Middle East Teams 2018 – GC Powerlist

Middle East Teams 2018

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

Over the last few years the legal team at ABB has grown more closely aligned with the business in terms of becoming simpler, more flexible, accessible and streamlined. Examples of...

Industrials and real estate

The ALJ legal team possesses a number of notable personalities within its legal department that account for the major success it has had in supporting the varied business interests of...

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

| Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

Sports and media

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), the owner and operator of the largest exhibition venue in the Middle East, employs a small but highly efficient legal team to oversee its...

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (AD Ports)

| Abu Dhabi Ports Company (AD Ports)

Transport and infrastructure

AD Ports has moved into an extremely exciting new chapter in its history recently, securing a position on the “Belt and Road” developmental initiative by the Chinese government to focus...

Action Group Holdings (AGH)

| Action Group Holdings (AGH)

Industrials and real estate

AGH’s 17-person legal team oversees a multi-billion dollar operation encompassing around 30 subsidiaries and sister companies worldwide. AGH is a diversified family owned global conglomerate based in Kuwait, focusing on...

ACWA Holding

| ACWA Holding

Industrials and real estate

The recently consolidated ACWA Holding legal function possesses multiple competencies that allow it to meet the demanding requirements of ACWA’s varied infrastructure development portfolio. The company deals in many sectors,...

adidas emerging markets

| adidas emerging markets

Consumer products

Led by GC Powerlist 2017-featured lawyer Mona Hussein, the adidas in-house legal team in Dubai successfully deals with high volume of work over multiple jurisdictions within the MENA region. Despite...


| ADNOC Group

Energy and utilities

Led by Salem Al Darei, the ADNOC Group legal team is staffed with the level of highly talented individuals one would expect of the UAE’s largest company, which is a...


| Aggreko

Industrials and real estate

Aggreko’s business model of providing interim power solutions is much in demand in the Middle East, but provides unique challenges for its legal department to overcome. As well as providing...

Airbus Africa and Middle East

| Airbus Africa and Middle East

Industrials and real estate

Airbus’ legal team for Africa and Middle East came into existence only recently, when the company decided to create dedicated teams for each region. At present the company employs a...

Al Dahra Holding

| Al Dahra Holding

Food, beverages and tobacco

Coming in for praise from nominating sources on the back of excellent performances on a number of transactions, the Al Dahra Holding legal function is compact but consistently excels in...

Al Habtoor Group

| Al Habtoor Group


One of the foremost conglomerates in the Gulf with holdings in the hospitality, automotive, car leasing, real estate, education and publishing sectors, Al Habtoor Group’s diverse portfolio provides a wealth...

Al Rajhi Bank

| Al Rajhi Bank


Boasting an impressive first quarter year-on-year profit increase for 2018, Saudi Arabia’s largest bank Al Rajhi has been performing well on the back of both sound investments and the support...

Al Tayer Group

| Al Tayer Group

Industrials and real estate

Active in the automotive, retail, industrial and investment sectors, Al Tayer Group has featured prominently in the Middle East business landscape for decades, and currently has a presence in 12...

Al Tayyar Travel Group

| Al Tayyar Travel Group


Already one of the most notable travel companies in the region, Al Tayyar Travel Group has entered into a number of strategic partnerships with other businesses and has undergone a...

Al-Futtaim Group

| Al-Futtaim Group

Consumer products

The legal team of 21 lawyers and eight support staff at Al Futtaim Group, a large real-estate conglomerate based in Dubai, is headed by group general counsel Fadi Hammadeh. The...


| Al-Jazeera

Sports and media

Broadcasting giant Al-Jazeera had a turbulent and controversial year in 2017, when it was at the centre of the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis and faced calls to be shut down...



Energy and utilities

The legal department of the renewable energy business Alcazar Energy comprises four professionals working across the company’s offices in Turkey, Jordan and Dubai. The team is currently led by general...

Alghanim Industries

| Alghanim Industries

Industrials and real estate

Alghanim Industries’ legal team has taken a rigorous approach to streamlining procedures and taking efficiency to the next level. Santiago Lucero, senior director – legal, explains: ‘As part of an...


| Almarai

Food, beverages and tobacco

Before Khalid Alaseeri assumed the general counsel position at the Arabian dairy manufacturing company Almarai, the company’s legal team had a hierarchal structure of organisation with layers below the general...

