Top consultant Walid Fayad is Lebanon’s Minister of Energy and Water

16 November 2021 4 min. read
More news on

In September, Lebanon’s political class finally put political bickering aside to install a new government, with the nation still in the grip of a severe economic and energy crisis. Helping address these challenges at the cabinet’s heart, long-time strategy consultant Walid Fayad has been installed as the country’s new Minister of Energy and Water.

Having picked up a Masters in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997, it is perhaps not surprising Walid Fayad soon found his way into the professional services world. Massachusetts is the spiritual home of American strategy consulting, with some of the world’s top firms including Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and Arthur D. Little having been established in Boston – and still being headquartered there.

Walid Fayad joined McKinsey & Company – the only member of the MBB not to be headquartered in Boston – and soon became an Associate, before exiting in 2002 to join Booz Allen Hamilton. Rising to the rank of Executive Vice President, he founded the consultancy’s MENA business during his 15-year stay with the firm.

Walid Fayad, Minister of Energy and Water, Republic of Lebanon

In the latter chapter of his consulting career, he took on the role of Managing Director Middle East and North Africa at Partners in Performance, an Australian-origin management consultancy.

Now, however, Walid Fayad has made a leap familiar to many other strategy consultants before him: one which has taken him into the world of politics. Chosen by President Michel Aoun, he will put his experience as a consultant, as well as his educational background in civil engineering, to use as Lebanon’s new Minister of Energy and Water.

Walid Fayad takes on the role at a time of deep crisis for Lebanon. Amid an unprecedented crash of the national currency, a liquidity crisis (Lebanese people can’t access the largest part of their bank accounts) and a political deadlock with both the Western world and Gulf region, the country is in a downward spiral with little immediate hope on improvement (the elections in March 2022 are hoped to be a turning point).

Meanwhile, the Mediterranean country – once known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ – is grappling with a crippling energy crisis, exacerbated by a dependency on fuel imports and crumbling infrastructure. These erratic power supplies have put hospitals and essential services in crisis mode, as blackouts could now leave entire areas with no more than two hours of state power a day, paralysing business and life.

This is having a knock-on impact on Lebanon’s water supply. Shortages of funding, fuel and supplies have affected water pumping, restricting people’s access to safe water. According to UNICEF, at least 70 percent of Lebanon’s population faces critical water shortages, particularly in the hottest months of the year.

A year of feuding over cabinet seats exacerbated Lebanon’s devastating economic collapse, as well as its inability to rebound from 2020’s catastrophic explosion in the Port of Beirut. The deadlock meant nothing was done while fuel shortages brought much of the country to a standstill, triggering numerous security incidents, with warnings of worse to come unless something was done.

In this context, the water and energy crises have been framed by some as the biggest threat to Lebanon's stability since the 1975-90 civil war, and as he is hoped to help turn them around, Walid Fayad is now in one of the country’s most important civil jobs.

The full line-up of ministers in the new government are:

Najib Mikati – Prime Minister
Saadeh al Shami – Deputy Prime Minister
Abbas Halabi – Minister of Education and Higher Education
George Qardahi – Minister of Information
Bassam Mawlawi – Minister of Interior
Firass Abyad – Minister of Public Health
Nasser Yassin – Minister of Environment
Amin Salam – Minister of Economy
Youssef Khalil – Minister of Finance
Ali Hamieh – Minister of Public Works
Moustafa Bayram – Minister of Labour
Abbas al Hajj Hassan – Minister of Agriculture
Mohammad Mortada – Minister of Culture
Issam Sharafeddine Chehayeb– Minister of the Displaced
Abdallah Abu Habib – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Johnny Corm – Minister of Telecommunications
Walid Nassar – Minister of Tourism
Henry Khoury – Minister of Justice
Walid Fayyad – Minister of Energy and Water
Brig. Gen. Maurice Slim – Minister of Defence
Hector Hajjar – Minister of Social Affairs
George Kallas – Minister of Youth and Sports
Najla Riachi – Minister of Administrative Development
George Boujikian – Minister of Industry