KPMG Saudi Arabia appoints Wadih AbouNasr as its new head of tax

30 October 2018 3 min. read

KPMG in Saudi Arabia has appointed experienced local tax leader Wadih AbouNasr as its new head of tax – as the region’s tax system continues to evolve and grow more complex

A long-time partner of PwC’s tax division in the Middle East with close to 30 years of professional experience, Wadih AbouNasr has crossed to rival Big Four firm KPMG Al Fozan & Partners in Riyadh as its new Head of Tax for the Saudi Levant region. AbouNasr’s appointment follows the recent elevation of Ismail Alani to head up KPMG Saudi Arabia’s Public Sector practice.

With expertise in international tax, value-added tax (VAT), tax deals and tax operations and technology among other areas, AbouNasr has amassed nearly three decades of experience across North America and Middle East since graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting from Concordia University in Quebec – including the last dozen years spent with PwC in various senior roles out of the firm’s branches in the UAE, Lebanon, and Qatar.

At PwC, AbouNasr served as the firm’s chief operating officer (COO) for its Middle East tax line (based between Beirut and Dubai), country senior partner for the Doha office in Qatar, and Middle East tax transformation leader out of Dubai, as well as the firm’s regional tax risk and quality leader and tax relationship partner for key multinationals. Prior to PwC, AbouNasr was for nine and a half years as partner of BKR AbouNasr and served as an instructor at the American University of Beirut.KPMG Saudi Arabia appoints Wadih AbouNasr as its new head of tax“We are extremely delighted to have Wadih AbouNasr joining our team,” said KPMG Al Fozan & Partners Chairman Abdullah Al Fozan, who also serves as the current chair of KPMG MESA, which includes 14 countries in the Gulf, Levant and South Asia. AbouNasr responded in kind, noting the exciting period ahead for the region as the local tax system evolves, such as with the ongoing roll-out of VAT across the GCC.

“The changing market dynamics bring multiple challenges for regional businesses and so our emphasis will be on providing clear, concise and effective advice on all tax-related matters ranging from corporate tax and Zakat, M&A tax, international tax issues, as well VAT,” AbouNasr said. “As the tax landscape gets increasingly complex, our focus will include assisting our clients in managing their tax function and risks through the use of efficient delivery models and technology, thus reinforcing our position as the region's top professional service providers."

Al Fozan continued; “Wadih’s wealth of experience and market knowledge will play a key role in ensuring synchronization and putting our Tax market presence across the Saudi Levant region synergy in action. We welcome Wadih to the KPMG family and wish him a successful tenure with us… His appointment strengthens our tax advisory services and validates our aim to continue delivering top-tier service to our clients.”

The appointment follows that of Swiss national and long-time EY partner and tax leader Barbara Henzen as KPMG’s Head of Tax in Qatar, while KPMG Lower Gulf (the UAE and Oman) recently named consulting leader Nader Haffar as its new CEO. More than 100 KPMG partners are expected to gather next week for the firm’s MESA partners’ conference held in Bahrain (which will mark its 50th anniversary), including a visit from global chairman Bill Thomas.