KPMG in Saudi Arabia promotes Ismail Alani to Head of Public Sector

06 August 2018

The Saudi branch of KPMG has appointed Ismail Alani as the new Head of its Public Sector practice.

Promoted internally, Alani has been with KPMG Al Fozan & Partners for the most part of ten years, joining originally in 2007 before a three year stint as a business planning & operations officer with Microsoft from 2011 – rejoining the Big Four firm in 2014 as a Director, Management Consulting. Alani shifted to the firm’s Public Sector practice the following year, making Partner in 2016. He first started out as a consultant with Accenture in 2002.

Now Alani will be responsible for heading up the local public sector practice for KPMG at a time when the Saudi Arabian consulting market is tipped to return to double-digit growth, and as the Saudi government is reportedly moving to consolidate its various advisory channels per ministry into highly lucrative singular consulting contracts. As it stands, the public sector accounts for nearly a third of the consulting spend in the region.

Alani has been tasked with driving the firm’s public sector strategy as it supports several government agencies with their economic and social transformation endeavours under the Kingdom's bold and wide-ranging Vision 2030 agenda, with everything from digitisation and cybersecurity to privatisation and the development of new government entities.

“Our main driver for prioritising our efforts and investments stems from our belief in the criticality of achieving Vision 2030 and our national commitment as a firm to support its objectives at this critical stage,” Alani said. “We plan to do so by building a long-term partnership with the Public Sector, and adopting what suits the Kingdom in terms of successful international experiences.”KPMG in Saudi Arabi appoints Ismail Alani head of public sectorAbdullah Al Fozan, Chairman of KPMG Middle East & South Asia, said of Alani’s promotion; “The appointment of Eng. Ismail will help enrich our partnerships with the Public Sector, which we look forward to sustain and develop through his relevant experience around the region. Eng. Ismail has over 16 years of experience in management consulting and transformation programmes. He has contributed to the establishment and support of many projects – from conceptualisation and development to implementation and roll-out."

Al Fozan further noted that Alani’s promotion was in line with the firm’s focus in the Middle East on developing local talent for leadership roles, part of a broader regional effort and set of initiatives toward ‘nationalisation’ – that is, promoting the employment of nationals, especially in the private sector, known locally as ‘Saudisation’. “At KPMG, we have set our sights on supporting qualified national talent to lead the key sectors in the firm,” Al Fozan stated.

As an example, KPMG in the neighbouring Kingdom of Bahrain recently celebrated its 99th local staff-member achieving professional auditing and accounting certification with the support of the firm’s Jassim Fakhro Fund, while KPMG in Qatar has partnered with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy – the agency responsible for overseeing the 2022 FIFA World Cup – to develop home-grown capacity in the local event sector through training and certification.

KPMG Al Fozan & Partners itself has over 1,200 audit, tax and advisory professionals based across Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar, bringing a mix of both local and international expertise. Alani says: “What distinguishes KPMG in Saudi Arabia is our team mix of talented professionals and experienced functional consultants in the Saudi market. The team also includes global experts in most of the priority sectors.”

Recently, the firm announced the establishment of a dedicated Research and Economic unit in the capital Riyadh to be led by KPMG’s Chief Economist in Saudi Arabia Hussein Abusaaq, aimed at providing investors with in-depth sector-specific research analysis on the local economic climate. The Riyadh team has also initiated plans to relocate to a new office in the city’s Business Front project, looking to support ongoing growth, which for KPMG in the wider region was booked at 12.7 percent last year.

Carlos Ghosn's daughters get their career starts in strategy consulting

16 April 2019

With the Ghosn affair taking yet another twist, this time concerning allegations in Oman, the world’s media remains gripped.

A highly celebrated figure in Lebanon, the case of ex-Nissan and now ex-Renault head Carlos Ghosn has captivated the media round the world, with his re-arrest and detainment in Japan on further embezzlement charges last week – this time concerning allegations in Oman – delivering the latest twist in the saga. For his part, Ghosn continues to deny the charges, labeling the latest allegations of financial impropriety as “outrageous and arbitrary”.

Much of the media fascination stems from Ghosn’s remarkable story. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Brazil, Ghosn spent much of his youth in Lebanon before moving to Paris to pursue an engineering degree – and in almost no time arriving at the very top of the global automotive industry as a feted turn-around specialist, having rescued both Renault and Nissan from probable ruin. The other factor; a cultivated lifestyle of celebrity glamour.

Front and centre in that image was Ghosn’s young family, including a son Anthony and three daughters – Caroline, Maya and Nadine – who have all grown into their own spotlight in the international business and entrepreneurial worlds. And in line with that A-list background, all three of his daughters got their career starts at the crème de la crème of the strategy and management consulting world; prestigious MBB firms McKinsey & Company and BCG.The Ghosn family affair with the international consulting sector  The eldest Ghosn daughter, Caroline, joined McKinsey in 2007 following a BA in International Relations at Stamford University – before founding professional career network Levo in 2011 with three of her McKinsey associates. Her husband, Nicholas Flanders, CEO and co-founder of carbon reduction tech-company Opus 12, (and former COO of Levo), is likewise an alumnus of McKinsey – serving for three and a half years alongside Ghosn in the firm’s New York office.

Carlos Ghosn’s second daughter got her start at Boston Consulting Group.  A regonised name in luxury fashion as the founder and creative director of Nadine Ghosn Fine Jewelry, her brand counts and Beyoncé and the recently deceased fashion icon Karl Largerfeld among its celebrity clientele. At BCG, Nadine, who also graduated Stamford, served as an associate in the firm’s luxury and consumer goods practice before joining a management programme at Hermès.

Like her eldest sister, Ghosn’s youngest daughter Maya joined McKinsey’s New York office – spending over three years there as an engagement manager before departing in 2016. Maya is now Manager, Housing Affordability for the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan to promote social equality. Incidentally, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, a former McKinsey consultant, has been a mentor to Caroline and also founded, where Maya first started out as an intern.

Carlos Ghosn’s son Anthony – who has now been embroiled in his father’s affair with accusations of money being funneled via Oman toward his financial services start-up, Shogun (where he is CEO but has not been accused of any direct involvement) – didn’t get his break at an MBB, but his step-brother, Anthony Marshi, the son of Carlos Ghosn’s second wife Carole Nahas, is a partner with BCG in New York according to French newspaper Le Figaro.