Richard McLaughlin is a highly experienced and industry-respected general counsel. Prior to becoming OOCEP’s general counsel in 2014, McLaughlin spent almost five years at Nabarro, then had a highly-successful nine...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Robert Habchi

Head of legal department | Nasco Re

Robert Habchi began his tenure at reinsurance leader Nasco Re in 2013 and progressed quickly, being made head of legal in 2017; he now oversees a team of eleven individuals...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Roger Tanios

General counsel | Indevco Group

In place at the company since 1999, Roger Tanios is absolutely central to the continued success of Indevco Group, Lebanon’s international packaging and household care disposables company. Providing legal support...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Rowan McBrien

General counsel and chief compliance officer | Total E&P Qatar

An expert energy lawyer, Rowan McBrien moved to Total as a senior legal counsel in 2011 and remembers his first major transaction with the company, the farm-in of 33.3% of...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Sai Dandekar

Sole legal counsel | Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast

A qualified advocate of the High Court of India and admitted to the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, Sai Dandekar has approximately 12 years of experience in dealing with...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Sandeep M. Chokshy

Managing regional counsel for the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific | Frank’s International

An oil and energy specialist, Sandeep M. Chokshy enjoyed an extremely successful period with Baker Hughes from 2009 until 2014, first in India and then in Dubai, before joining leading...

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Sandra Redding

General counsel | Dragon Oil

Sandra Redding is no stranger to supporting extremely complex and high value transactions: ‘As legal counsel for RWE Dea (now Ineos), having responsibility for the legal work needed to bring...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Santiago Lucero

Acting head of legal | Alghanim Industries

Reflecting on his journey from international law firms in New York and Paris to the Alghanim Industries legal department in Kuwait, which he joined in 2007 and now leads, Santiago...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Sari Kanaan

Senior legal counsel Middle East, Africa and Turkey | AkzoNobel

In terms of project work, Sari Kanaan says that recently his efforts as senior legal counsel for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey for AkzoNobel have mainly been concerned with...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Saud Al-Motawa

Senior legal counsel | Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC)

An expert energy sector lawyer, Saud Al-Motawa spent five years with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation between 2008 and 2013 and is in his sixth year with Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Sean D. Yates

General counsel | China State Construction Engineering Corporation (Middle East)

China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME)’s general counsel Sean D. Yates received high praise from a nominating source, who commented that ‘he stands apart from other general...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Shaun Johnson

Director, legal | Vision Invest

Shaun Johnson credits his time in private practice with Ashurst (formerly Blake Dawson) in Australia and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as having been instrumental in his later success as an in-house...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Simon Price

General counsel | Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

Simon Price originally moved to the Middle East in 2005 while on secondment to international security company Olive Group, joining the company full time once this expired. After impressing here,...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Steffen Feike

Senior legal counsel | Bombardier Transportation

Steffen Feike is a dual-qualified German Rechtsanwalt (lawyer) and Solicitor of England and Wales with an industry focus on technology and engineering. He started off his career in Dubai with...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Stephen A. Hibbert

Head of legal services and general counsel | Qatar Rail

A landmark moment occurred for Qatar Rail in May 2019 when the first stations of the Doha Metro opened for business. The culmination of this project, which is among the...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Stuart Davies

General counsel | The Red Sea Development Company

Stuart Davies has practiced as a lawyer for over 20 years, an influential part of which was spent in private practice within Norton Rose’s corporate finance team in London, which...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Sultan Al Booq

General counsel and executive vice president of corporate services | Saudi Airlines Catering

Formerly a consultant specialising in intellectual property cases with Eversheds, a senior legal advisor at Saudi Mining Holding Company and general counsel with Ma’aden, Sultan Al Booq became general counsel...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Tarek Mogharbel

Executive director and senior country counsel – Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey | JPMorgan Chase Bank

In position as head of legal for the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey – as well as senior country counsel for Luxembourg – at JPMorgan Chase since 2012,...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Tarek Nakkach

Region legal counsel - Middle East | Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

During the course of his time with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Tarek Nakkach has guided his legal team to an extremely high level of service; it has received multiple internal...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Thomas Högfors

General counsel Middle East | ABB

Thomas Högfors has accomplished a great deal with ABB since joining in 2011. General counsel for ABB in UAE and its oversight countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran,...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Timmy Trihartama

Associate general counsel | Qatar Petroleum

Associate general counsel for state-owned petroleum company Qatar Petroleum, an organisation which is responsible for all phases of the oil and gas industry in the country and which subsequently creates...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Toufic Abi Fadel

Chief legal officer | Barzan Holdings

Starting his in-house career in 2010 with Qatar Development Bank where he was heading the company’s in-house department for six years, Toufic Abi Fadel followed this with a position as...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Tsim Wharton

Group general counsel | Macsteel International

After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1995, Tsim Wharton embarked upon a private practice career before completing an MBA and taking on an in-house role before finally joining...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Varsha Gupta

Senior legal counsel Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey | IDEMIA

Varsha Gupta is a dual-qualified (India and England and Wales) corporate lawyer with 12 years of experience gained from an international law firm and, most recently, consumer goods giant Reckitt...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Wael Ibrahim

Chief legal counsel and integrity officer for Africa and the Middle East | The Nielsen Company

‘A regional legal role, covering many countries is always challenging, especially in its beginning, not only because of the different context that the countries we operate have, but because of...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Walid Ali Khalil

Group legal manager | Mezzan Holding Co

Walid Ali Khalil joined the Kuwait-based, US$1bn market capitalisation Mezzan Holding Co in 2006 as senior legal assistant, and has proved an indispensable resource for the company’s in-house legal function...

