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Asia House Conference Speakers




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.






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 an 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 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). 







Holding his current position since 2006, Hamad Buamim is the President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He is also the Deputy Chair of the World Chambers Federation - ICC in Paris.

Buamim also serves as a Board Member of UAE Central Bank, Dubai World and Dubai International Financial Center. He acts as Chairman of National General Insurance and Hawkamah, the Institute for Corporate Governance. In previous roles, Hamad served as Chairman of Emirates Financial Services and Emirates NBD Capital as well as a Board Member of Emirates NBD and Network International.

Buamim holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with honor in Finance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, United States. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science with Magna Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.








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.








Appointed Chief Executive Officer of DMCC, the authority on trade, enterprise and commodities in Dubai, in February 2014. Mr. Sashittal spent a large part of his career in the oil and gas industry with Royal Dutch Shell plc, and brings more than 25 years of international business and commodities experience to the Region. Prior to joining DMCC, he was the CFO of the DGCX, the Middle East's first derivatives exchange.











Michael Lawrence is the Chief Executive of Asia House, the centre of expertise on Asia. He leads the Asia House team in delivering market intelligence and thought leadership to some of the world’s biggest companies.

Asia House drives economic and political engagement between the UK and Asia by bringing together senior political figures, business leaders and decision-makers to engage in high-level discussions that direct business and policy strategies.

Michael was appointed Chief Executive of Asia House in September 2012 after a career as senior editor and executive in international media. During his 30 years in the media, Michael worked in print, television, digital and radio.

Prior to joining Asia House, Michael spent 18 years at Reuters (later Thomson Reuters), the international news and financial information organisation, where he held several senior positions over the course of his distinguished career. Michael was Global Editor of Reuters from 2006-2012, leading a team of 3,000 journalists covering news in text, video and pictures from almost 200 bureaux around the world. Previous roles included Managing Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa, from 2000 to 2006. Michael was part of the editorial team that delivered Reuters’ much-praised coverage of the Iraq war, and he ran the region through the turbulent years that followed.

Michael joined Reuters in 1994 to launch Reuters Financial Television – a ground-breaking service for the financial markets. He was later appointed Financial Editor.

Following the acquisition of Reuters by Thomson in 2007, Michael played a central role in the integration of the two news teams. Once complete, Michael launched the Reuters Financial Commentary service which culminated in the acquisition of BreakingViews. He was also one of key architects of Thomson Reuters’ use of news and social media tools to build professional communities.

Michael began his career as a cadet journalist on the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sydney. He later moved to the Sydney Morning Herald where he worked in Sydney for several years before becoming a political correspondent in Canberra. Michael was appointed Finance Editor of news station 2GB in Sydney in 1984 where he produced and presented a daily business programme. He later became current affairs producer and presenter at the station before moving to London as European correspondent for Australia’s Macquarie network. From there Michael moved to London news radio station LBC, where he was programme director. He also spent a stint as a reporter and presenter for CNBC Europe before joining Reuters.






Yonov Frederick Agah began his first term as Deputy Director-General of the WTO on 1 October 2013. He has been reappointed for a second four-year term, starting on 1 October 2017.

Yonov Frederick Agah was appointed as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the WTO in 2005. In that capacity, he served as the Alternate Chief Negotiator for the Doha Round and Head of Nigeria's Trade Office to the WTO in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Office in Geneva. The Trade Office is responsible for Nigeria’s participation in Geneva-based trade-related international organizations, particularly the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Trade Centre and the WTO.

Mr Agah served as Chair of the WTO's General Council in 2011. He was responsible for organizing the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference, which was acknowledged to be successful despite the prevailing stalemate in the Doha Round. He has also served as Chair of the following WTO bodies: Dispute Settlement Body in 2010, the Council for Trade in Services in 2009, the Trade Policy Review Body in 2008, the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in 2007, and the Council for Trade in Goods in 2006. He was also the Chair of the Council for TRIPS, Special Session, in 2013.

Mr Agah has previously worked as a lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna (1979-81), senior features writer/circulation manager, Benue Printing and Publishing Corporation (1982-84), Sales Manager, Benue Bottling Company Limited (1984-87), Field Manager, UTC Nigeria PLC (1990-91), Deputy Director (multilateral) (1991-2001) and Director (external trade) (2002-05).

Mr Agah holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He obtained a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (International Trade) from the University of Jos, Nigeria, in 1989 and 2007 respectively. His doctoral dissertation was on “Trade Policy Reform and Economic Growth in Nigeria Since 1986”. Mr Agah also obtained a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Abuja, Nigeria, in 2009. He has contributed to various books and journals.







