Saudi Arabia Future Investment Initiative summit gets underway

30 October 2019 3 min. read
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 The Saudi Future Investment Initiative conference has kicked-off, with a number of the world’s leading consultancies serving as Knowledge Partners for 2019.

With this year’s Saudi Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit now underway, its organisers and participating partners have after a particularly quiet build-up finally come to the party. As yet updated by the end of last week – four days before the scheduled start of the large-scale event – the FII website has now listed the event’s Knowledge Partners for 2019, made up of the Big Four and management consultancies Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, Sia Partners and Palladium.

Gone from last year’s list are McKinsey & Company – which has over the past year been heavily criticised for its activities in Saudi Arabia – and fellow American strategy & management leader Boston Consulting Group. The third of the MBB – Bain & Company – which was listed as a ‘Summit’ partner last year alongside Roland Berger, is also absent. Senior members from each of these firms will however be moderating a number of sessions in the ‘Taskforce’ series.

While the social media accounts of the MBB remain quiet on this front – despite the event programme being leaked in advance – a number of the participating consultancies have also now finally revealed the experts among them who will form a part of their delegations (noting that Ernst & Young at least hinted last week that its Global Telecommunications head Tom Loozen would be in attendance, along with MENA regional Consumer and TMT leader Ahmed Reda).KPMG, PwC, Strategy&, Oliver Wyman, Deloitte, EY, Palladium, Roland Berger and SiaPartnersLoozen – who assumed the role earlier this year – will moderate the ‘Connect’ taskforce session, examining mobile technology as a key engine of economic growth, with the firm to release its latest report looking into the digital economy potential for Saudi Arabia. The EY Global Telecommunications team has also contributed to the selection of thought materials published on the FII website – identifying in a report the top ten risks for telcos in 2019 and beyond.

Similar to last year, where the consultancies each led a particular focus area, the 2019 conference will see a leading member of each of the partners serve as a moderator for each of the taskforce sessions. Among the other Big Four, Deloitte will be represented by Middle East Strategy Analytics and M&A leader Rajeev Lalwani – moderating an AI-themed session – while KPMG has sent along its Global Head of Renewables Michael Hayes for a sustainable energy session.

Nicolas Mayer, Managing Partner for PwC’s Global Hospitality & Tourism CoE, will meanwhile lead a session on tourism innovation, joined at the event by Strategy& partner and MENA healthcare practice leader Walid Tohme, who together with PwC Middle East healthcare industries partner Hamish Clark will run a session on digital health and medical technology – with the pair also providing insights around the theme; preparing for ‘personalised medicine’.

From the traditional management consultancies, the ones serving as official partners; Roland Berger senior partner and Middle East digital technology leader Kushal Shah (Taskforce | Champions); Paris-based Oliver Wyman partner Guillaume Thibault (Taskforce | Move); and from Sia Partners – fresh off its 20th anniversary celebrations – Senior energy consultant Oussama Ajdor. Palladium CEO Chris Hirst and board ember Alonzo Fulgham will also lead a session: ‘Taskforce Eat.’