THE CHAIRMAN SUMMIT – The role of board dire...

THE CHAIRMAN SUMMIT – The role of board directors is crucial to driving change and executing on Vision 2030

Saudi Aramco and the GCC Board Directors Institute conclude the 4th Chairman Summit in Riyadh

Riyadh, 2 October 2016 – More than 70 chairmen and board directors convened in Riyadh today (Sunday) at the 4th Chairman Summit, organised by the GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI) in partnership with Saudi Aramco.
His Excellency, Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), inaugurated the summit with keynote remarks, followed by a discussion with the audience which was moderated by Mohammed Al Shroogi, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Investcorp, and Chairman, GCC BDI.

His Excellency, Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, commented: “Board membership is no longer an honourary position. Holding a directorship demands responsibility and accountability to all. It is a crucial time of social change in a changing world and that places the focus on board directors to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and to put in place the right systems and processes to deliver change.”

“Despite the challenges existing in today’s economy, GCC governments are looking ahead and working at full capacity towards fast-approaching national visions. A key element of realising these visions is the support and strength of local businesses and this can only be achieved with a well-prepared and active board of directors that will help drive economic diversification,” said Jane Valls, Executive Director at Board Directors Institute (BDI).
“Through our annual Chairman Summit, we have created a platform for Board members and industry experts to share knowledge and experiences as well as introduce international best practice in our efforts to enhance corporate governance standards in the GCC.”

With the uncertainty in GCC economies created mainly by low oil prices, high profile chairmen from across the GCC and international expert panellists exchanged views at the GCC Board Directors Institute Chairman Summit on the current issues facing leadership and best practice under the theme “Leading the board through changing times.”
The Summit featured two panel discussions titled “Staying ahead – the board’s role,” and “How to get the best from the board.”

Peter Breen, chairman Middle East at Heidrick & Struggles, said: “Most boards around the world are a product of their history rather than their future. In order to drive change boards need to benefit from hindsight, oversight and foresight. The composition of boards needs greater diversity and be especially inclusive of a younger generation.”

The theme of diversity was echoed by Dr. Khalid Al Faddagh, board audit committee member at Saudi Telecom Company, who commented: “Too often boards run through an academic exercise of what they are required to do as opposed to what they need to do when facing practical realities. A chairman needs to operate like the coach of sports team and ensure that he picks the right players with the relevant diversity and experience to build a winning team within a governance, risk and compliance framework.”

The summit also discussed the impact of cybersecurity in managing risk. Wael Fattouh, partner, PwC Middle East, said: “Loss of data is the greatest risk facing any organisation today. The concept of cybersecurity used to be about placing a firewall on the company server, effectively locking the doors and building a wall around the premises.

“Today company’s can potentially lose data every time an employee walks out of the office with a smartphone or a laptop. When a data breach happens like that which happened to Yahoo! recently, it isn’t the IT manager or the CIO which faces the media, it is the chief executive officer or the chairman who is held accountable.
“The role of the board is to challenge the CIO on the level of resilience of the organisation to a cyberattack. It’s not a question of if but when, and resilience depends on people, process and technology.”

Other panelists included Tarek Elmasry, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, Middle East; Zeyad Khoshaim, Allen & Overy; Taha El Kuwaiz Chairman, Derayah; Sabah Al Moayyed, Managing Partner of Intellect Resources Management, Bahrain; and Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors UK.

GCC BDI is the pre-eminent not-for-profit institute in the GCC with a focus on helping boards become more effective so that organizations perform better and grow.
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About the GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI)

Launched in 2007, the GCC Board Directors Institute (GCC BDI) is a not-for-profit organization that guides board directors of organizations, from family-owned businesses to listed companies, to acquire the know-how and the tools to reach and sustain effective governance.

BDI was founded by four leading regional corporations – Investcorp, SABIC, Saudi Aramco and Emirates NBD – and it is supported by five advisory firms: Allen & Overy, Heidrick &
Struggles, McKinsey & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, as well as regional regulatory authorities: the Emirates Security and Commodities Authority of the UAE, the Capital Market Authorities of both Saudi Arabia and Oman, the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

GCC BDI now works with nearly 700 alumni members who benefit from a network of business leaders and a variety of workshops designed for senior directors. Notably, the Institute hosts an annual Chairman Summit that brings together regional leaders and actors to explore the evolving role and value of Boards as well as appropriate corporate governance standards.

Today the Institute is globally recognized and the only Directors Institute from the region to be admitted to the Global Network of Directors Institute.

We encourage you to visit the Institute’s website at to learn more and get involved with the GCC BDI. Or, write to us directly at:

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Mohammad Doughan
Senior Account Manager
Phone: + 966 55 9368 665