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HE Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani Handpicks the Movers and Shakers Taking Qatar to the Heights of Diverse Industries

Influential, visionary, decisive, and empowered to serve. Handpicked by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, these are the movers and shakers taking Qatar to the heights of diverse industries.

HE Dr Hessa Sultan Al Jaber
President of the Qatar Auto Museum

Photo: Brian Rankin

A member of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG since 2016, HE Dr Hessa Sultan Al Jaber is President of the Qatar Auto Museum. She is also the chairperson of investment company Trioinvestment, and of Qatar Satellite Company, a member of United Nations ITU Broadband Commission for Sustainable development, and former Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Qatar. Prior to becoming a minister, Dr Al Jaber held the position of Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR). She led the liberalization of Qatar’s telecommunications market, ushering in an era of choice and competition, and spearheaded the modernization of Qatar’s ICT infrastructure. She has led numerous initiatives to make Qatar a more inclusive society through ICT with the creation of the Qatar Assistive Technology Center.

Abdulrahman Hesham Al Sowaidi
Acting CEO of Qatar Development Bank

Abdulrahman Hesham Al-Sowaidi started his professional career as an engineer within the telecom sector, having earned an executive master’s degree in energy and resources from Hamad Bin Khalifa University. He then joined the Qatar Development Bank, climbing the ranks, including executive director of strategy and business development. He was involved in developing ideas and initiatives as part of the bank’s mission to enhance Qatar’s private sector growth and boost its contribution to GDP in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. This success led to his current position as acting CEO.

His Excellency Akber Al Baker
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, is one of the most recognizable figures in the global aviation industry. His vision and commitment enabled the groundbreaking development of Qatar Airways to become one of the world’s leading global airlines in the span of just 20 years. Under his leadership, Qatar Airways has been awarded as ‘Airline of the Year’ for a record fifth time, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’ at the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. Widely known for his ambition and passion for innovation, he introduced the award-winning Qsuite in March 2017. In August 2017, he was announced as the Chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the prestigious global aviation industry body, the International Air Transport Association, which came into effect in June 2018 for a period of one year. In November 2017 he was named ‘Aviation Executive of the Year’ by the CAPA Centre for Aviation in recognition of his global influence and visionary approach to the airline industry.

His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani
President of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympics and Sports Museum

Photo: Brian Rankin

Always striving to push limits, sportsman His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani is the President of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympics and Sports Museum. Imposingly, he is also the first Qatari to summit Mount Everest and Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, reach the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, and ski to the South Pole. Sheikh Mohammed is also a successful entrepreneur with more than 18 years of experience in tech, fitness, tourism, and hospitality. The Harvard Business School alumnus is the founder and chairman of some of the most influential companies in the Gulf region, and serves as a board member of Air Arabia. He is also known for his philanthropic work, and is a brand ambassador for Reach Out to Asia.

Faleh Bin Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani
Managing Director for Automotive of Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Holding Co

Photo: Brian Rankin

Passionate about sports and heritage, Sheikh Faleh Bin Nawaf Al Thani is the managing director for Automotive of Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Holding Co, and son of Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani, chairman of NBK Holdings Co, operating in automotive retail, industry and construction, oil and gas, information technology, civil engineering, agriculture, real estate, fashion, luxury and hospitality. Graduating with a master’s from University of Hull in the United Kingdom in 2018, Sheikh Faleh is also a member of the board of Classic Car Museum, Gulf Qatar Classic Cars Association, and Al Faleh Educational Group. Beside his business scope, Sheikh Faleh has received titles and awards that include those for football, martial arts and motor sports. He continues the NBK tradition of supporting the local community through sponsoring various activities like horse racing, motor sports, tennis and golf tournaments.

