Zafer Younis is a marketing specialist who is paving new ways for companies to connect with their consumers in the digital space. He is the co-founder of The Online Project where his team develops and executes social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies and high profile organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa. Zafer is actively involved in several charity and non-profit organizations, including the board of New Think Theater and Jordan River Foundation. He is also an advisor to startups as he serves on the Mentorship Network of Oasis500, the Middle East’s premier seed investment program.
Wassim Kabbara is an industry manager at Google, leading the company’s business activities in retail and finance in the region. Prior to Google, Kabbara worked in management consulting at Booz & Company, focusing on developing sales and marketing strategies for the largest companies in the Middle East. He also worked as a technology consultant at CGI, based in Toronto, Canada.
Vivek C Pande is an engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. He works for Khimji Ramdas as CEO, lifestyle group. He has senior management experience in diverse organisations such as Tata, Escorts, Onida, Modicorp, Benetton etc. Pande has exposure to wide ranging industries like retailing, lifestyle products, restaurant chains, ready-to-wear fashion, telecom, consumer electronics to name a few. To him, imparting knowledge is a way of life that he pursues with passion – be it as visiting faculty or conducting programmes.
Vishal has over 15 years of experience across the Middle East, Africa and the Indian sub-continent in consulting, market research and sales & marketing across a diverse set of industries. Previously with Deloitte Consulting’s Dubai offices, he was part of a team responsible for strategy and operations assignments across the MENA region. He has also worked with Colliers International, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces.
Vic Bageria is the Founder and CEO of Sávant Data System, a retail solutions and services provider focused on empowering businesses with progressive technology solutions such as People counting solutions & In-Store Analytics. Vic Bageria is trained as an IT professional by education but retail is where he is rooted, having learnt grass-roots business building strategies by growing up in a family retail business in the UAE.
Thej John Roy
Thej John Roy oversees the marketing and sales portfolio of the entertainment division of Al Hokair group. His primary responsibilities include mergers, brand management, planning pre-launch and launch operations and business development. Roy has been instrumental in the launch of the flagship Sparky’s center in Dubai, in Al Ghurair Center.Prior to his current role, he was the manager of the pre-launch team at KidZania, The Dubai Mall, part of Emaar Retail.
Tarek El Goweiny
Tarek El Goweiny joined the National Catering Company as a general manager in 2007 and serves as the company’s CEO. He is also a group CEO, board of director's member in Al Raha International Integrated Facilities Management and co-founder & CEO of Business DNA Company. Goweiny graduated from the faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management in Alexandria University, Egypt. He has held various senior positions in hospitality management and retail in the Middle East, including a role as a sports analyst in Dubai Sports Channel.
T P Pratap
With two decades of experience in strategic marketing, product launch initiatives, media campaign management and public relations, Pratap has successfully led teams across different segments – setting up channels of distribution, retail and product development. His diverse experience and involvement spans across leading brands across India and the Middle East across Timex Watches, Wipro Lighting and the Polyurethanes and Paints business of ICI and Kuwait Danish Dairies in the GCC Markets. Pratap is a key stake-holder/driver of QwikCilver’s journey to market in the pre-paid, stored-value space.
Steve Odak is CEO of USA based eCommerce and digital Marketing Solutions provider - iMarketVend. Steve brings almost two decades of digital retailing and marketing experience across USA, Brazil and Europe. He has been active in the GCC for the past couple of years and adding value to the retail industry with valuable insights and learnings from the USA and Europe.
Sophie’s Closet has become a place where stylish women all over the world gather to fulfil their own dreams of all things rare and sparkly. Sophie believes glamour doesn’t need to be expensive and that she can hand-pick gorgeously luxe pieces for all budgets. She hand-selects each and every item in Sophie’s Closet; things that she personally loves and covets, exquisitely pretty things that she dreamed about as a little girl.
Silvio Liedtke is the COO of Landmark Leisure, a division of Landmark Group. The main focus of Silvio's work has been to re-position the Fun City chain of family entertainment centres as an innovative indoor leisure business. Before relocating to the Middle East in 2007, Silvio served as managing director at the Butlins holiday resort and Legoland Windsor theme park in the UK.