Aster DM Healthcare

| Aster DM Healthcare


Established by its extremely highly regarded head of legal Ajith Madhavan, who has guided the function to its current high level of efficiency since 2010, Aster DM Healthcare’s legal team...

AXA Insurance

| AXA Insurance


Despite being spread across a number of locations in the Middle East (namely Bahrain, UAE, Oman, KSA, Lebanon and Egypt) lawyers within the regional legal department at AXA Insurance are...

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company

| Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company


The legal department at Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company – the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain – has undergone a major structural overhaul of its previously undocumented processes, in addition to...

Bank Audi

| Bank Audi


Consisting of nine individuals, including group head for legal and compliance Chahdan Jebeyli who covers all Group Audi entities, the Bank Audi legal team supported the company in the development...

Bank Med

| Bank Med


Alongside a strong presence in its home market of Lebanon, Bank Med has branches in Iraq and Cyprus and subsidiary companies in Switzerland and Turkey. This provides a multi-jurisdictional set...

Bank Sohar

| Bank Sohar


Priding itself on being one of the fastest-growing banks in the Middle East, Bank Sohar counts upon a similarly dynamic and forward-thinking in-house legal function to drive its enviable rate...


| Barclays


Over the past two years, the Barclays legal team has transitioned from operating as a number of separate business-focused teams, with lawyers sitting in different locations within the UAE with...

Barzan Holdings

| Barzan Holdings

Industrials and real estate

Barzan Holdings is a newly established company that serves as the investment arm of the Ministry of Defense of Qatar and whose mission is to strengthen Qatar’s sovereignty and support...


| Citi


Fauzia Kehar, director and cluster legal head for Gulf and Pakistan, manages a long standing team of seven lawyers as direct reports and two as matrix reports, all of whom...



Energy and utilities

Nai Xiaoyong, deputy general manager of CNOOC Iraq Limited is the leader of the legal department which has been critical to the recent development and success of the company, the...

Commercial Bank of Dubai

| Commercial Bank of Dubai


A forward thinking and highly innovative function, the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) legal team has supported a number of major deals over the past two years. CBD’s chief legal...

Industrials and real estate

Headquartered in Athens, CCC is one of the largest contracting companies in the world, boasting a total workforce of over 120,000 individuals as of 2016 and the completion of some...

Deutsche Bank

| Deutsche Bank


Mark Hultum, head of legal Middle East and Africa (MEA), leads the legal team at Deutsche Bank comprised of senior lawyer Nadhira Rajcoomar – based in Johannesburg – and supported...

Dimah Capital Investment

| Dimah Capital Investment


Achieving exceptional results with a compact team, the Dimah Capital Investment legal function provides support for a sharia-compliant portfolio accounting for approximately US$800m assets under management. The function is led...

DNV GL Group

| DNV GL Group

Commercial and professional services

The Middle East legal team at DNV GL Group is part of the broader Middle East and Asia Pacific group legal team with two lawyers, Isoken Imohe and Stefanie Szabo,...



Energy and utilities

The Dragon Oil legal team has taken a major role in the corporate restructure of the business on the back of its multi-billion dollar takeover by Emirates National Oil Company...

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

| Dubai Multi Commodities Centre


As the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is on course of realising its vision of being the most business-enabling free economic zone in the world, and strives to be a...

Dubai World

| Dubai World


Supporting the extremely diversified concerns of the major investment arm of the government of Dubai, the Dubai World legal function is required to stay abreast of a highly demanding volume...

E.A. Juffali & Brothers

| E.A. Juffali & Brothers

Industrials and real estate

The E.A. Juffali & Brothers legal team has recently taken on a new group legal advisor to head the function. Shadi Aldaoud is a former general counsel at Siemens Saudi...

EITC (du)

| EITC (du)

Telecommunication services

Anneliese Reinhold, general counsel and senior vice president of EITC (trading as du), relates that her personal motto “onwards and upwards” is one that is shared by the company’s legal...

Emaar Saudi arabia – the economic city

| Emaar Saudi Arabia – The Economic City

Industrials and real estate

Responsible for the development of the King Abdullah Economic City megaproject announced by Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2005, the Emaar Economic City legal team oversees a truly momentous...


| Emirates

Transport and infrastructure

2017 saw another set of landmark deals for Emirates – the Middle East’s largest airline – once again affirming its financial clout and huge importance to the Gulf economy and...

Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (EMARAT)

| Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (EMARAT)

Energy and utilities

Founded in 1980 and based in Dubai, Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (EMARAT) has established a strong presence in the local markets for petroleum retailing, aviation refuelling, lubricants marketing, and terminal...



Energy and utilities

Established in 1993 as a wholly owned company of the government of Dubai, ENOC has grown to be one of the leaders in the regional energy industry. Comprising multiple subsidiaries,...

Emirates NBD

| Emirates NBD


The Emirates NBD legal team underwent a major development in 2018, as its highly respected general counsel Lubna Qassim moved on to pastures new. The team she left behind, however,...

Energy and utilities

Engie’s market for power and water in the Middle East is both immense and growing, with the UAE alone projected to increase its electricity requirements by up to 40% between...

Etihad Aviation Group

| Etihad Aviation Group

Transport and infrastructure

Locked in a fierce rivalry with other Gulf carriers such as Qatar Air and fellow UAE-based carrier Emirates, Etihad has been engaged in somewhat of a transformation lately. With the...

Ezdan Holding Group

| Ezdan Holding Group

Industrials and real estate

With the ambitious stated goal of diversification of investments and the completion of mega projects, through large investments in real estate and other assets, Ezdan Holding Group and its internal...

Fajr Capital

| Fajr Capital


Fajr Capital Group is a sovereign-backed private equity firm with a diverse portfolio operating across Islamic cooperation markets, and whose legal and corporate affairs department is led by Zahid Kamal,...

FCC Construccion – Fast Consortium

| FCC Construccion – Fast Consortium

Industrials and real estate

The FAST Consortium is one of three consortia responsible for the construction of the multi-billion dollar Riyadh Metro megaproject, a momentous piece of engineering which is among the most exciting...

FedEx Express

| FedEx Express

Transport and infrastructure

FedEx’s Middle East, India Subcontinent and Africa (MEISA) legal team has seven lawyers based in Dubai, including the team’s overall head and vice president legal and regulatory affairs for MEISA,...

First Abu Dhabi Bank

| First Abu Dhabi Bank


One of the most eye-catching developments in the Middle East business world in recent years saw First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi merge in early 2017 to...

Flash Entertainment

| Flash Entertainment


Andrew Cooke, general counsel and head of strategy, leads a two person team at Flash Entertainment, and will be expanding the team to four professionals by the end of the...


| Flydubai

Transport and infrastructure

The flydubai legal team has had a busy twelve months, with senior vice president of legal Krishan Sunnadurai’s function being at the forefront of a number of deals aimed at...

Garmco (Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill)

| Garmco (Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill)

Materials and mining

Fadia Mufid Mubarak, the legal counsel and the senior lawyer at GARMCO has been leading the legal team since June 2014. She is an expert on the laws in the...

GE Middle East North Africa and Turkey

| GE Middle East North Africa and Turkey

Industrials and real estate

Bruce McAlister, general counsel global growth and MENAT, leads the legal team responsible for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, having been with GE for 18 years. McAlister has overall...

GEMS Education Dubai

| GEMS Education Dubai

Commercial and professional services

GEMS Education Dubai, founded by Indian-born billionaire and noted philanthropist Sunny Varkey, is one of the foremost international education companies in the world. It boasts over 47 schools across the...

Gemstone Real Estate Development

| Gemstone Real Estate Development

Industrials and real estate

The Gemstone Real Estate Development legal team is based around a core of highly skilled lawyers. As well as chief legal officer Aasma Khan, whose importance to the group is...

GFH Financial Group

| GFH Financial Group


GFH Financial Group (GFH) has put pen to paper on some eye-catching transactions in 2018. Alongside paying off the outstanding amount of a 2007-drawn US$200m sukuk in August, it announced...

Indevco Group

| Indevco Group

Materials and mining

An extremely diversified industrial consultancy company, Indevco Group’s operations in the agricultural, beverage, construction, catering, dairy and ice cream, hygiene converting, food, packaging converting, paramedical and pharmaceutical, petrochemical and chemical,...



Energy and utilities

Working under the direction of general counsel Ulf Bathke, a fully bilingual Arabic-English lawyer who holds a PhD in Islamic law and is admitted to the bar of England and...


| Inovest


The legal department at Inovest is managed by head of legal Ismaeel Omer Elnasri, and supported by Hashmeya Ali Alsaba, senior legal officer and Dalal Al Qahtan. The team focuses...