Sheikha Hanadi Nasser bin Khaled Al Thani
Founder & Chairperson of Amwal, founder & vice chairperson of AL Waab City Real Estate development project, Vice Chairman of Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Group, Founding Chairperson of Q-Auto, President of NBK family office

Photo: Brian Rankin

Renowned for her entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, Sheikha Hanadi Nasser bin Khaled Al Thani is the founder and chairperson of Amwal, and founder and vice chairperson of Al Waab City Real Estate development project. She is a trustee on the board of College for Business and Economics at Qatar University and Texas A&M Qatar. She is on the board of trustees of Junior Achievement Worldwide, chairperson of Injaz Al Arab, the regional arm of Junior Achievement Worldwide; and is a member of the ME Board of Planet Finance. The Financial Times voted Sheikha Hanadi among the Top 20 female role models in global banking and finance in 2008. She holds an Executive MBA from London Business school, a master’s degree in Economics from the University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Qatar University.

HE Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani
President of Qatar Olympic Committee

A passionate equestrian, and athlete in his own right, HE Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani is the president of the Qatar Olympic Committee, since 2015. He also serves as the senior vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, is a board member of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, and is President of the 2023 Fina World Championships Organising Committee and 2023 Fina World Masters Championships Organising Committee. His role as president of the Olympic Committee follows his successful campaign as president of the Doha 2030 Asian Games bid committee. He holds an Executive MBA from HEC Paris in Qatar.ŽŽ

Ashraf AR Abu Issa
Chairman, Abu Issa Holding

Photo: Brian Rankin

Ashraf AR Abu Issa is chairman of one of Qatar’s most diversified business groups with capabilities that control and operate market leading companies across sectors including retail, distribution, telecom, IT, energy, engineering, investments, and real estate in Qatar and across the region. It also creates its own concept stores and brands across travel accessories and luggage, jewelry, and watches. The portfolio is built across almost four decades operating over 100+ retail outlets, business, and services, with more than 3 000 employees. Abu Issa is a graduate from the American College in Atlanta, and completed an owner president management program at Harvard Business School. He earned an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Swiss Business Council Qatar among others.

Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani
Cultural Affairs advisor at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development

Photographer, visual artist, designer, and curator Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani is the founder of a number of prominent cultural institutions, including Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) Doha; Orientalist Art Museum; Arab and Islamic Heritage Library (Qatar National Library); and Weaponry Museum and Heritage Collection. The Cultural Affairs advisor at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, he is also the general supervisor of the Documents and Research Department at the Qatari Amiri Diwan. He holds two PhDs, the first in the history of modern art in Egypt in the 20th century from the University of Bonn, Germany in 2019, and the second in Arts: The Modern History of Qatar from Ain Shams University, Cairo in 2004. He has backed the organization of many international, regional and local exhibitions, including: Art et Liberté: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 2017; A Look at Yemen, the Arab World Institute – Paris 2006, (the exhibition was reorganized in Doha in 2008); and Arabesque Art Exhibition – Doha, 2005

AJ Al-Thani

Photo: Brian Rankin

AJ Al-Thani is an award-winning Qatari filmmaker, multimedia artist, and creative entrepreneur. She began her film career with the launch of The Doha Film Institute in 2010. She is currently shooting her first feature film Khuzama, a dystopian, Bedouin-Western set in a futuristic Gulf desert. Her short film The Black Veil (2020) had its world premiere and was in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. A creative nomad, she is also working on an exhibition about the metaverse in the Middle East and is an executive producer on a VR film about indigenous communities in Palestine. Transcending from film to multimedia, she also delves into the commercial world, producing and directing advertisements for organizations. Her experience in various media fields has led to her founding Creative Nomads, a film, television, commercial, and new media production company.–

Ali Bouzarif
Vice-Chairman of the Board of In-Q, the commercial arm of Qatar Museums

Photo: Brian Rankin

Ali Bouzarif has been a member of the Supervisory Board and partner of Alvarium since 2018. He also serves on the Finance and Compensation Committee of Alvarium. Bouzarif previously served as the head of M&A at the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) from 2007 to 2017. At the QIA, he was a member of the management investment committee and was instrumental in the completion of several notable transactions, such as the acquisition of the Harrods Department store and the merger of the Fairmont Raffles Hotels Group with AccorHotels, among others. During his tenure at QIA, Bouzarif served as a member of the board of directors and the remuneration committee of Heathrow Airport and American Express Global Business Travel business, a board member and member of the commitment committee of AccorHotels, and a member of the board of Canary Wharf Group. Bouzarif holds a master’s degree in Business Engineering from Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and is a chartered financial accountant

HE Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa
President of the Civil Service and Government Development Bureau

HE Al-Khalifa holds the position of president of the Civil Service and Government Development Bureau since October 2021. Prior to this role he served as the CEO of Qatar Development Bank for nine years. His experience also encompasses other sectors, including the energy sector, the development of small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurship, the financial and development sectors, and directly impacting the expansion of the Qatari private sector. His Excellency is also the chair of Qatar Finance and Business Academy and a member of the board of trustees of Qatar University of which he is an alumna, having earned a master’s in business administration.

Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo
Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of Ooredoo Group

Photo: Brian Rankin

Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo was appointed as managing director and group CEO of Ooredoo Group since November 2020, and has been a board member of Ooredoo Group since 2011. In previous roles, he served as deputy undersecretary for Budget, Treasury and Financial affairs at the Ministry of Finance from 2014 to 2020. From 2007 to 2014, he was the co- head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), where he led some of the sovereign wealth fund’s most high-profile deals. In March 2021 he was appointed board member of Katara Hospitality and member of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums.

Sheikha Aisha Khaled Al Thani
Board Member, M7; Executive Committee Member, United Developers

Photo: Brian Rankin

Qatari fashion entrepreneur Sheikha Aisha Al Thani is passionate about delivering unique retail experiences. Using her combination of entrepreneurial skills, business acumen, and a keen eye for trends in fashion, she is a formidable force in the industry. Her constant and unwavering support within the business has given her a much-esteemed place in the fashion scene. A driving force in the opening of Place Vendôme, she supported the mall’s leasing, marketing, and promotional activities. With strong connections and insights into the global retail and fashion industry, she led the conversation with renowned international brands, highlighted the untapped potential of Qatar’s retail market to international audiences, and has always been keen to connect the world of fashion with rising business opportunities. Sheikha Aisha received her degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

HE Ahmad Mohammed Al-Sayed
Minister of State and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Free Zones Authority

Photo: Brian Rankin

Donning many hats, HE Ahmad Mohammed Al-Sayed is a Minister of State and chairman of QFZA – a single regulator and developer of specialized free zones in Qatar. Qatar Free Zones include Ras Bufontas, Airport Free Zone and Umm Alhoul, and Seaport Free Zone. The free zones promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Qatar and have helped make Qatar a global business hub for many leading international companies including DHL, Google, Microsoft, and Thales, among others. HE is also chairman and managing director of Doha Venture Capital, an economic development investment fund focused on high- growth disruptive companies bringing value to Qatar. He serves on the boards of Qatar Development Bank and Msheireb Properties. HE Al-Sayed holds an MBA from Trium Global, a master’s degree in International Banking and Financial Law from Boston University, an LLB from Qatar University, and an Honorary Degree from Swansea University, UK.

Tariq Mohammad Al Jaidah
Managing Director, Al Jaidah Brothers Co

Photo: Brian Rankin

With a deep passion for art, Tariq Al Jaidah has become one of the Middle East’s leading collectors. His passion for collecting began over 25 years ago. Currently, he is managing Al Jaidah Brothers Co in addition to other business related to Al Jaidah’s family. In 2007 Al Jaidah established Waqif Art Center, the first arts centre in Qatar located at Souq Waqif, and the only one of its kind in Doha, which was relocated in 2011 to The Cultural Village to be Katara Art Center, in addition to Eiwan Al Gassar Gallery in 2019 and Studio 7 for Design in 2021. His private collection, known as the Talj Art Collection, focuses on postwar, contemporary art, sculpture and historic artifacts from the Middle East. He is particularly interested in the influence of calligraphy on Middle Eastern Art. Works from the collection have been constantly on loan at galleries and museums internationally.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani
Chairman of Ahlibank and President of the Museum of Islamic Art

The Chairman of Ahlibank since 2011, Sheikh Faisal bin Al-Thani was appointed president of the Museum of Islamic Art in 2021. Prior to this, since 2005, he was chairman of board committees in Ahlibank including the tender committee; governance, nomination, and remuneration committee; risk and compliance committee; and audit committee. Sheikh Al- Thani completed his undergraduate degree in banking and finance from Suffolk University in Boston, USA.

