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2016 Construction Week Power 100: 11-20

Construction Week's annual ranking of the most influential people in the Middle East's construction industry

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11. Ali Al-Khalifa, CEO, Astad Project management

As CEO of ASTAD Project Management, Ali Al-Khalifa’s hands have certainly been full during the past 12 months. In 2015, his firm delivered the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena and Lusail Sports Arena, the first stadiums in Qatar to receive four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) ratings.

In addition, ASTAD managed and delivered the Qatar Foundation (QF) Headquarters, which hosts the offices of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and other senior management from the nonprofit organisation; and the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), a building designed to communicate and impart Islamic values and education in a modern and progressive setting.

During the coming 12 months, ASTAD will continue to support the delivery of the Hamad Bin Khalifa Sports Complex, the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Sidra Medical Research Center, the National Museum of Qatar, and many others.

Al-Khalifa and his team also plan to pursue geographical and sectoral expansion. He told Construction Week: “I am pleased to announce the establishment of ASTAD International and ASTAD Consult, [which] will play a crucial role in future operations, furthering our vision to provide superior services across the globe. ASTAD International will act as our global arm, while ASTAD Consult will be home to new services covering the fields of construction management and supervision, design consultancy, facilities management (FM), asset management, and staff augmentation.”

12. David Barwell, Middle East CEO, AECOM

These have been a significant 12 months for David Barwell and his team within the context of Aecom’s Middle East operations. Last year, the consultancy marked its first half century in the UAE, having arrived in Abu Dhabi in 1965.

At a global level, the group achieved an annual revenue of around $18bn during its 2015 financial year. Aecom, which scooped the Consultant of the Year prize at the Construction Week Awards 2015, boasts clients in more than 150 countries around the world.

Between June 2015 and May 2016, the company completed contracts at Taweelah Aluminium Extrusion (TALEX), and Etihad Rail Stage 1 in the UAE. In Bahrain, Aecom fulfilled its project management and client representation responsibilities at the Dragon City Mall development.

In Saudi Arabia, the firm concluded works related to Phase 1 of Jeddah’s Stormwater Drainage Programme, and its pre-programme management activities at Jeddah Metro.

During the coming year, Barwell’s team will continue to support a range of GCC projects, including Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC), Bahrain’s Diyar Al Muharraq development, and Qatar’s Hamad Port.

13. Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Development Officer, Aldar

As chief development officer of Aldar, Talal Al Dhiyebi has enjoyed a promising start to the year. The firm achieved a Q1 2016 net profit of $178m (AED654m), 15% up on the equivalent period of last year. Aldar’s Q1 gross profit, meanwhile, saw a 10% year-on-year jump – up from $100m (AED368m) in the first three months of 2015 to $109m (AED403m).

Revenue across the group grew by around 4% in Q1 2016, reaching $326m (AED1.2bn), compared to the $321m (AED1.18bn) achieved during the same period of last year. Al Dhiyebi and his colleagues attributed Aldar’s impressive financials to solid off-plan sales across its portfolio. The developer sold 320 units, worth $225m (AED940m) in off-plan development sales, in Q1 2016. These transactions included 188 units, worth $88.2m (AED324m), which predominantly related to Aldar’s Mayan, Meera, and Al Nareel projects.

In April 2016, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered developer also announced the launch of Yas Acres, a $1.6bn (AED6bn) golf and waterfront development on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, which will feature 1,315 villas and townhouses.

14. Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman, Nakheel

Ali Rashid Lootah and his colleagues at Nakheel have certainly enjoyed a healthy start to the year. The UAE-based developer achieved a net profit of $400m (AED1.47bn) in Q1 2016, 8% higher than the $367m (AED1.35bn) achieved during the corresponding period of last year.

Nakheel handed over 536 units that it had completed to customers during the first three months of 2016, with its retail, residential leasing, and hospitality businesses all registering a strong performance.

During the same period, Lootah’s team also opened Dragon Mart 2, almost doubling the size of the developer’s Dragon Mart mall complex to 204,368 sqm.

Commenting on Nakheel’s Q1 2016 performance, Lootah noted: “Our first quarter results are very encouraging and reflect investor confidence in Dubai and its real estate sector. We remain confident and will continue to execute our business plan, in turn contributing positively to Dubai’s real estate sector in line with the government’s 2021 Vision.”

Projects are also under construction at Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah, Deira Islands, Jumeirah Village, and Warsan Village developments.

