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Construction Week Power 100: 1-10

CW's inaugural list of the GCC's most powerful people in construction

Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties
Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties
Ayman Hariri, Deputy general manager Saudi Oger
Ayman Hariri, Deputy general manager Saudi Oger
Bakr bin Laden, Chairman Saudi Binladin Group
Bakr bin Laden, Chairman Saudi Binladin Group
Riad Kamal Arabtec Construction LLC Chairman and founder of Arabtec Construction LLC, CEO of Arabtec Holding.
Riad Kamal Arabtec Construction LLC Chairman and founder of Arabtec Construction LLC, CEO of Arabtec Holding.
Zuhair Hamed Fayez  Principal, Founder, ZFP Consultants
Zuhair Hamed Fayez Principal, Founder, ZFP Consultants
Mohannad Sweid CEO, Depa
Mohannad Sweid CEO, Depa
Adnan Al-Mubarak General manager  Black Cat Engineering & Construction
Adnan Al-Mubarak General manager Black Cat Engineering & Construction
Sultan Al Jaber CEO , Masdar
Sultan Al Jaber CEO , Masdar


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

1. Mohammed Alabbar Chairman of Emaar Properties

As chairman of one of the GCC’s most successful development firms, Mohammed Alabbar tops CW’s power list. With his leadership, the company has delivered two of the most iconic construction projects on the global stage – the Burj Khalifa and the first ever Armani hotel – within six months of each other. What’s more, it is under Alabbar’s influence that the company has managed to turn a loss of AED 1.28 billion in Q2 of 2009 into a profit of AED 802 million in Q2 of 2010 – bringing the firm back from harder days.

Committed, enthusiastic and hard-working, Alabbar began his career with an undergraduate degree in Finance and Business Administration from The Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University in 1981. He later received an honorary doctoral degree in humanities from alma mater in 2007, and spoke at a number of international forums, representing the UAE several times at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Alabbar has, in recent years, become a major figure globally, and is widely seen as one of the few ‘stars’ who have continued to shine in Dubai, despite the financial crisis. He is largely credited with not just building up Emaar into a world class property developer, but crucially, expanding the company into many different areas, long before the downturn started to take hold. He talks freely and comfortably about the various different sectors and achievements. But at
heart, he will always be a property developer.

He has been a key driving force for Emaar’s expansion into new markets; key construction contracts having been awarded to the firm in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for Emaar’s integrated community developments. Several of these projects are expected to be handed over this year, including homes in Egypt; and commercial offices in Syria, at The Eighth Gate development.

As well as chairing Emaar Properties, Alabbar has also had roles in other organisations, giving him a significant influence across different sectors. As vice chairman of Dubai Aluminium Company (DUBAL) from 1992 until 2003 for example, he has contributed to the growth of Dubai’s non-oil sectors, whilst as chairman of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 1992 until 2002, he has also helped develop Dubai into a regional hub for conferences and exhibitions.

Next: Ayman Hariri, Saudi Oger


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

2. Ayman Hariri
Deputy general manager
Saudi Oger

Ayman Hariri is the Deputy General Manager and member of the Board of Directors of Saudi Oger Ltd; also a Board member of 3C, a South African mobile telecom operator.

Ayman Hariri is known for being one of the rare chief executives who combines a deep, hands-on knowledge of complex technology concepts with an impressive history of entrepreneurial success.

Currently, he is handling the construction and facilities management of mega projects in Saudi Arabia, such as the development of the iconic King Abdul Aziz Centre for World Culture in the Eastern Province; King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh; the development of King Abdullah Road in Riyadh and many others.

His direct involvement and dedication also helped in the execution and handing over of the state-of-the art Academic & Administration Buildings of “King Abdullah University of Science and Technology”, in Thuwal in record time.

In 2009 and 2010, the Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine announced Ayman Hariri as one of the world’s 100 most influential Arabs in their annual “Power 100” list; whilst Hariri was also ranked #6 in the CEO Middle East’s list of the Arab world’s most influential leaders in property.

The company he leads was first incorporated in 1978 as a construction outfit. Since then it has added facilities management, telecommunications and utilities to its business activities.

Among the company’s current projects is the as Princess Noura Bint Abdularahman University for Women in Riyadh. This facility has been designed to accommodate more than 40,000 female students. Saudi Oger is executing package 1 of the project, which consists of a series of colleges, schools, administrative buildings, housing facilities, a medical research centre and a hospital, in addition to multiple support facilities spread across the campus, all over an approximate built up area of 1,000,000m2.

Other projects on the books include the first phase of King Abdullah Road in Riyadh and the Jabal Omar Project in Makkah. In addition, the company is building two towers in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District, plus delivering Le Meridien Towers in Makkah and building residences in the King Abdullah Economic City.

Also under Hariri’s leadership, the firm is working with the Saudi Oger Training Institute in Riyadh to train and develop young people in KSA so that they can look to secure specialist work. A second training institute, for girls, is under development.