A seasoned professional with over two decades of experience across the hospitality, services and retail Sectors, Shankar has held various senior and leadership positions with some of the best known brands in these business segments : Taj Group of Hotels, Oberoi Hotels, ColorPlus, Indian Terrain, Hidesign, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle – Aditya Birla Group and Levi Strauss India. He is a key stake-holder/driver in QwikCilver’s journey of customer adoption and evangelism in the pre-paid, stored-value space.
Shafeena Yusuff Ali
Shafeena Yusuff Ali is the CEO of Tablez Food Company whose aim is to revitalise the food scene of Abu Dhabi with concepts such as Bloomsbury’s, Peppermill, London Dairy and Galito's. Shafeena believes the time has come for Abu Dhabi to create its own thriving food scene, similar to those that can be found in cities such as New York, Paris and London.
Sarah Appleton founded Mini Exchange at the start of 2014. Previously she had a successful career in finance, pending four years at Deloitte in Mergers & Acquisitions advisory, firstly in London and then in Dubai. After two years in the Gulf Sarah left the finance world, recognising the potential of the early-stage e-commerce market and the Mini Exchange business model.
Sam Whittam, who has over 20 years of retail experience, is the creator of Adventure HQ, the first outdoor adventure store in the UAE where customers can embark on an adventure while they shop. Prior to this, Sam was a part of the founding team of Australia's largest outdoor retailer and the founder of a top class bike brand, offering bikes, cycle wear, helmets and accessories.
Said Charles Kiwan is the founder and director of MVP Tech, a security and technology contracting company initially founded in Dubai. He has overseen the company’s expansion regionally and internationally over the past 10 years. MVP Tech is today recognized as one of the leading security contractors. His objective from the beginning was to bridge the technology gap between east and west, deploying systems that positively impact the day to day running of businesses.
Ronaldo Mouchawar is the CEO and co-founder of Souq.com, the largest e-commerce site in the MENA region. Established in 2005, Souq.com’s investors include Jabbar Internet Group,Naspers Limited and Tiger Global Management.Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, Souq.com has offices in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.
Rajiv heads the entire retail, merchandising, licensing & cinema aspects of IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor entertainment theme park in Dubai. He is responsible for the concept to execution for the retail project through multiple licensed and non-licensed retail stores. Prior to this, Rajiv held several senior management positions in th UAE and India, including director of licensing at Mattel, managing director of Tanweer Group, and CEO-South Asia of Spacetoon.
Preetham started his career with Canadian enterprise IMAX corporation in 2004. In his current role, he heads its Indian operation. As the Director of sales – India and South East Asia, he handles key markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
Prakash Menon helps entrepreneurs, retailers, corporate professionals, CEOs and aspiring business owners, speakers and mentors achieve world class results and financial independence. As the former Director of Supply Chain for Australia’s leading department store, Myer, PK is renowned for having delivered an unprecedented $25 million increase to the retail giant’s bottom line within just 12 months and transforming the supply chain landscape on a global scale. He is also renowned for achieving extraordinary results for India’s Taj Group of Hotel where he climbed through the ranks in record time to head the food and beverage team.
Phil McArthur is an internationally experienced career shopping centre specialist with over 33 years in the industry and more than 60 successful shopping centre projects in his portfolio. In 2011, he launched McArthur + Company to provide strategic advice, leasing and management services to projects in North America, MENA and Asia.
Pat Bakey, SAP Global Head of Consumer Industries, drives collaboration across regions, customers and partners and the 7 primary domains of SAP (IBU, development, sales, services, ecosystem & channel, global support, marketing & sommunications). Pat has over 25 years of experience in the information-technology industry and is committed to helping customers enhance the consumer experience, turn insights into revenue and improve operational efficiencies. As chief operations officer for EMEA 2012-2014, he built and executed the go-to-market strategy for the region. Prior to this, Pat served as executive vice president of SAP Strategic Industries, North America where he managed all aspects of SAP's public services, financial services, retail and healthcare business units.