Investment Corporation of Dubai

| Investment Corporation of Dubai


The Investment Corporation of Dubai’s highly diversified portfolio encompasses holdings in premium companies across a number of sectors. Notably, Emirates Group in the aviation sector, Emaar Properties and Dubai World...

Kuehne + Nagel Management MEA

| Kuehne + Nagel Management MEA

Transport and infrastructure

Growing from a single lawyer in 2011 into a team of five lawyers in 2018 and moving the legal department at Kuehne + Nagel Management MEA from the state of...

Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority

| Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority

Established in 2013 as one of the arms tasked with implementing the country’s development strategy, Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority is currently tasked with promoting direct investment by both local...

Food, beverages and tobacco

Boasting a highly capable set of lawyers based across the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, Americana’s legal team is tasked with safeguarding the fortunes of perhaps the most prominent...



Energy and utilities

The business end of Kuwait’s foreign energy exploitation and production capacity, KUFPEC has operations around the globe in Australia, Asia, Africa Canada, the UK North Sea, Norway and the Middle...

Energy and utilities

Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI)’s legal team is led by Juan Riancho, general counsel and consists of senior legal manager Mark Pennington, senior legal counsels Julien Bergerat and Mariam Abdullatif Al-Obaid,...

Landmark Group

| Landmark Group

Consumer products

Landmark Group boasts one of the most successful retail portfolios in the MENA region, and has first class hospitality and healthcare divisions within the scope of its operations. It has...

Larsen & Toubro

| Larsen & Toubro

Industrials and real estate

The legal team at the Indian multinational conglomerate Larsen & Toubro provides support to strategically important projects for the company in the Middle East such as the Al Rayyan FIFA...


| Ma’aden

Materials and mining

Ma’aden’s general counsel Stephen Bodley believes ‘the biggest driver in an in-house professional function is the people’, which has led to a personality-focused approach to the department. As such, the...

Macsteel International Holdings

| Macsteel International Holdings

Materials and mining

In the last two years the internal legal team of Macsteel International Holdings has been involved in a corporate restructuring and several M&A’s, handling all of the legal matters throughout...

Majid Al Futtaim Group

| Majid Al Futtaim Group

One of the most prestigious companies in the Middle East, Majid Al Futtaim Group operates an impressive portfolio of shopping malls, communities, retail and leisure installations spanning 15 countries, with...


| Mezzan

Food, beverages and tobacco

The legal team of Mezzan Holding Company (KSCP) is led by group legal manager Walid Khalil. He joined the company in 2006 as a senior legal assistant and over the...

MH Alshaya

| MH Alshaya

Consumer products

MH Alshaya’s legal function has been at the heart of the spectacular growth and diversification that has led to its current world-renowned status in the retail sector. Since it has...


| Microsoft

Information technology

The Microsoft in-house legal team in the Middle East region came together less than two years ago as the role of the in-house team in the Gulf adapted to working...


| Mubadala


One of the major Middle Eastern investment arms, Mubadala’s portfolio accounts for US$127.8bn in total assets worldwide, contributing towards its stated goal of increasing prosperity for Abu Dhabi through diversified...


| Muntajat

Energy and utilities

Muntajat’s legal function has had a major role in the company’s global expansion in the past few years. Tasked with marketing and selling Qatari petrochemical products around the world, the...


| Nakheel

Industrials and real estate

Bucking the regional trend of a general economic slowdown over the past 24 months, Nakheel has ‘experienced a stable past couple of years with some consolidation as well as focussed...




Due to the nature of the reinsurance market and its esteemed place within this, NASCO Re’s highly organised and well-drilled team is one of the most experienced within the Middle...

Nebras Power

| Nebras Power

Energy and utilities

The legal department of the Qatar based power and water investment company Nebras Power has been developed by Marco Faldella, who joined the company in 2016 and started out as...




Established in 2008, Noor Bank has consistently received praise from the financial industry press for its innovation in terms of technology and products, as well as its commitment to social...



Energy and utilities

OiLSERV operates as the leading regionally founded and independent oil and gas services company in the MENA region with main operations in Abu Dhabi, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia and...



Energy and utilities

Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production (OOCEP) was recently named as the fastest growing oil and gas company in the Middle East by a mining industry publication. It has therefore...

Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC)

| Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC)

Energy and utilities

Led for many years by legal and compliance manager Lorenzo Bruttomesso, the Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) legal team moves onto a new chapter in 2018 as...