Next: Bakr bin Laden, Saudi Binladin Group


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

3. Bakr bin Laden
Saudi Binladin Group

Bakr bin Laden heads one of the world’s largest construction dynasties, the Saudi Binladin Group. The massive construction firm has subsidiaries across the region including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE.

Bakr is the second son of Mohammed Bin Laden, the company’s founder. He took over running the family firm after the death of Salem, Mohammed’s eldest son, in 1988. He is one of thirteen of Mohammed’s sons who sit on the board of the company.

SBG started its growth when it was entrusted by the royal court with the task of expanding Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina. It has also built several palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah for the royal family and carried out restoration work following an arson attack on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969.

It is involved with some of Saudi Arabia’s major infrastructure and real estate projects including the North-South railway project, the King Abdullah Economic City, Abraj Al Bait residential scheme in Mecca and the Jabal Omar scheme in Mecca. It is also at work on the King Abdullah Financial District, where it is building four of the first ten towers in the emerging development. The company is going to great lengths to recycle as much material as possible at the site, as it works toward achieving a high Leed rating for its work. Away from construction, the firm acts as a developer on a number of projects.

In recent years SBG has smartly spread itself across a wide geography. The privately-held group, which currently has assets under management of around US$300m, has begun to look outside of the Middle East and North Africa for growth.
China in particular is on the company’s radar, and firm steps have been made to establish ties with key Chinese companies and government initiatives — moves that are likely to boost the group’s bottom line in the medium and long-term.

In 2005, SBG received two IRF Global Road Achievement awards for their Al Qassim-Al Madinah-Yanbu-Rabigh Expressway project, in the categories of Construction Methodology and Innovative Finance.

Next: Riad Kamal, Arabtec Construction LLC


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

4. Riad Kamal
Chairman and founder of Arabtec Construction LLC, CEO of Arabtec Holding
Arabtec Construction LLC

Palestinian-born Riad Kamal came to the Middle East region in 1974 with a BSc in civil engineering from the Imperial College of London University, and an MSc from the same college in structural engineering.

He began his civil engineering and construction career in London in 1966, and, following just a year of design, went on to work on construction projects in Jordan, the rest of the UK and Spain for Tarmac and Sir Robert McAlpine.

It was only a year after his arrival in the Middle East that Kamal set up his own construction firm in Dubai, Arabtec Construction LLC. Under Kamal’s authority, the company has been responsible for building some of the most architecturally significant buildings in the region, not to mention the world’s highest man-made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa.

In addition, and thanks to Kamal’s hard work and dedication, the company is now the biggest construction firm in the United Arab Emirates, with 60,000 multi-national staff and an impressive portfolio of major construction projects in all sectors of real estate and infrastructure. Having endured a hard-hitting recession and a number of late-payment problems, the company is now looking forward to winning new contracts across a range of developing, geographical markets, including Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria and Palestine, in addition to places such as Azerbaijan, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon and Turkmenistan.

Though Kamal has stepped down from the role of CEO of the company he founded, he remains chairman, as well as being the CEO of subsidiary firm Arabtec Holdings.

"We are very excited about our new project in Syria. Our first project, the 8th Gate for
Emaar-Syria Invest Group Overseas (IGO) is almost complete,
and we are targeting this market aggressively,"

Riad Kamal on being awarded a
US$120m-contract to build a 5-star hotel in Syria.

Next: Zuhair Hamed Fayez, ZFP Consultants


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

5. Zuhair Hamed Fayez
Principal, Founder
ZFP Consultants

With eight branches in Saudi Arabia and projects all over the Middle East, ZFP Consultants are one of the biggest and best known consultancies in KSA, with over 300 architects and 3,000 staff. Founded by Zuhair Hamed Fayez in Jeddah in 1975, ZFP is now the number one partner for foreign firms working in the kingdom and recently bagged a contract to develop more than a dozen new Saudi universities.

As principal of ZFP, Fayez has been in a position to hire rather than fire staff during the financial crisis, diversify into MEP and engineering, and position the firm as one of the first Saudi Arabian companies to employ and train female architects. Not content with a slew of projects within KSA, Fayez has recently opened offices in Cairo, Hyderabad, Dubai and Manila.

ZFP Consultants also has specialist skills for medical and educational projects. One of the firm’s key medical projects is the Emergency Medical Institute in Riyadh, a development with a total built up area of 83,000m2 and a site area of 50,000m2. It was divided into four main parts with a range of academic facilities.

Next: Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al-Shaya, Mabanee


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

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6. Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al-Shaya
Chairman and managing director

Al-Shaya is without a doubt one of the big names in Kuwait, with an eye for major projects. He oversees a company prominent in both real estate and the main- and sub-contracting sides of construction, from the manufacture and erection of pre-cast buildings, construction work, installation of sanitary utilities as well as mechanical-electrical work. The firm’s business line in facilities management is also substantial.