Mohamed Jassim Jaidah
Group Executive Director (GED) of Jaidah Group

Photo: Brian Rankin

Group executive director (GED) of Jaidah Group, ESSEC Business School graduate Mohamed Jassim Jaidah runs his thought leadership in realizing the Group’s vision in creating economic opportunity for both the local and global workforce in Qatar and the region. Established in 1898, Jaidah Group continues to lead the way among the most dynamic and successful family-owned business conglomerate, guided by its fundamental corporate values and driven by its commitment for quality, excellence, and future innovation. In addition to his role at Jaidah Group, Jaidah is the co-founder and CEO of Sixty Degrees, a new concept in communications and advertising agencies. He also sits on the board of Qatar Insurance and is advisory board member in Qatar Auto Museum. In addition, he is an active board member of Maison de la France LLC in Qatar. Thanks to the efforts of local French firms and groups as well as the French Embassy, its mission is to develop French-Qatari business cooperation. Jaidah served in key leadership roles where he was a member of the Steering Committee of Qatar Media Industry Forum for two consecutive years from 2015 to 2016. He also resided as president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Omar Hussain Alfardan
President and CEO, Alfardan Group

At the helm of one of the most successful private owned business companies in Qatar and the region, Omar Alfardan holds prominent positions across several Alfardan subsidiaries that operate within the hospitality, properties, automotive, jewelry, exchange, investment, marine services, agriculture, and the medical sectors. Outside of the Group, he holds a number of high-profile designations and has made significant contributions at leading establishments both in and outside of Qatar, including managing director of The Commercial Bank of Qatar, chairman of the Board of Directors at Alternatif Bank in Turkey, and advisory board member at Qatar Financial Centre Authority. Apart from his professional and social commitments, Omar Alfardan is a passionate collector of luxury items, specifically special cars.

Nabeel Ali Bin Ali Al Meslemani
Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President/CEO of Ali Bin Ali Holding

Photo: Brian Rankin

Working in partnership with his brother Adel Ali Bin Ali, the chairman, in the management of ABA Establishment and its related companies, Nabeel Ali Bin Ali Al Meslemani has strengthened the organization’s heritage of more than seven decades and transformed it into a future- focused, modernized one that consists of the mother company ABA Holding and 35 subsidiaries. The brothers have since expanded out of Qatar by launching their luxury business in Saudi Arabia. Nabeel has also entered the European market, starting from Monaco, where he started the first fashion shop in the Carré d’Or. He has been honored with the title of “Ordre National Du Merite” by the French Republic in recognition of his endeavors to promote French brands in the region.

Salem Saeed Al-Mohannadi
CEO of Seashore Group

Photo: Brian Rankin

Salem Saeed Al-Mohannadi started out as manager of the Steel Factory with Seashore Group in 1999, and today is CEO of the Group. He chairs the Ataa Charity Foundation, as well as the Sealine Circuit Sport Club, and is also a member of the Advisory Council of Qatar Auto Museum. In cooperation with Qatar Museums, he has also contributed to projects such as the development and restoration of Almafyar village into a tourist destination in the north of Qatar, and the restoration and maintenance of the East-West/West-East sculpture by the international artist Richard Serra. This is in addition to his charitable and humanitarian works through the Ataa Foundation. He supports various environmental initiatives, including that of fighting climate change by contributing to the establishment of the sustainability island at Qatar Foundation.

Kholoud Al Hail
CEO, Aspire Katara Hospitality

The first Qatari woman to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in hospitality management, Kholoud Al Hail contributes to nationwide events. She is a member of the committee for the Fifa World Cup 2022 to oversee the hospitality program from guest experience, art instillations, and decoration designs, catering operations of the entire event period, and entertainment activations. A few of her other involvements include the Doha Asian Games, the Aspire International Kite Festival and Lake Festival, the Katara International Horse festival, S’hail Exhibition, Katara Traditional Dhow Festival, Qatar National Day Ceremony in Katara Amphitheater, the opening ceremonies of the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, and bringing Garleries Lafayette to 21st High st. She first built her company in 2007 with a team of seven, and it has now grown to 800 professionals.