Oman Power and Water Procurement Company SAOC (OPWP)

| Oman Power and Water Procurement Company SAOC (OPWP)

Energy and utilities

The in-house legal team of OPWP has four lawyers supporting all of the company’s water and power projects in Oman, whether such projects are under development, implementation or in the...



Telecommunication services

Ooredoo’s reputation as one of the foremost telecommunications providers in the world has been built on the back of excellent internal processes, a robust compliance culture and detailed due diligence...



Sports and media

One of the leading broadcast companies in the Middle East, OSN broadcasts to 24 countries across the MENA region, providing 65 high definition television channels with a large volume of...


| Patchi

Food, beverages and tobacco

Patchi is an industry leading confectionary e-commerce company from Lebanon with a global presence, specialising in chocolates, baklavas and other confections. Patchi’s legal team consists of three members: Joumana Younes,...

Petrochemical Industries Company

| Petrochemical Industries Company

Energy and utilities

Petrochemical Industies Company (PIC) is an international petrochemical company and a subsidiary of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, an oil and gas production exploration and development company based in Kuwait. PIC...

Public Investment Fund (PIF)

| Public Investment Fund (PIF)

As the primary investment arm of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the scope of PIF’s business is incredibly broad, with the company possessing holdings in a number of sectors in...



Commercial and professional services

The PwC Middle East legal team is led by Middle East general counsel Fayez Khouri, who is supported by Carine Geagea, who manages a contract review team based in Beirut....

Qatar Airways Group

| Qatar Airways Group

Transport and infrastructure

Chief legal and compliance officer of Qatar Airways Group Ben Swagerman (a GC Powerlist: Middle East 2017-featured lawyer) has grown the company’s legal, risk and compliance (LRC) department from a...

Qatar Financial Centre

| Qatar Financial Centre


Headed by former Shell in-house lawyer Nasser Al-Taweel (one of the first Qatari nationals to be admitted to the Senior Courts of England and Wales), the Qatar Financial Centre Authority’s...

Qatar Foundation

| Qatar Foundation


The last several years have been highly eventful for general counsel Michael Mitchell’s 19 person legal department at Qatar Foundation. Having adapted the attitude that lawyers are service providers ‘whose...




The Middle East’s largest bank by assets, Qatar National Bank has a large, highly diligent and capable in-house legal function to match its prominent position in the sector. The exceptionally...




The Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) is the newly formed authority comprising of the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Free Trade Zone Authority and the RAK Investment Authority responsible for...

Reckitt Benckiser (RB)

| Reckitt Benckiser (RB)

Consumer products

RB’s vast product portfolio and exposure to Middle Eastern markets means its legal function possess the skills to spot and handle risks before they develop further. Regional legal and compliance...




Dr Markus Federle, Samena Capital’s senior managing director, general counsel and member of the group’s executive committee, explains that the past year has been a particularly busy one for the...

Saudi Aramco

| Saudi Aramco

Materials and mining

Saudi Aramco’s in-house legal function contains a number of individuals of note in its large and highly experienced team befitting what is regarded by many analysts as the world’s most...

Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (SASREF)

| Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company (SASREF)

Energy and utilities

The legal function at SASREF consists of three staff including general legal counsel Ahmad Zaky Ismail, who leads the team, as well as legal counsel Omar Al-Ghamdi and one compliance...

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)

| Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)

Materials and mining

Organised along its main four strategic business unit lines of petrochemicals, specialties, agri-nutrients, and metals, SABIC is one of the major players in the petrochemicals sector in the Middle East...

Saudia Airlines

| Saudia Airlines

Transport and infrastructure

Having successfully geared up for the extremely busy Hajj operational plan, which aims to transport over 1.1 million Muslim pilgrims on the arrival and return stages of the Hajj, the...

Savola Group

| Savola Group

Food, beverages and tobacco

Savola Group is The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s largest food production company, reliably pulling in large revenue figures on the back of its ownership of leading food and food retail...

Schindler Group

| Schindler Group

Industrials and real estate

Schindler Group is renowned for its escalator, lift and moving walk solutions for urban projects (with, by its own estimates, one billion people per day travelling via its products), and...




Dr Zaid Mahayni holds the most senior position in the team at SEDCO Holding, chief legal officer and is supported by three senior attorneys who oversee the department, which consists...

