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Construction Week Power 100: 21-30

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

Power 100, SPECIAL REPORTS
Fatima Obaid Al Jaber,  Chief Operating Officer, Al Jaber Group
Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, Chief Operating Officer, Al Jaber Group
Youssef bin Rashed Al Khater , CEO Barwa Real Estate
Youssef bin Rashed Al Khater , CEO Barwa Real Estate
Phillipe Dessoy,  General  manager, BESIX
Phillipe Dessoy, General manager, BESIX
Mishal Kanoo, Deputy chairman Kanoo Group
Mishal Kanoo, Deputy chairman Kanoo Group
Paul Bishop,  Owner ,Bishop Design Associates
Paul Bishop, Owner ,Bishop Design Associates
Wael Allan,  Regional MD, Hyder Consulting Middle East
Wael Allan, Regional MD, Hyder Consulting Middle East
Kez Taylor, Managing director ALEC
Kez Taylor, Managing director ALEC
Laurie Voyer, Managing director,  Al Habtoor Leighton Group
Laurie Voyer, Managing director, Al Habtoor Leighton Group
Power 100, SPECIAL REPORTS

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

21. PNC Menon Chairman Sobha Developers

As founder and head of Sobha Developers, PNC Menon is one of the biggest players in both the Omani and Indian construction markets with a combined wealth that totals $1.25 billion.

Born in Kerala, Menon migrated to Oman in 1976 to launch an interior decorating business with a partner. He started Sobha Developers in 1995 and since forged the company into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Today Sobha is one of the largest companies in the Oman and Indian construction industries. The company completed 47 residential projects, 13 commercial projects and 166 contractual projects covering about 3.3 million square metres in 18 cities across India.

With 21 ongoing residential projects at present, its portfolio includes projects for clients like Infosys Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Dell, the Taj Group, Mico, Timken and others. Residential projects include premium apartments, villas and houses with additional amenities like club houses, shopping centres and swimming pools.

The company has offices throughout India, as well as operations in the UAE and Oman. Menon retains an 87% stake in the company that has made him a billionaire while his son Ravi, an engineer who gained his qualifications from Purdue University, is vice chairman.

Next: Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, Al Jaber Group

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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> The Power 100 Full List

22. Fatima Obaid Al Jaber
Chief Operating Officer, Al Jaber Group

Fatima Obaid Al Jaber is the Chief Operating Officer of the Abu Dhabi-based multi-billion dirham and massively successful construction giant, the Al Jaber Group, (sitting on the board of directors as an executive director). She is also an inspirational role model for young women, and the first Emirati woman to be elected to the board of directors of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce. As a result of her hard work and dedication, last year, Al Jaber won the Arabian World Construction Summit’s Industry Personality of the Year award and the Arabian Business nomination for Businesswoman of the Year.

Recognised and admired in the region for executing some of the industry’s most iconic projects, she was also voted as the seventh most influential woman in the region by Forbes Arabia in 2007 and one of the most influential businesswomen in the Arab world by MEED in 2008. After graduating from the UAE University in Al Ain in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering, she went on to work with the Abu Dhabi Government in various technical and managerial positions until 2005.

In 2009, she lectured budding female engineers at the Al Hosn University in Abu Dhabi, providing inspiration to the next generation of Emirati women.

“I have never evaluated people on their gender, only on
their capabilities. Believing in your
abilities is a very key issue.”

Fatima Obaid Al Jaber

Next: Youssef bin Rashed Al Khater, Barwa Real Estate

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

23. Youssef bin Rashed Al Khater
CEO
Barwa Real Estate

Much of the buzz around the development of the Qatari capital is linked to the ambitious plans of Barwa Real Estate, and Youssef Al Khater has been the fulcrum for growth and the realisation of its mega projects. As other developers posted steep falls in revenue this year, Al-Khater’s company saw net profits grow 33% on the previous year, bolstered by a 52% increase of sales to more than QR133 million.

