Voice of a GCC BDI member interview

Building the future

An interview with Zakareya Buallay, Board Secretary at Seef Properties

About Zakareya Buallay

Zakareya has been Board Secretary at Bahrain-headquartered Seef for eight years. Founded in 1999, Seef is a leading real estate development company with a vast portfolio of assets across the kingdom.

 Prior to his tenure at Seef, Zakareya held board secretary and management roles at Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill, one of the largest aluminium rolling mills in the Middle East.

Zakareya, what do you enjoy most about your role?

The role of board secretary offers a great opportunity to work with a variety of directors and executives. Through engaging with such a range of people, I learn how to relate to each and every one of them. The role also offers the opportunity to work at close range with management members.

What are the biggest challenges of your role?

The biggest challenges are: Facilitating the board of directors to agree to schedule a meeting date/time that fits within the regulatory limits and arranging the Annual General Assembly (AGA).

How has the role of board secretary evolved over the last few years?

I’ve been a board secretary for the last 11 years, so I have seen many changes from the regulatory side, corporate governance side and from within the board themselves – all these changes have been advantageous. Corporate governance is definitely progressing in the region.

How much of a role does the board secretary play in monitoring and improving the board’s corporate governance practices?

We play a huge role. The board sometimes takes decisions during their meetings that may not necessarily be in-line with corporate governance standards. So it’s my job as board secretary to remind them about regulations during meetings.

In your opinion, what factors contribute to a high performance board?

There are three main factors: Strong chairmanship during the board of directors meeting; positive contributions of all the board towards the organisation, and continued follow up.

How has the GCC BDI supported Seef so far?

To date, the Seef board has attended two GCC BDI workshops that were held in Manama, Bahrain. I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from the board directors who attended. Our board has a lot of respect for GCC BDI programmes and management.