Seddiqi Holding

| Seddiqi Holding

Consumer products

The Seddiqi name is synonymous in Dubai with luxury watches (particularly Rolex, for which they have been a franchisee since 1952) and the company enjoys a leading position in the...

Shelf Drilling

| Shelf Drilling

Energy and utilities

Shelf Drilling is an international shallow water jack up drilling contractor offering drilling services for international oil and gas companies operating in the Middle East, South East Asia, India, West...


| Shire


Shire’s Eurasia Middle East and Africa legal function is headquartered in Dubai, with team members dotted around Russia, India, Turkey and South Africa. Head counsel Narguiz Birk-Petersen explains that the...

SIDRA Medicine

| SIDRA Medicine


The legal team at Sidra Medicine consists of five lawyers and two paralegals, three law clerks, a graduate associate and two administrative staff. The team provides both proactive and reactive...

Six Construct

| Six Construct

Industrials and real estate

Six Construct, a subsidiary of Brussels-based BESIX Group, has been at the centre of some of the Gulf’s most exciting and internationally renowned construction projects, including The Burj Khalifa, The...

Standard Chartered

| Standard Chartered


Described by regional CEO Sunil Kaushal as ‘instrumental to our continued success in building sustainable business growth across the region’, Standard Chartered’s Middle East legal team is a true partner...



Industrials and real estate

A leading Gulf-based business with holdings in such diverse fields as energy and logistics, manufacturing, engineering, contracting and financial services to name just a few, The Zubair Corporation’s chief legal...

UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)

| UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)

Transport and infrastructure

Providing regulatory oversight to one of the busiest and most rapidly expanding aviation sectors in the entire world is no mean feat, with UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) being...



Consumer products

UAE Trading Group introduced high-end clothing to the UAE in 1972 and incorporated an affiliate company in Lebanon (Luxury Clothing Company) in 2008 and now has over 78 stores featuring...




Visa – a colossus of the financial technology sector – encounters a wide variety of legal matters on a daily basis. The company’s legal department in Dubai is a lean...


| Vodafone

Telecommunication services

Given the fast-paced nature of the telecommunications industry, Vodafone Qatar is continually required to evolve its business and its areas of commercial focus to ensure it keeps pace with a...




The legal department of Abu Dhabi-listed investment company Waha Capital (Waha) is headed by general counsel and company secretary Peter Howley and is comprised of three other members, namely, senior...



Sports and media

Zain Group is a Kuwait based mobile telecommunications company with a footprint in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa and approximately 47 million active customers across the...

Zee Entertainment

| Zee Entertainment

Sports and media

Zee Entertainment’s international legal team was formed in Dubai in 2017 by highly-regarded general counsel Gordon Finlayson, who came from a role as European general counsel of HBO. Since joining...

The cultural diversity of businesses operating in the Middle East is often difficult for outsiders to understand. With multinationals across the region continuing to depend on a large expatriate workforce, multiple nationalities often work side-by-side. Bringing together so many different cultural and linguistic perspectives can be a challenge for any organisation. For their in-house lawyers this is compounded by the need to reconcile civil and common law approaches across the team, along with disparate notions of what a lawyer is and how they should interact with their business.

However, this eclectic workforce is also helping to forge new ideas. As this year’s Powerlist shows, the legal teams in the Middle East are not only catching up with peers abroad, but in some cases are leading the way by being creative in finding new ways of providing support to the business. The in-house community across the region is growing each year in size and sophistication and there is clearly a hunger to engage with new ways of working.

We at The Legal 500 are delighted to draw attention to the maturing legal market and provide a platform for legal teams to exchange ideas. For this year’s GC Powerlist: Middle East Teams, we have diversified our focus away from the traditional political and economic heartlands of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Legal teams based in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Lebanon are all given greater coverage and we also profile our first ever Iraq-based team, signalling the opening of the region’s next boom market to international business. A big thank you must go to all the legal teams who took the time to make this year’s publication even stronger.

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company logo

Another eventful and, in some jurisdictions, a challenging year across the Middle East, and certainly a busy one for in-house legal teams.

2017 saw just a 1% growth in Middle East economies – the slowest rate of growth in eight years. It would seem that no country in this region was immune to the knock-on effects of a drop in oil prices. With the recent gradual recovery of the price of oil, amongst other factors, it would appear that 2018 is heading towards a more respectable 2.4% growth rate. Many businesses in and investors into the region have showed cautious optimism as a result.

