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Asia House Conference Speakers

H.E. ABDULLA AHMED AL SALEH
UNDERSECRETARY

UAE MINISTRY OF ECONOMY

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H.E. Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh has been the Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade since March 2013. Before this, he was Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade (May 2008-March 2013), Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy (2006-2008), Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Economy (2004-March 2006), a diplomat in UAE Embassy in Paris (2001-2004), and a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE Embassy in Washington DC (1993-1998).

H.E. Al Saleh received over 30 gratitude and appreciation certificates for his leadership, diligent efforts in achieving multi-functional tasks and effective contributions through memberships in a number of boards of directors as follows.

As the Head of the UAE negotiating team in GCC and regional free trade negotiations (2006 till date), he developed a negotiation strategy and signed off free trade agreement with Singapore and EFTA which resulted in an increase in trade and investment with these countries and now he is leading the UAE team in the Negotiation of GCC-China Free Trade Agreement.

He is a Board Member of the UAE International Investors Council. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the World Trade Organization, which oversaw UAE fulfilment of WTO commitments and supervised the trade policy review for three terms, attaining international praise from all WTO Members.


He is the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee on national initiatives for multiplying exports. As the chairman of the industrial sector development committee, endorsing recommendations to the Ministerial Cabinet to increase the contribution of the industrial sector to the UAE economy.

He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Business and Management School at Zayed University, and a Board Member of the Trustees of the Technology and Economics Committee at New York University Abu Dhabi.

He is the vice president of the Annual Investment Forum, he put forward this conference as well to become one of the most important international conferences and exhibitions in the field of investments.


He is the Honorary President of the Arab-Chinese Center for International Exchange; worked to enhance the China-Arab relations and particularly Chinese-UAE relations. He has lead regional and global promotional team carrying out 140 events in the past 3 years including international governmental and business delegation visits and is supervising the development of key improvement and action plans to enhance the Foreign Trade and Industry sectors’ performance and growth 


H.E. Abdulla Ahmed Al Salah received his Masters in International Politics, from the American University in Washington D.C., USA (1996) and Bachelor of Political Science from UAE University (1990). 

 

 


 

H.E. SULTAN AHMED BIN SULAYEM
GROUP CHAIRMAN AND CEO

DP WORLD

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H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, is one of Dubai's leading businessmen.

Mr. Bin Sulayem’s expertise and visionary leadership spearheaded the rapid expansion of Dubai’s infrastructure, including ports and free zones, contributing significantly to the stellar growth trajectory of the United Arab Emirates. He was also a leader in developing the infrastructure supporting Dubai’s successful tourism industry, among various other sectors.

Highlights of his three-decade business career include:

  • Leading marine terminal operator DP World’s expansion internationally, including the purchase of the P&O group for US$6.8 billion in March 2006, which propelled it to one of the largest global port operators and trade enablers in the world with 78 marine and inland terminals in six continents
  • Overseeing the rapid development of the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) into an unrivalled business park of more than 7300 companies
  • establishing and leading Nakheel, a real estate and tourism property development firm that has created many iconic Dubai projects including The Palm, the world’s largest man-made islands
  • Establishing and leading Istithmar World, a major investment house focusing on private equity with a portfolio of investments in diverse sectors across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East including retail, financial services, industry, tourism and hospitality, and healthcare
  • Pioneering the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), a market for gold and precious metals, diamonds and coloured stones, energy and other commodities

 

Mr. Bin Sulayem is a BS graduate in Economics from Temple University Philadelphia, USA. He is a Board Member of the “Dubai Executive Council”, the “UAE Federal Tax Authority” and “ Virgin Hyperloop One”.

 

 


 

LORD STEPHEN GREEN
CHAIRMAN

ASIA HOUSE

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Lord Stephen Green has been the Chairman of Asia House since January 2017.

Stephen Green was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and at Oxford University where he graduated in 1969 with a BA (First Class Honours) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He also obtained a Masters Degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975.

He was created a Life Peer in 2010 and was appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment in January 2011. He retired from this position in December 2013.

Lord Green began his career in 1970 with the British Government’s Ministry of Overseas Development. In 1977, he joined McKinsey & Co Inc, management consultants, with whom he undertook assignments in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

He joined The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1982. In 1998, he was appointed to the Board of HSBC Holdings plc as an Executive Director. He became Group Chief Executive in 2003 and Group Chairman 2006. He retired from HSBC in December 2010.

Lord Green was Chairman of the British Bankers’ Association from 2006 to 2010. He also served as a Trustee of the British Museum. He served as a non-executive director of BASF until 2010.