Building on existing strength, Al Khater, was also one of the architects for the merger with Qatar Real Estate Investment Company and the takeover of all its shares in the second quarter. At the same time he has kept projects on track, not least the development of Barwa City – the construction projects are now worth QR19 billion.

Just over a year into his role, his influence extends to being a member of the Qatar Government’s Advisory Council, Arab Countries Interim Parliament and International Parliament Union and brings over 20 years of experience in management and project control with roles at such as Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and TOTAL.

“Financial results recorded during the first
half of 2010 show the increasingly
improving performance of the company."

Youssef Bin Rashed Al Khater

Next: Phillipe Dessoy, BESIX

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

24. Phillipe Dessoy
General manager, BESIX

Dessoy has helped spur BESIX into becoming one of the most competitive foreign firms in the region. Big contract wins in the last few years has helped grow the firm’s reputation, as both a single main contractor and within a joint venture. The latter includes work on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure, an AED500 million deal with Arabtec to build the Downtown Burj Dubai residential towers, and winning the $797 million contract to build the Doha Convention Centre with Midmac in 2009, beating off Hyundai and another joint venture.

This year, the projects keep getting bigger, and he helped the company secure the $265 million contract to build Bahrain’s North Manama Causeway. He is also a man of bold decisions too, and the most creative and innovative piece of engineering that was undertaken during the construction of the Burj Khalifa was the controversy-courting spire that went on top. Through customary good teamwork with other engineers, in this case from Samsung, the challenge was overcome.

Next: Mishal Kanoo, Kanoo Group

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

25. Mishal Kanoo
Deputy chairman
Kanoo Group

The Kanoo Group is one of the largest independent, family owned group of companies in the GCC, with its roots established in Bahrain in 1890. Its deputy chairman, Mishal Kanoo, is one of the most well-known business men in the region, with wide-reaching interests.

Over the years his company has diversified from its early days as a shipping and trading firm, to one with interests in shipping, travel, holidays, machinery, oil and gas, power and industrial projects, exhibition services, courier services, logistics and specialty chemicals. The company also operates business centres and other retail and commercial properties.

“It is still construction. There are different types…
all of these require steel fabrication. What
we have done is added a new dimension into it.”

Mishal Kanoo

Next: Paul Bishop, Bishop Design Associates

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

26. Paul Bishop
Owner
Bishop Design Associates

Paul Bishop founded the Dubai-headquartered Bishop Design Associates in 2004. The company currently employs 16 people and in spite of its relatively small size, has been involved in some of Dubai’s most prominent projects. These include a refurbishment and redesign of The Fairmont Dubai, which covered all rooms, suites, penthouses and food and beverage venues.

Bishop was also responsible for designing all food and beverage venues for Wafi Hospitality in Dubai. In spite of its regional roots, Bishop Design Associates is recognised for creating innovative, forward-thinking, dynamic design schemes of an international standard. The company was named Interior Design Firm of the Year at the 2009 CID Awards.

In spite of the challenging market conditions of recent years, Bishop Design Associates has continued to take on interesting and diverse projects, ranging from a Sikh temple currently under construction in Jebel Ali to the Middle East roll-out of all Fauchon Paris venues. The firm’s success lies in a high level of repeat business, a result of the close relationships that Bishop cultivates with his clients.

“Because we are a boutique practise, we have always been very flexible with our clients. If we hadn’t been flexible, we wouldn’t have the relationships that we have with them, and we wouldn’t be doing the work that we do,” Bishop said.

“Because we are a boutique practise,
we have always been very flexible with our clients.”

Paul Bishop

Next: Wael Allan, Hyder Consulting

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

27. Wael Allan
Regional MD, Hyder Consulting
Middle East

Allan joined Hyder as recently as April 2009, which he admits “was an interesting time to start when things were slowing down and the whole world economy was in doubt.” But he is no stranger to a challenge. A chartered scientist and engineer with more than 20 years’ experience – in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and process engineering – his main background is in multinational business management.