The UAE is leading the way in the Middle East when it comes to (its continued) diversification of its economy and capitalising on the opportunities this brings. The Arab World Competitiveness Report 2018 cited that the new value added tax, which both the UAE and Saudi Arabia were early adopters of, as a contributing factor in the Emirates’ economic resilience. Bahrain will be the next GCC country to implement the 5% tax, with recent estimates suggesting the introduction of VAT will produce revenues of in excess of $25 billion per annum across the region.

The report praised the UAE’s sound infrastructure, strong institutions, as well as the standards of healthcare and primary education. However, it also stated that in order to further increase the country’s international competitiveness, investment in the latest digital technologies should be a priority.
Saudi Arabia is still taking important steps towards change. Following the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s launch of Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the economy, there have been significant steps forward in line with the plan. While the Aramco IPO, one of the steps under the plan, appears to have been delayed indefinitely, Saudi Arabia has reassured investors that the flotation, which has been billed as the largest ever, will ultimately proceed.

Technology and innovation appears to be a driver across the region for diversification and growth, with the Middle East increasingly becoming a leader in the technology space. With a young population who have good access to technology, makes the Middle East one of the fastest growing areas for the video gaming industry, with an estimated shared revenue of US $3 billion in 2017.

The region is also adopting and utilising blockchain based applications, including FinTech. The UAE launched its Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 in April 2018 with an aim to get 50% of the UAE government transactions into a blockchain platform by 2021 thus saving AED 11 billion in transactions and routinely processed documents, 398 million printed documents annually and 77 million work hours annually. Earlier this year, Bahrain opened its FinTech Bay – a hub to bring together new entrants and industry leaders to create opportunities in this space. To complement this new hub, the Central Bank of Bahrain also launched a regulatory sandbox, creating a safe environment for companies to test their innovative products and services.
Data, and how it is used, has been a focus for countries across the world in the last year in light of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and the Middle East is no different. Bahrain has announced new data protection laws, which will come into force in August next year. This law changes how businesses process personal data and is an important step forward in modernising the GCC member states’ approach to how data is handled and processed.

Elsewhere, more legislative progress, as the UAE’s new arbitration law recently came into force. This long-awaited legislation, aligned with international standards, creating a more stable and reliable framework for arbitration in the region. This new legislation should help secure the UAE’s position on the global stage as a go-to seat for international arbitration – a positive step forward.

All of these developments – be it on the legislative level, or more broadly, require expert legal advice for businesses to be able to actively capitalise on the changing market conditions or to adapt to new laws. The role of the in-house lawyer has never been more vital and is certainly evolving. No longer just a sage counsel, these individuals and teams are expected to provide strategic insight – they are at the very heart of the business. At Al Tamimi & Co we see first-hand the huge contribution these in-house legal teams make to growing businesses in the region and I am thrilled to congratulate all of those who appear in this year’s Middle East GC Powerlist.

GC Powerlist: Mexico 2023

The GC Powerlist event in Mexico City 2023 celebrated the remarkable GCs of Mexico, recognising their commitment, hard work, and innovative drive in the legal profession. In-depth interviews previously conducted by The Legal 500 revealed a strong GC focus on ESG, Diversity and Inclusion, and nearshoring. Furthermore, they highlighted how essential teamwork is for the legal departments to achieve the best outcomes.  The event took place at the Ritz Carlton, overlooking the stunning castle of Chapultepec.  GCs were awarded for their exceptional dedication to integrating strong ethical principles, fostering diversity, and implementing strategies within their organisations. The atmosphere at the GC Powerlist event was buzzing with lively discussions with passionate GCs engaged in dynamic conversations. The excitement was palpable as attendees shared their experiences, insights, and innovative approaches to the evolving legal landscape. The vibrant interactions and animated debates showcased the shared commitment of the GCs to push the boundaries of legal practice and adapt to the ever-changing demands of their roles.

Conversations flowed seamlessly, driven by dedication and eagerness to learn from one another. The diverse range of perspectives and the breadth of expertise in the room sparked intense discussions on critical topics, from ESG integration and diversity initiatives to the nuances of nearshoring strategies. The atmosphere was not only charged with intellectual fervor but also infused with a genuine desire to shape a more inclusive, sustainable, and efficient legal ecosystem.

A warm thank you to Creel, our sponsor, who made this brilliant event possible.