He is Chairman of the Natural History Museum and is a member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee.

 

 


 

AHMED BIN SULAYEM
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN

DMCC

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Ahmed Bin Sulayem continues to play a leading role in positioning DMCC and Dubai as a major international commodities hub for trade. Under his leadership DMCC has built and delivered the UAE’s largest and fastest growing Free Zone; ensured the UAE has 60 percent market share of global tea re-exports, enabled mainly by the DMCC Tea Centre; helped establish Dubai as the world’s leading physical gold market and one of the world’s top 3 hubs for the diamond trade. Mr. Bin Sulayem’s extensive knowledge of the diamond trade also led to his appointment as global Kimberley Process Chair on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Economy in 2016. The UAE Chairmanship saw Mr Bin Sulayem travel to 20 countries including Latin America before concluding the successful chairmanship with a speech on the draft resolution “The Role of Diamonds in Fuelling Conflict” at the UN General Assembly in February 2017.

 

 

 

 


 

ANNE RUTH HERKES
FORMER STATE SECRETARY

GERMAN FEDERAL MINISTRY FOR ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND ENERGY

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After a successful career in diplomacy spanning nearly 30 years, Anne Ruth Herkes has successfully built a portfolio of non-executive directorships and has both the strategic mindset and depth and width of experience to add value to board decision-making, strategy formulation and execution.

Her contribution includes building and establishing internationally influential business and political networks, in-depth understanding and experience in developing and implementing complex policies, cross-border M&A challenges, executive mentoring, providing constructive challenge and helping to achieve consensus.

Anne Ruth Herkes is experienced in international board tasks, supervisory boards and international organizations. She is committed to adding value in the foreign policy area in Europe and beyond, for instance through her advisory role with the Shaikh Group, an international political consultancy, the Vienna Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales, and Asia House London where she acts as a Trustee. She remains engaged with Qatar’s foreign policy establishment and her extended network in the country.

She previously served as State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, where she led Germany’s global trade policy, and EU and WTO trade negotiations. She has nearly 30 years of professional experience in politics, diplomacy, and economic affairs in Europe, the US, Japan and Qatar. She earlier served as Ambassador to Qatar and, before that, was a member of the Executive Management of BP Biofuels in London in her role as Vice President, Policy and Communications.

She previously served on the board of KfW IPEX Bank and is a board member of KBL European Private Bankers S.A., and Merck Finck Privatbankiers AG in Munich and was a Trustee of Alfred Herrhausen Society, Deutsche Bank’s Global Forum.

 

 


 

MICHELLE DAVIES
INTERNATIONAL HEAD OF CLEAN ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY

EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND

Michelle set up the International Clean Energy and Sustainability Group 17 years ago which has advised on over 40GW of clean energy projects. Michelle is a partner in our corporate department and is International Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group.

Michelle is actively involved in the clean energy sector both in the UK and globally. She advises across all renewable technologies including offshore and onshore wind, biomass, solar, hydro and biofuels. Michelle's focus is on corporate strategy within the sector including M&A, equity raising and investment and exit mechanisms. Michelle's clients range from utilities to IPPs, private equity and infrastructure funds, institutional investors, banks and governments. Michelle has been the highest rated lawyer in wind for the last 3 years running by Word about Wind and has been listed as “a leader in renewables” by ‘The Lawyer Hot 100 Lawyers’. She was awarded “Solar Woman of the Year for the Middle East” by MESIA.

Michelle is actively involved in policy and regulation on clean energy. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Middle East Solar Industry Association and is a founding member of the MESIA Women in Solar Group. She is also on the policy strategy group of the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association, was Deputy Chair of the Ruk Offshore Strategy Group in the UK, was the only lawyer on the UK Government’s Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force and is on the Advisory Boards of the Climate Bond Initiative and PLC Environmental. Michelle is also on the REA Finance Steering Group and is on the Board of the Egypt British Business Council. She was recently asked to join the UK Governments Task Force for Electric Vehicles. Michelle is also on the Dii Desert Energy Advisory Board.

Michelle is qualified as a lawyer in the UK and the US (New York Attorney) and has a First Class Honours Degree from University College London and an Honours Masters Degree from UC Berkeley. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a John Rankin Scholar.

 

 


 

ANDREW SIMS
CO-FOUNDER, BOARD MEMBER AND CEO

NEC PAYMENTS B.S.C.

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NEC Payments are a Digital Banking and Payment Technology company that create innovative products to help businesses and individuals find new and efficient ways to manage money and make payments.