Mustafa has over 18 years’ experience in the technology field, with a focus on building online consumer platforms from the ground up. Previously he managed teams at Intel, USA (USA) where he built an Enterprise User Portal; and Nike (USA) with responsibility for their B2B e-commerce platform, which generated revenues of over $4bn in 2009. Mustafa’s technology development background helps him lead UrbanBuz’s progress from the front, and leverage his expertise in the constant evolution of an agile and dynamic customer loyalty platform.
Murad Alnasur is responsible for operating four regional brands – Scoozi, Napoletana, La Piazza, and Bob’s Easy Diner. He is also the the founder of the Score Card, a scoring system to be used when evaluating a brand for the region. Alnasur has extensive experience in the franchise model, having spent over 30 years in the F&B industry in the US, and having worked for multinational restaurant companies such as Brinker International, Cracker Barrel, Ponderosa, and Dave and Busters.
After a short stint at SAP, Muhammad started his entrepreneurial career in 2000, as he set up a B2B online marketplace based in Munich. From 2004, Muhammad led various McKinsey & Company client service teams in the online, financial, technology and telecommunications sectors, until finally, taking the entrepreneurial plunge with Sukar.com in early 2011 and subsequently Desado.com, before co-founding Citra Style with his wife, Habibah Chbib. Muhammad’s focus for Citra Style is the global Islamic lifestyle theme, creating value propositions for a largely untapped part of the world’s population.
Mona Ataya is the founder and CEO of Mumzworld.com, the Middle East’s first site for all things mother, baby and child. Prior to Mumzworld.com, Mona has had a diverse international experience building global brands at Procter & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson MENA and Johnson and Johnson Europe.
Alawi, CEO of Red Sea Markets Co, is the owner of the 1.2 million sqft Red Sea Mall, the largest shopping Mall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Prior to this, he was the vice-president of asset management-KSA in Majid Al-Futtaim (MAF) Property and country head of MAF Shopping Malls Co.
Michael joined Dubai Duty Free in 2000 and has held position of duty manager, manager – merchandise and manager – retail sales. Prior to joining Dubai Duty Free, Michael worked with THE One for 3 years in Abu Dhabi and Dubai where he was part of the team that set up the Abu Dhabi and Dubai retail outlets. Prior to locating to the UAE in 1996 Michael was a buyer for men’s fashion with the EDGARS group in South Africa.
Mark Thomson is an international marketing expert with experience in leading senior teams and driving strategic direction with strong focus on alignment of sales and marketing goals to create a synergistic customer centric approach to business growth. Thomson’s previous work experience includes sales training at Royal Sun Alliance and various managerial positions at Zebra Technologies and Motorola Solutions.
Maher has over 14 years of experience in the world of software technologies and ERP. His international experience in Arabia and entire MENA region, building and rolling out global ERP projects, has given him both a global vision and local expertise. Maher possesses strong leadership qualities and management skills to impact and influence positive changes in an organization.
Maarten Jan de Wit
Maarten-Jan de Wit leads all industry go-to-market activities for SAP MENA in retail. In this role he is one the driving thought leaders working closely with SAP EMEA industry team, customers and partners aligning their business strategies with SAP’s solution fit. Prior to assuming his current role, Maarten-Jan worked as an IT consultant in Europe and the US, focusing primarily on the retail industry. In his 15 years of professional experience in IT in the Retail industry, Maarten-Jan has held a variety of positions working for prominent Dutch retail companies such as Praxis, KPN Retail and V&D department stores as well as renowned international retailers like Carrefour, Limited Brands, Burberry and Reebok.
Lennard has more than 9 years of experience in the leisure industry in the UAE & Middle East having worked for some of the big names in the region such as Jumeirah Group, Atlantis the Palm, Majid Al Futtaim, and John Buck International. Lennard’s key focus areas are pre-opening and ongoing management of recreational facilities.
Leigh Regan heads the management team at BurJuman and its sister retail establishment Reef Mall. Regan moved to Dubai from Shanghai, China, where he oversaw the development of several landmark shopping centres. Prior to this, he oversaw a number of shopping centres in various stages of development and operation in Indonesia and served as national portfolio asset manager retail for Jones Lang LaSalle and then as GM of a regional shopping centre in Australia.
