Dubai-listed contractor DSI hires C-level specialists to spur turnaround

Struggling contractor has hired new chief financial, legal, and restructuring officers with extensive regional experience

Drake & Scull has three new C-level officers.
© Drake & Scull International
Drake & Scull has three new C-level officers.

Dubai Financial Market-listed construction company Drake & Scull International (DSI) has filled three C-level executive jobs in a bid to boost profitability, successfully complete its turnaround, and deliver its pipeline of engineering projects in the region.

Mike Grant has been added to DSI’s headcount as chief restructuring officer, a key role at the contracting outfit that posted a net loss of $49.8m (AED183m) in H1 2018. In a statement, DSI said Grant has internationally led “some of the largest and most complex restructuring projects”.

Before he joined DSI, Grant was responsible for restructuring programmes at prominent Middle Eastern firms such as Al Jaber Contracting in the UAE and Investment Dar in Kuwait.

A qualified civil engineer and the holder of an MBA in finance from London’s Cass Business School, Grant is a fellow of the UK Institution of Civil Engineers, and a member of the UK Institute for Turnaround.

Khaled Al Jarrar joins DSI as its group chief financial officer, with 30 years of international work experience. Jarrar has been described by DSI as “a veteran of corporate finance and accounting”, and was responsible for the contractor’s “historic” initial public offering efforts in 2007/08, when he was also CFO of DSI.

Jarrar returns to DSI after holding similar roles at companies such as Al Nasr Contracting, ABG Imaging, and Arthur Andersen. He holds a master’s degree in leadership from Sloan’s, and another in strategy from London Business School.

Finally, joining Jarrar in the latest round of DSI’s jobs is Mohamed Ghanem as chief legal officer. Ghanem has 15 years of experience in legal consultancy, litigation, and statutory and regulatory compliance, and has previously worked with Damac Properties.

According to DSI, Ghanem has “significant experience” in the construction, engineering, and real estate sectors, thanks to years of managing arbitrations and legal cases related to commercial disputes and joint ventures. The holder of an MBA from Alexandria University, Ghanem currently also serves as legal advisor and lecturer at Dubai Real Estate Institute.

Obaid Bin Touq, chairman of DSI’s board of directors, will lead the restructuring committee that will bring the contractor back to profitability. Members of the committee include Khamis Buamim, Ahmad Kilani, and new group CEO, Tawfiq Abu Soud.  

Commenting on the appointments, Bin Touq said: “The board has focused on rebuilding DSI’s leadership management team with industry professionals who have experience within the sector and with the company.

“We believe that these appointments will provide a vital impetus to DSI’s ongoing restructuring aims and at the same time support our efforts to put in place a turnaround strategy that will provide a stable platform for the future.”

According to Bin Touq, DSI and government authorities are collaborating to procure the approvals required to brief the contractor’s shareholders on the restructuring plan at its upcoming general assembly.

“Once we have obtained the requisite formal approvals, we will be able to engage with the various stakeholders whose support will be essential in delivering our turnaround strategy”, he added.

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