Bahrain FinTech Bay is the leading FinTech Hub in the Middle East and Africa. NEC Payments joined Bahrain FinTech Bay as a Founding Partner in 2017, and Andrew was voted by his peers to the Executive Board in 2018.

A seasoned entrepreneur, executive, and management consultant with extensive experience in the FinTech and Payments sectors; Andrew’s skill set includes: strategy, planning and organisational development; compliance and corporate governance; sales, marketing, and communications; brand and product development; contracts & legal affairs; and delivery of highly-innovative technology programmes. Andrew’s holistic approach enables him to identify opportunities where others see risks, and to engineer novel joined-up solutions to complex issues with multiple dependencies.

Andrew is a well-known payments industry thought-leader and spokesperson who is often asked to speak at public and private industry events on the topics of innovation in the payments industry and the digital transformation of financial services.

 

 


 

DANIEL CALDERON
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO

ALCAZAR ENERGY

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Daniel shares a long history of renewable energy and sustainability. His industry expertise has seen him develop and co-develop several landmark projects, including the first and second privately held utility-scale wind farms in the Middle East; two of the first solar PV plants in the UAE; the first solar CSP plant in the Middle East; the world’s first CSP Tower project with salt storage; and the world’s largest offshore wind farm as of 2014.

Under his leadership, Alcazar Energy has grown to become a leading renewable energy producer in the broader META region with in-house Business Development, Investment, Project Finance, Delivery and Operations teams, headquartered in the DIFC with three regional offices (Jordan, Egypt and Turkey). Prior to Alcazar Energy, Daniel worked at Masdar as the Head of Origination and Investment Management, where he played a significant role in deploying USD 7bn in the wind and solar projects. He also worked at General Electric for 10 years in various M&A and Principal Investments roles across Asia, Europe, North and South America. Daniel holds degrees in industrial engineering and finance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Cum-Laude) and an MBA from London Business School.

 

 

 


 

ANTHONY MARK BUTLER
CTO

IBM CLOUD MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

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Anthony Butler is CTO for IBM Cloud in Middle East and Africa; providing technical leadership across IBM’s cloud services and software portfolio and focusing on helping clients unlock new sources of value through the use of cloud-based technologies, such as blockchain and cognitive computing.

Prior to this, he was Chief Architect, IBM Global Technology Services for Middle East and Africa, where he was responsible for leading complex services solutions for clients across the region. Before relocating to the UAE, he was based in Australia, and held a global role as Chief Architect leading a multi-year IT transformation for one of IBM’s largest clients. He is a member of IBM’s Academy of Technology and has numerous patent filings in the fields of cloud, blockchain, analytics, and security technologies.

He holds a Masters of Engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

 

 


 

SUNIL VEETIL
REGIONAL HEAD OF GLOBAL TRADE AND RECEIVABLES FINANCE

HSBC MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA AND TURKEY

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Sunil Veetil is the Regional Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance for HSBC Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT). Based in Dubai, Sunil is responsible for enabling growth in trade across 8 countries in the region and helping connect the clients to the global supply chain.

Sunil was previously Regional Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC MENAT, where he successfully managed to position the business as a premier regional Bank for managing clients’ liquidity and cash flow. He relocated to the region from South Korea, where he was responsible for positioning HSBC as the leader in Cash Management in the country. Prior to South Korea, Sunil was with HSBC Indonesia, heading the Global Liquidity and Cash Management business for three and a half years. Sunil started his career with HSBC in Dubai, where he acted as the Deputy Head of Transaction Banking and Regional Head of Product Management for the Middle East region.

Throughout his tenure in the Middle East, Indonesia and South Korea, HSBC has been consistently recognized as the leading transaction banking provider in all these markets.

Sunil is a Chartered Accountant, Management Accountant, and Certified Treasury Professional and is a graduate of Mathematics.

 

 


 

NEIL CUTHBERT
SENIOR LEGAL ADVISOR MIDDLE EAST

DENTONS & CO

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Neil Cuthbert is a Banking and Finance partner at Dentons, specialising in project and infrastructure financing. He has extensive experience of advising banks, governments, borrowers, sponsors and others in project financing transactions covering a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, electricity, water, mining, leisure, transportation and telecommunications. Neil also has a general banking practice that includes advising banks, borrowers and others on a wide range of banking products, including lending, structured finance, derivatives, trade finance, development finance and restructurings.

Neil is currently Senior Legal Advisor of the firm’s Middle East offices. He is also a member of the Policy and Planning Board of Dentons UKMEA LLP and sits on the General Advisory Committee of Dentons.