Meanwhile, Al-Shaya has stakes in two associated companies: Al Rai Logistica KSC, whose activity includes construction and management of warehousing facilities; and Injaz Real Estate Building Company WLL. His crown jewel is The Avenues, Kuwait’s biggest shopping mall, still undergoing expansion, that has transformed shopping in the country. It is now into its third phase of expansion and will include two hotels and a state-of-the-art business centre. For the first six months of this year Al-Shaya delivered higher net profits against the same period in 2009 – a rarity in today’s climate – boosting earnings per share for stakeholders.

“Mabanee has succeeded in overcoming many of the challenges posed by
the global financial crisis and its repercussions
on the local and regional economy.”

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al-Shaya

Next: Mohannad Sweid, Depa


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

7. Mohannad Sweid

Mohannad Sweid is the CEO and co-founder of interior contracting powerhouse, Depa. In 2006, Sweid spearheaded Depa’s expansion into several new markets and oversaw the acquisition of leading interior contracting and furniture manufacturing companies. Sweid’s vision and leadership has helped cement Depa’s position as one of the world’s largest interior contracting companies. In August, Depa acquired the Singapore-based product and fit-out interiors specialist company, Design Studio, upping its stake in the firm from 24.7% to 90.5%, in a deal that values Design Studio at AED 449 million.

“This acquisition is another key element in our long-term diversification plan, giving us greater exposure to the south-east Asian markets, where we see significant opportunities. The complementary fit between our interior contracting business and Design Studio’s expanding business will allow us to further win and deliver new projects in the Far East. Design Studio has a strong order book and pipeline of new projects,” noted Sweid, who has over 25 years experience managing top consulting and architectural companies in the Middle East and USA.

Next: Khaled Musaed Al Seif, El Seif Engineering Contracting


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

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8. Khaled Musaed Al Seif
El Seif Engineering Contracting

Khaled Musaed Al Seif heads up another of the massive contracting companies that dominate the Saudi Arabian construction industry.

As such he is a prominent businessman within the Kingdom and has been active in a host of committees, councils and delegations to promote international trade.

His work has included stints on the Saudi Committee for the Development of International Trade (SCDIT) at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Saudi-British Joint Business Council, Arab-British Chamber of Commerce in London, among others. As well as steering the future growth of El Seif Group, he serves on boards for a selection of Saudi and international companies.

A long running family business, El Seif Engineering Contracting has been built into one of the top construction companies in Saudi Arabia. Operating since the 1950s, when it started out in the commerce and transport sectors, the company expanded into general contracting in the 1970s.

Under Al Seif’s leadership the company has grown to have more than 15,000 employees and secured high-profile project work, including packages on the Princess Noura Bint Abdulrahman University for Women. Other significant projects have included Kingdom Tower. Growing resources, expanding activities and increasing involvement in regional property development, means the company’s role as an instrument in the region’s progress is becoming increasingly significant.

“El Seif Engineering Contracting continues to grow
as a leading force in the regional
construction industry.”

Khaled Musaed Al Seif

Next: Adnan Al-Mubarak, Black Cat Engineering


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

9. Adnan Al-Mubarak
General manager
Black Cat Engineering & Construction

Iraq-born Al-Mubarak secures a place in the Power 100 by driving Black Cat Engineering & Construction to become the dominant oil and gas contractor in Qatar. Baghdad and UK educated, Al-Mubarak rose through the ranks at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries – including a role as head of the planning section – after a spell at ADNOC. Continuous contract wins today means he oversees an operation pulling in a QR450 million turnover, a staggering growth from the QR40 million in 2007 when he took the helm.

So successful is his work on refineries and other projects that the division is now firmly focused on winning mandates in all types of civil engineering. This year, he will look to realise his ambitions for the company by the potential establishment of a firm in Abu Dhabi, along with investments in India and an additional venture in his home country.

“Trust is a massive issue in Qatar, so once you have fostered that
sort of relationship with companies here then life becomes
much easier when the big contracts come up.”


Next: Sultan Al Jaber, Masdar


1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-7071-80 | 81-90 | 91-100

> The Power 100 Full List

10. Sultan Al Jaber

Thanks to the success of the World Future Energy Summit and the publicity associated with all things Masdar, Sultan Al Jaber has become a name known around the world.Established by the government of Abu Dhabi in 2006, Masdar is hailed as a renewable energy initiative dedicated to developing and deploying sustainable energy solutions across global markets.

The attention attracted by Masdar’s ambitious plans have seen Al Jaber take on a number of advisory positions, offering thoughts on issues such as sustainability, climate change, and energy challenges.

He led Masdar’s participation in the UAE’s successful bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Masdar City. He is now the director general of the IRENA UAE Liaison. In 2009 Al Jaber was elected to the UN advisory group on energy and climate change.

Al Jaber is also a senior advisor to the Mubadala Development Company, and chairman of the ADPC. He also serves on the boards of ALDAR, Advanced Technology Investment Company and the Young Arab Leaders Organization.
He holds a PhD in Economics, as well as an MBA and a BSc in Chemical Engineering.

“We will make alternative energy commercially viable and
offer it to the world. The UAE has the third-largest oil reserves
in the world. But that does not mean oil and gas will be there forever.”

Sultan Al Jaber

Next: Said T Khoury, Consolidated Contractors Company

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