Editorial – 2019 | Issue 2

Dear GCC BDI member,

We have lots of exciting news for you in this edition.

First of all, I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Mohammed Subaie as GCC BDI’s Ambassador for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As former Auditor General at the world’s largest private company, Saudi Aramco, Mohammed has a wealth of knowledge to bestow upon us and is a hugely valuable addition to the team.

This issue features practical insights from Gaby Hakim, Chief Legal Officer at National Bank of Bahrain – discover how he found working on different projects with GCC BDI here.

Khalid Mohamed Kanoo looks back on a year of change at Yousuf bin Ahmed Kanoo Group here.

Catherine L. Zych also provides useful hints and tips on how to prepare for a first year as a listed company in her article: Anticipating what comes after the IPO. Click here to learn more.


GCC BDI is delighted to announce that we have a forged number of new alliances in recent months.

In February 2019 we welcomed NBK Capital, as our new Corporate Affiliate. Click here for further detail.

Next, we signed an alliance with Nasdaq Governance Solutions in March 2019. Click here for detail.

Finally, we have very recently welcomed The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB) as our latest Corporate Affiliate. More news on this will follow in our next newsletter, please stay connected.

We look forward to working together with all these highly respected partners to further strengthen corporate governance and board effectiveness across the GCC.


The first few months of 2019 were packed with events for GCC BDI.

Firstly, we hosted the Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI) conference in Dubai from 12-15 March at the offices of our founder, Allen & Overy. The four-day event convened 30 CEOs and senior executives from 19 GNDI member institutes from around the world, including the GCC, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland, the EU, Russia, South Africa, Mauritius, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia. GCC BDI hosted a packed schedule of events, from executive and policy meetings to a strategy workshop, half day forum and desert safari, click here to learn more.

Next we hosted a members’ networking event in Bahrain on Tuesday 19 March and were delighted to welcome over 40 attendees to the Capital Club, Manama. The event was kindly sponsored by Al Tamimi and involved introductions from Mutlaq Al-Morished and Jane Valls, followed by a presentation from Al Tamimi and Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism (MOICT) on ‘Maximising company value: An Overview of the new MOICT Corporate Governance Charter’.

In early April we held a members’ networking dinner in Riyadh, kindly sponsored by one of our founders, SABIC. This was held at Tugra Restaurant, Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski, Riyadh and we welcomed over 40 of our members and guests to this event. We were also delighted to host GCC BDI’s KSA Ambassador Mohammed Subaie as our guest speaker for the evening, where he discussed his experiences as the former Auditor General of Saudi Aramco. The two-day Foundations of Directorship workshop which followed was also kindly sponsored by SABIC and was attended by 26 participants from leading Gulf companies.

In the same week, Asharqia Chamber of Commerce and GCC BDI held the Corporate Governance in Family Business Forum in Dammam, which welcomed over 180 attendees and featured a number of presentations and panels covering the latest trends and best practices in family governance. We were delighted to have corporate governance expert Professor Bob Garrett as our guest speaker.

From 16-18 April 2019 Marcus Evans hosted their 11th Annual Board Secretary Conference which was themed ‘Innovation Meets Governance’. Jane Valls was a speaker at this event and discussed how to perfect board composition for optimum effectiveness, as well as the value of independent directors and the latest trends in effective corporate governance.

Finally, the third annual conference on corporate governance was held at the end of April at Al-Faisal University in Riyadh. This event was hosted by the Corporate Governance Center (CGC) and featured a panel discussion with a number of high profile speakers, including Executive Director Jane Valls and GCC BDI Senior Associate, Dr Chris Pierce. At this event the latest rankings for financial year 2017 of the Corporate Governance Index (CGI) were announced and awards for the top performers issued. Click here to see the top performing companies for 2017 and here to learn more about the CGI.


GCC BDI has now launched its new flagship Director Certification Programme, in association with The Financial Academy in KSA. The launch marks the commencement of a programme that encompasses the core knowledge and awareness necessary to function effectively as a director. Learn more here.

Specially designed for the GCC BDI by Dr Chris Pierce, CEO of Global Governance Services and former Director of Professional Standards at the Institute of Directors in the UK, the programme provides a structured roadmap for director development.

Tailored to directors in the GCC region, the modules focus on knowledge, understanding, skills, mindsets, attitudes and values.

About the Director Development Programme

The first stage of the programme is The World of Directorship, the Certificate in Board Directorship course.

Upon completing the four modules and passing the assessment test, The Financial Academy and GCC BDI will award the successful participants with the Certified Director (Cert.Dir.) title. A Cert.Dir. can further advance their development with the Mastering the Boardroom diploma, followed by the Chartered Director module.

If you would like to know more about becoming a certified director, please download our brochure here or contact us at getinvolved@gccbdi.org


 July 31–August 1: Finance for Non-Finance Directors, Dubai, UAE.

Our next workshop will be our upcoming Finance for Non-Finance Directors workshop on 31 July- 1st August in Dubai. This workshop is a practical and highly interactive two day programme aimed at board directors, board secretaries or C-Suite executives who sit on a board and who wish to improve their financial acumen. Jean Pousson will be leading the programme –  he brings with him 20 years of management consultancy, training, facilitation and coaching experience and is the lead course leader for Finance for Non-Financial Directors at the IoD (UK). Register here

Other upcoming events which may be of interest include:

September 15­–19: Certified Board Secretaries Programme: The Board Secretary Role – Shareholders and Other Stakeholders. Manama, Bahrain.

September 24­–25: Certified Board Director Programme: The Effective Director, Riyadh, KSA.

October 7: Networking Dinner, Dhahran, KSA.

October 8–9: Foundations of Directorship, Dhahran, KSA.


Finally, in order to serve our members in the best way possible, we are excited to soon be launching an all-new GCC BDI website. The new site will launch in summer 2019, with a brand new CRM system, clean look, improved navigation and expanded functionality.

Sending wishes on this holy month that may you and your family be blessed with joy, togetherness and happiness. Ramadan Mubarak.

With very best wishes,

Jane Valls