 

 

 


 

FLYNT LEVERETT
PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AND FORMER US GOVERNMENT SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

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An expert on the Middle East, international political economy, and Chinese foreign policy, Flynt Leverett is part of the founding faculty at Penn State’s School of International Affairs. He is also a visiting scholar at Peking University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. After earning his PhD at Princeton University, he served in the US government for 11 years—at the White House as the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Middle East affairs, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as CIA Senior Analyst.

Flynt’s current research examines the economic dynamics linking the Middle East, “rising” Asia, and the United States across multiple arenas of world affairs. His work has appeared in the China International Strategy Review, the China Journal, National Interest, and other journals, while his comment pieces have appeared in the New York Times and Fortune, among others. He has previously been a visiting professor at MIT and Yale. He also advises public financial institutions and Fortune Global 500 companies on political risk in international energy and financial markets.

 

 


 

KYLE BOAG
REGIONAL HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL SUBSIDIARY BANKING

HSBC MENA

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Kyle Boag is Regional Head of International Subsidiary Banking for Commercial Banking in the UAE and Middle East and North Africa, at HSBC Middle East. His teams are responsible for the relationship management of subsidiaries of overseas companies operating in the region.

Kyle joined HSBC in the United Kingdom in 2003 and has since held various positions across the HSBC Commercial Banking business before moving to the Middle East, most recently as a Global Relationship Manager for multinational companies based in Scotland. Before joining HSBC, Kyle was a Seaman Officer in the British Royal Navy.

 

 

 


 

LAURENT LONGUET
CEO

SIRAJPOWER

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Laurent Longuet is CEO of SirajPower – a leading solar rooftops company in Dubai. He moved into the renewable energy sector in 2010 to lead, within the frame of a joint venture with MASDAR, the construction of Shams 1, the first concentrated solar energy power plant in the Middle East and the largest worldwide at the time of its commissioning.

Previously, Laurent spent 15 years working in the development and construction of international energy projects across the world, in Europe, Iran, Indonesia and the Middle East, for the group Total.

 

 


 

SIMON PENNEY
HER MAJESTY'S TRADE COMMISSIONER FOR MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN

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Simon Penney was appointed as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan in May 2018. After an induction period in London, Simon relocated to the region and has been based in UAE since October 2018.

Simon oversees trade promotion and investment using his deep links with industry in the Middle East to raise the profile of the region in the UK, building stronger and deeper trading relationships. Simon leads the UK’s export, FDI, policy and export credit operations in the region.

Before the appointment, Simon spent many years in the banking sector with extensive experience leading Corporate and Financial Institution Groups and teams across, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Simon has held roles in the Middle East with First Gulf Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, prior to which he was with ABN AMRO Bank in South Africa and the UK. He has also worked in consulting at PwC and in project finance.

Simon has an Engineering degree from Reading University and a MBA from Nottingham University.

 

 


 

HONGBIN CONG
FORMER VICE-CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

FALCON AND ASSOCIATES

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Hongbin Cong was Vice Chairman, International Relations at Falcon and Associates, a strategic advisor to Dubai leadership. Combining local knowledge gained from on-the-ground experience in both China and Dubai, Cong works to help build upon the mutually beneficial relationship that exists between both markets to foster a deeper understanding of business, customs and culture. Potential investors benefit from his expertise in successfully matching their interests to opportunities in Dubai.

Before this, he was the lead partner of infrastructure financing practice in PwC China. He has over 20 years’ experience in providing corporate finance services including fund raising, merger & acquisition and privatization in China including Hong Kong, and in the US.

During the preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games, Mr. Cong worked as the financial advisor of BOCOG, providing financial advisory services in areas of budgeting, financial planning, internal-control, and risk management. Mr. Cong also provided advisory services for Shenzhen 2011 Summer Universiade, London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the potential bid for Dubai 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

 

 


 

SHAN HUANG
ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR/SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

CAIXIN MEDIA/NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY

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Shan Huang is Deputy Managing Editor and Editorial Board Member of Beijing-based Caixin Media, equivalent to the Economist in China. He is charged with overseeing Caixin’s foreign desk and overseas branding efforts. He has more than 15 years of experience in reporting on Chinese domestic, economic and political situations and its external relations with a focus on Chinese economic diplomacy.

Before he became one of the founding members of Caixin in 2009, Shan was Caijing Magazine’s Hong Kong and U.S. correspondent, covering the listing and fundraising of Chinese blue chip companies, the 2008 global financial crisis and US presidential election.

Mr. Huang was a visiting fellow with the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford in the trinity term of 2018 and has carried out research on the sustainability and resilience of Chinese economy with particular attention on innovation-driven new economy. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at Notre Dame University.