Ravi has over 25 years experience in the project finance and infrastructure advisory space having worked with a number of blue-chip institutions. Ravi has excellent and detailed technical knowledge in the power, renewable, refining, petrochemical and infrastructure sectors across Australia, Asia Pacific, China, Africa and the Middle East.

Prior to joining KPMG, Ravi was with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and under his leadership, SCB was responsible for leading and structuring approximately 50,000 MW of power projects in the MENA region during the last decade; Thaima Power (Saudi), Sohar Power (Oman), Q Power (Qatar), Taweela (UAE), Hidd Power (Bahrain), Jorff Laffar (Morocco) and Aman Power (Jordan) are some examples of these deals. He has worked with a number of sponsors in the power sector: Kepco, Mitsui, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Total, Sumitomo, Sojits, ACWA and GDF Suez are a few examples of these.







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.







Neil is a Banking and Finance partner specialising in project and infrastructure financings. He has been based in Dubai since 2001. He has extensive experience of advising banks, governments, borrowers, sponsors and others in project financing transactions covering a wide of range industries, including oil and gas, electricity, water, mining, leisure, transportation and telecommunications. He 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.

He has lectured extensively on a wide range of banking subjects including at the Euromoney Winter and Summer Schools of Project Finance. He is the author of the firm's Standard Introduction to Project Finance and is a past leader of its International Projects Group.

Neil was head of the Dubai office from 2001 to 2010. He was Managing Partner of the firm's Middle East offices from 2005 to 2011 and is currently Senior Partner 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. He was a member of the Global Board of Dentons from 2011 to 2015.







Tony Gardner, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, has devoted more than 27 years of his distinguished career to U.S.-European affairs as a government official and lawyer. During his service as U.S. Ambassador until 2017, he played a pivotal role in some of the most challenging issues in the U.S. EU relationship, including the negotiations to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), the Privacy Shield Agreement facilitating the transatlantic transfer of personal data by companies based in Europe and the Umbrella Agreement facilitating the transatlantic transfer of data between law enforcement authorities. He was also closely involved in aspects of the EU Digital Single Market and in U.S.-EU coordination of sanctions against Russia following its annexation of Crimea.

Ambassador Gardner is a board member of Iberdrola and Brookfield Business Partners, a non-resident fellow of the German Marshall Fund and an adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to his role as U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Tony served as managing director of a London-based private equity firm and as an Executive Director at GE Capital. He also served as Director for European Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council, where he was responsible for U.S. relations with the EU.

Ambassador Gardner splits his time between London and Brussels and focuses on EU data and digital policy as well as in transatlantic trade.







Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference since 2008. He is Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tuebingen.

Ischinger began his diplomatic career in 1973 in the cabinet of the UN Secretary-General. In 1975, he joined the Federal Republic of Germany’s Foreign Service. From 1982 to 1990, Wolfgang Ischinger served in the cabinet of the Federal Foreign Minister. In 1990, he was appointed Minister and Head of the Political Section of the German Embassy in Paris. In 1993, he was named Director of the Policy Planning Staff in the Federal Foreign Office and in 1995 became Political Director. In that role, Ischinger led the German Delegation during the Bosnian Peace negotiations in Dayton, Ohio in 1995, the negotiations on the NATO-Russia Founding Act in 1996/1997, and during the Kosovo crisis in 1998/99.

In October 1998, he was appointed State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister) of the Federal Foreign Office. From 2001 to 2006, he served as German Ambassador in Washington, DC, and, from 2006 to 2008, in London. In 2007, he also represented the EU in the Troika negotiations on the future of Kosovo. In 2014 Ambassador Ischinger served as the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in the Ukraine crisis.

In 2015 he chaired an OSCE-mandated "Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project" tasked with providing advice on how to build a more resilient European security architecture.

From 2008 to 2014, he was also Global Head of Government Relations of Allianz SE, Munich.

Ambassador Ischinger serves on a number of corporate boards and advisory councils. He is a member of the board of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) and of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the East-West Institute in New York, the American Academy Berlin, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), and of Atlantik-Brücke. He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Ambassador Ischinger has received a number of honours and awards, including the German Bundesverdienstkreuz. He is a Commander of the French Legion of Honor and was the 2008 recipient of the Leo Baeck Medal awarded by the Leo Baeck Institute, New York. In 2015 Ischinger was the recipient of the Manfred Woerner Medal. He has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Pristina and Yerevan.