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Yosr Hamza

Director, legal affairs Middle East | Gartner

Selected by leaders in the Middle East as the top line of business partner in 2015 and 2016 on the back of excellent assistance provided to colleagues, Yosr Hamza is...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Zaid Mahayni

Chief legal officer | SEDCO Holding

Joining SEDCO Holding as a vice president in 2015 and promoted to chief legal officer in February 2017, Zaid Mahayni reports directly to the CEO and supervises a department composed...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

Zeina Abillamah

General counsel | UAE Trading Group

Formerly a legal project manager for a UNODC project on human trafficking and a private practice lawyer, Zeina Abillamah joined the UAE Trading Group and moved to the Dubai in...

#GCPowerlist Middle East 2019

The GC Powerlist: Middle East 2019 is one of the highlights of The Legal 500 In-house Legal Research Team’s calendar for the scale and variety of the companies involved, the unique nature of the region and the rapid pace at which the in-house legal role continues to grow across the Middle East. It is the enthusiasm of the lawyers that we speak to however, which makes this particular GC Powerlist truly special.

True to form, the response for the 2019 edition of the GC Powerlist: Middle East was extremely positive. Indeed, our already high expectations for the project have been exceeded. The overwhelming response from the senior in-house counsel we contacted has made putting it together both rewarding and illuminating, and all of those featured have provided valuable descriptions of their successes, trials and tribulations. In short, The GC Powerlist: Middle East 2019 gives the most comprehensive insight yet published into what it means to be an elite in-house counsel operating in the Middle East.

Thank you very much to everyone who spoke to me during the course of this project for being so generous with your time and for providing such vivid insights into your work. We look forward to many more successful editions of the GC Powerlist: Middle East in the future, and have a number of exciting plans for next year’s edition. Watch this space!

Al Tamimi & Co

Al Tamimi & Co logo

The past 12 months have seen governments across the GCC continue to drive their diversification agendas, both in terms of legislative changes and broader initiatives designed to support economic development. Added to this continuing activity across the private sector as companies seek to strengthen and grow their businesses, against a global macro-economic picture not without its challenges, and you can see why in-house legal teams have been kept busy.

As we entered the first few months of 2019, a sense of cautious optimism prevailed in the region, underpinned by a more positive oil price performance; however, increasing geopolitical headwinds have since dented this outlook. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) thus revised down global growth forecasts in the wake of issues including the US-China trade war, tensions with Iran and the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, whilst recent economic indicators such as the yield curve inversion have weighed on global stock markets with an accompanying impact on the outlook for oil prices.

Nevertheless, the Middle East continues to show signs that it is making economic progress in spite of this global backdrop. The IMF expects GDP growth in GCC countries to improve slightly to 2.1% in 2019, up from 2.0% in 2018, before accelerating to 3.2% in 2020, citing government fiscal stimuli and spending ahead of events, such as Expo 2020, as driving growth, particularly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We have also seen several homegrown businesses step onto the global stage, whether thanks to an international public listing (Network International and Finablr in London) or through acquisition by a global giant (Careem’s acquisition
by Uber).

Such progress is also being supported by ongoing legislative reforms. In May, for the first time ever, the UAE entered the top five in the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, with the report highlighting the increase in government efficiency, particularly in terms of business legislation. Reforms have since continued and in July this year, the UAE government announced details of its much-awaited changes to FDI legislation with the publication of an initial list setting out 122 activities in the agriculture, manufacturing, education, health and services sectors where up to 100% foreign ownership will be permitted. This list primarily targets those industries seen to be key to driving the future growth and diversification of the Emirates. Whilst the full effects of this move on FDI are yet to be seen, legal teams at related businesses will undoubtedly be called on in the coming months to assess the potential impact and benefits on their own corporate and shareholder structures.

More widely in the region, Saudi Arabia has had potential FDI interest boosted by its inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, with Kuwait also set to benefit from inclusion next year. In addition, Saudi Arabia continues along its path of statutory reforms including the publication of its new e-commerce law in July followed by the announcement of indicative amendments to its travel, labour and civil status laws in early August bringing further gender equality. Meanwhile, in Oman, the new commercial companies law came into force in May 2019, aiming to make the Sultanate more business-friendly.

Technology and innovation remain at the heart of the region’s success going forward. The UAE continues to drive its digital transformation agenda, including announcing its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy to position the UAE as a global leader in AI by 2031. Progress to date is already visible in the Emirates vibrant startup community, with it being home the highest number of fintech startups (according to Bloomberg Intelligence) thanks to targeted initiatives in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain is similarly building its position as a fintech hub through initiatives including focused funding and its regulatory sandbox, as well as leading the way in implementing new data protection laws.

For the in-house lawyer, keeping pace with all these developments is combined with an increasing need to act as a business enabler. Today’s general counsel is not only expected to understand the fast-evolving legal landscape but to contextualise this within the business model and commercial requirements and at Al Tamimi & Company, we see how this shift from reactive legal adviser to proactive commercial driver is enabling both individuals and teams to make a tangible contribution to their businesses, and the wider economy. Therefore, it is fitting that this contribution is once again being recognised by this year’s GC Powerlist: Middle East and we are delighted to congratulate everyone on this list.

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