Gassan Al-Kibsi and Nader Haffar in board of new Dubai chamber

03 August 2021 4 min. read

Dubai’s government has announced the members of its newly established Dubai International Chamber, appointing two leaders from the consulting industry: McKinsey’s Gassan Al-Kibsi and KPMG’s Nader Haffar. 

The newly-formed Dubai International Chamber was formally launched in March, and is part of a broader plan to boost economic development in Dubai developed under the guidance of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

One of three new Chambers, Dubai International Chamber will “work towards achieving our plan to boost Dubai’s foreign trade to $544 billion (AED2) trillion within the next five years”, said Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in a release. “The chamber seeks to strengthen partnerships with global corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs and boost Dubai’s status as a major trade hub.” 

Board members of Dubai International Chamber

At the heart of the objective is expanding Dubai’s status as a “favourite regional destination for global corporations”, with 30 high-priority international markets identified as key targets. “The Chamber will attract companies, global investors and entrepreneurs to key business sectors in Dubai,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai International Chamber.

The Chamber will also focus on helping national jewels with international expansion. “Through integrated plans, the Chamber will support the expansion of companies abroad.”

Expanding Dubai’s trade and logistics hub is another goal. Ahmed bin Sulayem: “The chamber will promote the opportunities that Dubai offers in facilitating the flow of international trade including its strategic logistics hub, advanced ports and airports.”

The board of directors

Leading the new top government board is a group of 18 executives, accomplished leaders from all over the world and with varying backgrounds. Among them are Gassan Al-Kibsi, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company in the Middle East, and Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO of KPMG in the Lower Gulf (UAE and Oman). 

Gassan Al-Kibsi has been with McKinsey for over 20 years, having joined its Washington, DC, office in 1997. In 2000, he moved to the Middle East as a founding member of McKinsey’s office in the Middle East. Formerly a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Al-Kibsi currently leads a team of 60 partners and more than 800 colleagues across the region. He works across the public, private, and social sectors across. 

Nader Haffar has been with KPMG since 2012, when he joined the firm as Head of its Management Consulting business in the UAE and Oman. In 2018 he was elevated to Chairman and CEO of KPMG in the Lower Gulf. He previously served Deloitte for sixteen years and PwC for three years. Recognised by Forbes as a top CEO in the UAE three years ago, Haffar specialises in strategic government transformation programs and energy and natural resources. 

The full list of members on Dubai International Chamber’s board of directors are:

- Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (chairman)
- Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
- Stephen Moss, Regional Chief Executive Officer Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at HSBC
- May Nasrallah, Founder and Executive Chairman of deNovo Corporate Advisors
- Gassan Al-Kibsi, Managing Partner for the Middle East at McKinsey & Company
- Mark Willis, CEO Middle East and Africa at Accor
- Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO of KPMG in the Lower Gulf
- Remy Ejel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at Nestlé
- Habib Al Mulla, Executive Chairman of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla
- Nabil Habayeb, Senior Vice President at General Electric, and President & CEO of GE International Markets
- Sanjiv Kakkar, Executive Vice President MENA, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus at Unilever
- Elissar Farah Antonios, MENA Cluster Head & CEO of Citibank
- Julia Onslow-Cole, ‏Partner and Global Government Strategies & Compliance at Fragomen
- Rani Raad, President of CNN Worldwide Commercial
- Anuj Ranjan, Managing Partner, CEO South Asia and Middle East at Brookfield
- Shukri Eid, Managing Director Gulf Region at Cisco
- Ahmad Alkhallafi, ‏Managing Director UAE at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Rola Abu Manneh, ‏CEO UAE of Standard Chartered Bank

The Dubai International Chamber has also appointed a 20-plus strong advisory council, which includes Tim Clark, ‏President of Emirates Airline; Eugene Willemsen, ‏CEO, Africa, Middle East, South Asia at PepsiCo; Raja Trad, ‏Executive Chairman of Publicis Groupe Middle East; Tarek Rizk, President Middle East & North Africa at Schlumberger; and Bernard Dunn, President of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

The other two new Chambers are Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy. All three Chambers coordinate within a comprehensive framework, under an overarching Dubai Chambers, to ensure alignment and synergies.