Wolfgang Ischinger studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva and obtained his law degree in 1972. He did graduate and post-graduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School.

Wolfgang Ischinger is married to author and journalist Jutta Falke-Ischinger. He has three children. He is a licenced skiing instructor and loves mountaineering.







Kapil has been with HSBC for over 13 years and is a Corporate & Investment Banker with extensive experience in executing M&A, Equity, Debt transactions over the last 23 years.

He is a Vice Chairman in the Wholesale Bank covering Senior client relationships in the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey region, with a particular focus on Institutional Clients –Banks, Insurance, Asset Manager, Public Sector, Sovereign and Sovereign Wealth Funds, Financial Sponsors, The Belt and Road Initiative, Saudi Arabia, Professional Services companies, Leading and executing M&A, ECM and Financing transactions.

In his previous role, he led the Financial Institutions & Public Sector coverage in Turkey, Middle East and Africa for HSBC in MENAT for 7 years. In addition, he had oversight of HSBC Group's wholesale activities in Saudi Arabia and Morocco (rep. office opened in 2015). Prior to heading the regional FIG, Kapil led HSBC’s corporate and investment banking business in Qatar where he was based for 5 years.

Kapil is also the lead adviser to the HSBC Group on its divestments in the region: key transactions he has advised on are: Recent sale of HSBC Group’s banking operations in Lebanon, Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq and Insurance business in Saudi Arabia; advising a Kuwaiti Bank on the acquisition of a boutique Investment Bank & Asset Manager(on-going); advising a Moroccan bank on its acquisition strategy in (North and Sub Saharan) Africa (on-going); advising Banquedu Caireon its IPO in Egypt (on-going); advising Saudi Tadawulon its contemplated IPO in 2018 (on-going); advising a leading European client on the potential acquisition of Zurich Morocco; advising a Kuwaiti bank on a capital relief transaction and RWA optimization trade; advising Capital Market Authority on the Privatization IPO of the Kuwait Stock Exchange; IPO of National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia for USD6bn; Leading international bank on the proposed acquisition of Citi’s consumer business in Egypt; Merger of Qatar Navigation and Qatar Shipping, 2010, M&A sell side advisor to Doha Marine Services sale to Topaz Energy; advising on the IPO of Vodafone Qatar, Industries Qatar, Gulf International Services, Qatar (2005-2010).

Kapil has personally led M&A transactions across the EMEA Emerging Markets in excess of $20bn, DCM transactions in excess of $50bn and ECM/ELCM transactions over $10bn over the last 10 years including some of the largest transactions in the region.

Kapil is on the MENAT Global Banking ExCo’s for HSBC and is a lead on the Climate Change committee, Belt & Road Initiative and Saudi Vision 2030 Steering GroupsforGlobal Banking. Prior to joining HSBC, he worked at Bank of America for 9 years with a focus on Technology and Healthcare M&A and ECM for 4 years and CEEMEA client coverage across Corporate, Public Sector and FIG clients. He trained as a Chartered Accountant after obtaining his BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and his MSc in Finance from Cass Business School in London.







Xitong (Adeeb) Wang is the Gulf Regional Manager of China Energy Engineering Corporation Limited International Company, a comprehensive solution provider in power industry. He concentrates on the power and infrastructure projects in GCC countries and Iraq. Prior to joining the company, he served in Chinese Embassy in Iraq and UAE as Commercial Attache from 2012 to 2016, during which, he was involved in numbers of bilateral and regional cooperation negotiations and supported Chinese companies to enter the local markets. From a previous policies promoter, to a current practitioner, he has a comprehensive view of Chinese companies going abroad under One Belt and One Road structure.








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.







A global thought leader, disruptor and innovator with an entrepreneurial flair, Kaiser has conceptualized and developed new institutions and business models in challenging environments. Core competencies include New Ventures, SME Banking, Project Financing, Team Building, Change Management, Business Development and Good Governance. Kaiser is a strategic thinker with strong ethical standards and focus on results. With exceptional business acumen and broad experience on a global stage he has served on the BODs of several international companies and provided strategic advice to senior management and business owners.

With a M.B.A. in Finance from the Asian Institute of Management in Manila, a M.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from Moscow Institute of Steel & Alloys and over 36 years of international experience in development banking and finance, Kaiser has developed a network of diverse professionals in every corner of the globe.

Kaiser currently heads IFC’s Digital Finance Advisory Services practice in EMENA, Central Asia and Russia.