Ahmed Al Baker
CEO – Katara Studios, Director/Producer

“From Dream to Reality” was the title of Ahmed Al Baker’s TED speech back in 2010, in which he spoke about changing his career from the oil and gas industry to the film industry. Now, over a decade later, Al Baker has worked on two sci-fi series as a showrunner and director, The Pact and Medinah, the former available on the Roku streaming platform. He has also produced a number of international events, short films, feature films, music videos, animations, documentaries, and TV programs. In 2021 Al Baker was asked to direct the Opening Ceremony of the first Fifa Arab Cup, a show that captured the imagination of the entire Arab world, the result of which led to Al Baker being tasked to be creative director of the Fifa draw ceremony, the Fifa World Cup Opening and Closing ceremonies in 2022. He is currently an executive producer and the CEO of Katara Studios.

Amir Berbić
Dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar

Photo: Brian Rankin

Currently a board member of Qatar Museum’s Creative Hub and serving as the co-chair of International Conference of Fine Arts Deans’ Global Connections Committee, Amir Berbić is dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar since 2019. He was a tenured professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he also served as associate dean at the UIC College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, as acting director of the UIC School of Design, and as chair of Graphic Design. From 2004 to 2013, he was a faculty member at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. A designer who works on questions surrounding identities of place, Berbić’s works have featured in numerous academic and professional publications, conferences, and exhibitions. His work is held in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Dr César Octavio Malavé
Dean, Texas A&M University at Qatar

Dr César Octavio Malavé is dean and professor in the Chemical Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Qatar. He is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, and a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. In 2017, he received the ASEE John L Imhoff Global Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering Education. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the industrial engineering discipline. He is recognized internationally for his contributions to engineering education. His work was the result of a 10-year NSF-funded Foundation Coalition Grant to revamp engineering education.

Hisham Saleh Al-Mana
Chairman and Managing Director of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Group of Companies

Hisham Saleh Al-Mana is the chairman and managing director of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Group of Companies, which has been ranked one of the leading automotive companies in the region, and is the exclusive distributor of Nissan, Infiniti, and Renault in Qatar. The group now has over 7 000 employees across the Middle East, and continues to evolve. In 2018, Al Mana Group signed a deal with Doha Festival City to bring Harvey Nichols, the British luxury department store, to Qatar for the first time. The launch introduced chic high-end designers to the local market, marking its presence as an exclusive fashion hub with flair. The Group continues to acquire new brands, while also being actively involved in vital projects and partnerships such as Qatar Museums, Aspire, Qatar Foundation, and more.

Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya
Executive Director (CEO), Qatar Mobility Innovations Center

Photo: Brian Rankin

Since 2009, Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya has served as the founding executive director of the Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC). It is one of the first technology innovation institutions in the Middle East focused on translating R&D and technology innovations into scalable digital platforms and solutions in the fields of intelligent mobility and smart cities. Before moving to Qatar in 2007, Dr Abu-Dayya worked for 10 years at AT&T Wireless in Seattle, USA, where he served in a number of management positions covering emerging products and technologies, product realization, and R&D management. Dr Abu-Dayya serves as the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department of Texas A&M University at Qatar and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Qatar Auto Museum. He received his PhD in Wireless Communications from Queens University, Kingston, Canada and has 10 issued patents.

Ghada Al Subaey
Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur

A renowned Qatari fashion designer and entrepreneur, Ghada Al Subaey is the creator and founder of The Kayys and 1309. She has been a part of the fashion design industry since 2012. Her brand 1309 is a concept revolutionizing the way women think about fashion in Qatar. A sustainable and ethical women’s ready- to-wear brand, it only sources vegan and environmentally friendly fabrics for its pieces. All the packaging is non-toxic, biodegradable, and recyclable. Honored with the “Young Designer Arab Woman Award” in 2013, her recent initiative is “The Cutting Studio” at M7 in Msheireb. The first of its kind in the region, it is a hub and an incubator for creatives in the country, specifically fashion designers. The studio provides support, mentorship, and resources to upcoming and aspiring designers to both develop and showcase their collections.

Originally published in the November 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

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