Khurshid Vakil is co-founder of Marina Home Interiors retail chain and remains at the fore front of the company’s acquisition, expansion and brand building strategy and its vision to take the brand forward globally through company owned operations as well as its continued franchise roll out plan. Born in India and having lived and worked in Switzerland, Spain and Dubai, Vakil understands cross cultural influences very well and can be vividly seen coexisting in his company's corporate culture and in the design harmony of its product mix that the sprawling Marina Home showrooms feature.
Jeremy Johnston has over 35 years experience in international retailing. He has managed and developed own brand and franchised businesses in the UK, Europe, America and the Middle East and has board level expertise in the fashion, footwear, accessories, lingerie, body care and perfume retail sectors. As the CEO of Zohoor Alreef, Jeremy has upgraded and modernized the business and its proprietary brands. The company has quadrupled in size and profitability and Zohoor Alreef will end 2014 with more than 250 locations across the GCC and Morocco.
As co-founder of online fashion store Namshi.com in 2012, Hosam is currently driving the company’s transition into becoming a household fashion brand across the region. Prior to this, Hosam worked in private equity with Waha Capital in Abu Dhabi, a regional project management role at GE, as well as a project engineer post, with responsibility across Europe and Africa, at Schlumberger.
Hari Kesavan is a seasoned serial entrepreneur and technology executive with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He was the senior vice president of emerging business & technologies at NTT DoCoMo’s subsidiaries in the US. He founded two successful technology companies over the last 12 years. Kesavan was the founder, CEO & CTO of Percipia, Inc in Columbus, Ohio and InterContinental Software Solutions in the US and India. Percipia was a pioneer in launching the first IP Telephony solution from Cisco to the hospitality market globally. Kesavan grew Percipia from a small technology startup to a publicly traded company. Prior to his entrepreneurial stint, Kesavan was a senior scientist in GEC Picker International (now Phillips Medical Systems) in Cleveland, Ohio. He was later promoted to lead the international business division in the Asia-Pacific region for Picker.
Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen has led Grand Cinemas’ growth over the preceding year, and will continue to successfully lead the transition to the recently launched, rebranded Novo Cinemas. Prior to her current role, Kristiansen served as vice president for global sales at Regent Exhibitions - IMEX Frankfurt, CEO of Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Centre, and CEO of events@Bahrain.
Padoa, who graduated from the faculty of architecture in Milan, is the CEO of London-based Design International. While working as design director in Indonesia, he lectured on architecture at the Trisakty University. Padoa’s considerable development experience and project leadership ensures the production of splendid architecture and commercially successful projects.
Amit joined KPMG India in Jan 2014 and has since started building KPMG's data & analytics capability for leading clients in India. Prior to this, Amit was a partner and managing director with Accenture Management Consulting where he led the global consulting practice for advance analytics, customer insights, sales and marketing transformation.
Alexander John Andarakis, founder and managing director of Andarakis Advisory Services, is a prominent marketing and leadership professional with over 25 years of local, regional and international experience with multi-nationals, large regional and publicly listed companies across Australasia, MENA and Turkey.
Recently appointed executive creative director for EMEA, Lennox directs creative output and strategy for FITCH’s biggest studio. Joining FITCH as a junior environmental designer in the late 90s, Lennox worked his way up evolving a broad spectrum of design skills. He is known to bring a brand’s unique personality to life and overcome complex challenges.
A qualified technocrat as well as a seasoned IT professional with over 20 years of IT experience, mostly in Kuwait, AbdulKhader initiated his career as a systems analyst and progressed as project manager, IT manager, group IT manager, IT manager - application and finally as IT Director for various industry sectors, specializing in IT operations, IT governance and IT roadmap definition.
Anoop is an experienced shopping mall industry professional with over nine years experience in the Middle East. He started his career in the shopping mall industry with Line Investments & Property (LIP) in the Leasing department. During his career with LIP, Anoop has managed to successfully lease 10 projects; 4.2 million sqft gla which includes Khalidiyah Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Al Raha Mall, Mazyad Mall, Madinat Zayed extension, and Mushrif Mall in Abu Dhabi; Ramli Mall in Bahrain; Al Foah Mall in Al Ain; LuLu Mall in India; and LuLu Mall in Fujairah.