15. Osama Bishai, CEO, Orascom Construction


Osama Bishai and his colleagues at Orascom Construction have certainly enjoyed a positive start to the year. In Q1 2016, the company returned to profitability, reporting blended earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of $48.8m, and net income of $23m.


In Egypt, the company is working across several large-scale infrastructure projects, including the New Capital and Burullus power plants – both of which are being conducted on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and finance basis. Upon completion, the facilities will become the largest natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plants in the world, with a capacity of 4,800MW.

In March 2016, Orascom announced that it had won three contracts worth $200m in Algeria and Egypt. Bishai’s firm also bagged two contracts on Cairo Metro Line III worth more than $300m in May.


16. Sheikh Ali Bin Hamad Al Thani, Chairman, HBK Contracting

As chairman of HBK Contracting, Sheikh Ali Bin Hamad Al Thani is head of one of the largest civil construction outfits in Qatar.

With roots stretching back to 1970, the contractor has completed numerous high-profile projects for clients including Qatar’s Public Works Authority, Ashghal, Qatar Rail, Qatar Petroleum (QP), Msheireb Properties, and Kahramaa. The company has also supported construction at the Doha New Port Project.

The company’s ongoing projects include substructure and basement works at the $53m (QAR193m) Lusail Katara Towers, the construction of the $634m (QAR2.31bn) Mega Reservoir PRPS 2 Umm Slal, and the design and construction of lateral interceptor sewers for a $160m (QAR582.6m) Ashghal project.

Sheikh Ali’s team is also continuing to support the development of Doha Metro on behalf of client Qatar Rail. HBK is currently working on a design-and-build (D&B) contract for Package 4 of the metro system’s Green Line, which includes underground works from the planned Msheireb Station to Al Rayyan Stadium. The value of this project is almost $2.5bn (QAR9bn).

Elsewhere for Qatar Rail, the contractor has been enlisted to conduct enabling works for the Qatar Railway Project (Q-Rail), which will ultimately form part of the region-wide GCC Railway Network.

17. Stephen Flint, Group General Manager, Khansaheb

As group general manager at Khansaheb, Stephen Flint is responsible for a regional cohort of around 6,500 construction professionals.

Over the past 12 months, in the UAE Khansaheb has completed contracts for the redevelopment of the Mall of the Emirates, and Dubai World Trade Centre’s (DWTC) exhibition halls.

During the course of the coming year, the contractor will continue to support the Mall of the Emirates redevelopment. It will also help to build Ajman Mall on behalf of Majed Al Futtaim, DoubleTree by Hilton in Business Bay, Serenia Residences on Palm Jumeirah, and a selection of roads and infrastructure projects.

In addition, Flint will continue to focus on staff development. The Khansaheb Skills Training Centre has been used to train and upskill approximately 3,500 skilled operatives, according to the group general manager, who told Construction Week that workforce investments offer his company a competitive edge.

“Upskilling our workforce, training our frontline supervisors and our middle managers, improves our business performance and helps us to attract and retain good people,” explained Flint.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) also represents an important part of Khansaheb’s operations, both in the GCC and on the international stage. Examples of the contractor’s CSR activities include the reconstruction of a school in Nepal, the reconstruction of Manzil School in Sharjah, and Operation Smile UAE.

“Khansaheb Employee Foundation is undertaking charitable work across Dubai and the wider Emirates. [Furthermore, it is] supporting good causes worldwide,” he noted.

At a strategic level, Flint told CW that Dubai’s Expo 2020 represents Khansaheb’s biggest opportunity and challenge.

“The drive to ensure that Dubai is ready to host Expo 2020 will be our biggest opportunity,” he said.

“[In turn], our biggest challenge will be to [account for] the impact of this construction work on Khansaheb’s skilled resources in the UAE,” concluded Flint.

18. Tom Bower, Managing Director – Middle East, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Tom Bower, managing director for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Middle East operations, has climbed three places from his position on Construction Week’s 2015 Power 100.

In the GCC, Bower’s team has helped deliver – and continues to support – a range of large-scale projects, including Dubai Metro, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, and Zayed National Museum in the UAE; Ras Laffan C Independent Water & Power Plant, Contract 1 – Orbital Highway, and Lekhwiya Handball Arena in Qatar; Kempinski Hotel, Barka Development, and Saraya Bandar Jissah in Oman; Rabigh Power Plant 2, Makkah Public Transport Programme, and Jeddah Corniche Tower in Saudi Arabia; and First Ring Road, South Surra, interchanges and elevated U-turns at Nawaseeb Road, and Sabiya Power Station in Kuwait.