“I have worked in a number of countries, starting with the UK and Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland. I moved to the Far East for a while, working in China and Japan, and then I ended up in the US for ten years. Being an Arab speaker, I was always very keen to come to the region and actually work here, and Hyder offered me a golden opportunity to do so,” says Allan.

Fluent in Arabic, Allan lived in Saudi Arabia at the age of four, which he says instilled an appreciation of the country from this early age, culminating in a deep understanding of “the way business is done there.”

“We really do not see the Middle East as very different to
any other market. Each market has its distinctive
local flavour, but as a multinational we are familiar
with dealing with different types of
projects in different environments.”

Wael Allan

Next: Kez Taylor, ALEC

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

28. Kez Taylor
Managing director
ALEC

Keiron Taylor has built the building side of Al Jaber, known as ALEC, into one of the most respected contractors in the UAE. Eight years after its first contract award, the company is worth US $1 billion, and the subsidiaries created under his stewardship – in MEP work, fit-out, ceilings and partitions and architectural precast, among others – have contributed to an enviable end-to-end proposition.

His philosophy on subsidiaries, such as with the MEP business, is remarkable: if there isn’t the right company out there, build one yourself. He is also in the firm believer in working with subsidiaries that have their own projects unconnected with the company, boosting overall experience and capability.

This year the standout project has been the expansion of Dubai International Airport, a US $4.5 billion contract for the third concourse. The company also has its fingerprints on Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai Marina mall, Mirdif City Centre. An open, modest man, 2010 has been a big year and an overall template for fast-growing contractors.

“You’ve got to diversify and you’ve got to
look at expanding geographically. I think
it would be quite difficult to grow and
just focus on this market in the current scenario.”

Kez Taylor

Next: Laurie Voyer, Al Habtoor Leighton Group

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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

> The Power 100 Full List

29. Laurie Voyer
Managing director
Al Habtoor Leighton Group

Voyer has been at the helm of Al Habtoor Leighton Group for 15 months and has thrived on the challenge: both to drive the companies Al Habtoor and Leighton to better synergy three years after the merger and get to grips with the opportunities in a fast changing region in the process. The overall group is quite complex, though Voyer’s team has continued to win contracts.

Previously deputy managing director for Leighton Contractors, the Leighton Group’s flagship division, he has also been a leading figure in the company’s mining and construction operations in his native Australia.

Voyer has been at the centre of plans to reassess the company’s regional coverage, and recently he has spoken of his desire to shift the company’s focus towards civil engineering projects, away from its primary reputation in buildings. In the last year he has also driven reforms in labour and safety standards and has gained credit in the process.

Next: Samir Nass, Nass Group

CONSTRUCTION WEEK POWER 100

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> The Power 100 Full List

30. Samir Nass
Managing director, Nass Corporation; vice chairman, Nass Group

Samir Nass has proved himself one of the big-time thinkers in Bahrain and a chief advocate of the Kingdom’s economic evolution. Firstly, he helps oversee the portfolio of subsidiary companies within the group and Nass Corporation – one of the most extensive in this list.

Nass Construction, for example, almost 50 years old, is still at the forefront of big projects in the Kingdom across industrial, offshore, infrastructure and building projects. Raffles City at Bahrain Bay Development, the Riffa Views golf course and the Durrat Al Bahrain SWRO Plant are just three completed projects.

He has also led talks on behalf of the construction sector with the country’s Labour Fund, including boosting the labour credentials of Bahraini nationals; as well as analysing the challenges in the market. He has also been vocal in his encouragement for Bahraini businessmen to invest in Saudi cement firms to help shore up supply, and he has also made a significant contribution as a member of the Economy and Development Group.


“The efforts of the labour market reform programme
and that of the Labour Fund in particular can only succeed
if the various stakeholders, such as the private sector, government authorities,
training organisations and societies, all work in partnership and hand in hand.

Samir Nass

Next: Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council

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