In its 2015 financial year, the Canada-headquartered consultancy achieved an estimated net revenue of $1.16bn (CAD1.5bn). The estimated percentage of the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) is 11.2% during the same period.

As has been the case for many local construction outfits, Bower and his colleagues have had to streamline the consultancy’s Middle East activities during the past 12 months, cutting 150 jobs since 2015. Nevertheless, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff boasts a regional cohort of more than 1,200 professionals, 953 of whom are qualified engineers.

Commenting on his company’s regional opportunities, Bower told CW: “The Middle East is an incredibly exciting and rapidly developing area to work in. There is a constant drive forward on significant projects, and this is now underpinned by the need for the GCC to be ready for both the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s biggest opportunity [in the Middle East] is to ensure that it is selected for a range of these projects, as well as continuing to support our many clients on the existing work that they are doing,” added Bower.

19. Patrick McKinney, Managing Director, BAM International

Patrick McKinney has enjoyed a busy 12 months at the helm of BAM International, part of Netherlands-headquartered Royal BAM Group. During 2015, the company achieved net revenues of $8.4bn (EUR7.42bn), 1% of which was profit. The group expects to secure revenues of almost $11.5bn (EUR13bn) during the current financial year.

Over the course of the past year, the Dutch contracting giant has completed works at two large-scale projects in the UAE.

McKinney’s team worked as the main contractor for Phase 3 of Abu Dhabi’s Al Dabbiya oil field. BAM’s scope of work for five offshore clusters comprised channel dredging, reclamation works, construction of a causeway, shore protection, and the construction of pontoons, fences, and a heliport. The contract also involved the construction of a separate offshore cluster, which featured a boat quay, a pontoon, and a heliport.

In neighbouring Dubai, BAM also worked on Phase 1 of Jebel Ali Container Terminal 4. The company was responsible for the desgin and construction of access trestles, two concrete loading platforms, and 20 mooring and breasting dolphins for two berths. The project involved dredging operations, shore-protection activities, and the installation of navigational aids, a dynamic mooring system, and heavy lifts.

During the coming 12 months, McKinney and his colleagues will continue to support a selection of other large-scale developments in the Emirates, including Phases 1B and 2 of Jebel Ali Container Terminal 4, Phase 2 of the Al Ain Stadium and Mixed-Use Development, and the Hamriyah Breakwater Port Project in Sharjah.

McKinney said that BAM’s biggest opportunity in the Middle East over the next year will be to secure additional contracts from its existing clients.

“[BAM will work to win] repeat business with its clients DP World, aafaq Islamic Finance, and Aldar in the UAE, and ADC-Aqaba Developement Corporation in Jordan,” he noted, adding that the biggest challenge will be to deal with the slowdown in the oil and gas sector, which is affecting the near-shore marine works market.

20. Simon Moon, Middle East CEO, Atkins

In terms of finances, Simon Moon and his colleagues have enjoyed an impressive 12 months in the Middle East. At a global level, the UK-headquartered consultancy achieved group revenues of $2.54bn during the 2014/15 financial year – a 0.4% increase compared to the previous year. In the Middle East, Moon’s team secured revenues of $312.15m, almost 30% up on the figure achieved during 2013/14.

This year is also looking promising for Atkins, from both global and regional perspectives. Group revenues were up 8.8% to $1.3bn as of 30 September, 2016 – the firm’s half-year point for 2015/16. Its Middle East revenues climbed 23.8% to $170.6m during the same period.

In Q1 2016, Atkins took the decision to streamline its operations, laying off 100 staff across its Middle East property and infrastructure divisions. Nevertheless, Moon told Construction Week that the firm’s Middle East workforce has grown 5.4%, year on year. At present, Atkins employs 2,557 members of staff in the region, 950 of whom are qualified engineers.

During the past 12 months, Atkins has completed its contract at Iris Bay Tower in Dubai. This year, it will continue to support GCC projects including the UAE’s Dubai Opera, Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro, Oman’s Port Sultan Qaboos Redevelopment, and Qatar’s Doha Metro.

At a strategic level, Atkins will continue to embrace technology in the Middle East, according to Moon. He told CW: “We’re especially excited by the potential of digital engineering to help our clients deliver more efficient, better quality projects that really meet their end goals and support sustainable, prosperous cities of the future.”

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