UAE CEOs paired with students in leadership development program

A student workshop in progress during the CEOx1Day program.
Updated 29 August 2019

UAE CEOs paired with students in leadership development program

A contingent of business leaders from 16 UAE-based companies — ranging from Alabbar Enterprises, Dubai Airports and Dubai Opera through to The Lego Company and Nestle Middle East — have been paired with some of the country’s brightest young undergraduates in a development program designed to give the students insights into the working life of a CEO.
Managed by international executive search consultancy Odgers Berndtson, the CEOx1Day program, now in its second year, will match third- and fourth-year undergraduates from six leading UAE universities with CEOs from a diverse range of sectors. During a full working-day, each student will shadow their designated CEO to learn from today’s corporate leaders.
Carefully chosen from over 200 applicants, the final 16 students were selected following a multi-phased assessment and interview process, which included personality profiling, telephone interviews, group work, case studies, and one-on-one interviews with Odgers Berndtson’s consultants.
“Selected students will have the opportunity to shadow leaders from a range of sectors, all of which have vital roles to play in the UAE’s ongoing industrial and economic development,” said Mark Houghton, managing partner at Odgers Berndtson, Middle East. “The finalists shone through the selection process and we have high hopes that this year’s CEOx1Day will be a positive and rewarding experience for what is an accomplished 2019 cohort.”
Currently studying at the American University of Sharjah, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Middlesex University in Dubai, the University of Wollongong in Dubai, New York University Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi University, the 16 finalists have already received guidance from the Odgers Berndtson team on recruitment processes, team building and presentation skills.
Several of the CEOs involved in the scheme have already hailed it as a mutually beneficial experience.
“This is reverse mentoring in action,” explained Houghton. “Past students have told us how the scheme has brought the reality of business to life and seeded great respect for the CEOs in some of the tough day-to-day decision-making they have to undertake. Conversely, the CEOs say the students have given them new perspectives on a number of issues which have led to several innovative measures being pursued.”
The CEOx1Day shadowing will run from September through until the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

Updated 25 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

JEDDAH: With more than 300 of the Kingdom's most influential ICT leaders in attendance, the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2019 closed last week with a ceremony to mark the second edition of the IDC CIO Excellence Awards. At a time when innovation is becoming the hallmark of competitive success, the International Data Corporation sought to recognize the efforts of those individuals and organizations that have excelled in conceptualizing and delivering game-changing digital transformation initiatives across the Kingdom.

"CIOs are coming under mounting pressure to disrupt their organizations in a meaningful and constructive way, reinventing the experiences of customers, partners, and employees alike with the help of innovation-accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, and the Internet of Things," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's country manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "This pressure will see spending on digital transformation initiatives across the Middle East and Africa top $25 billion this year, so it's only right that the pioneering efforts of the kingdom's most successful and innovative digital leaders are highlighted and publicly acknowledged in this way."

IDC had been accepting nominations across 3 categories since August and received a total of 50 submissions from 31 different organizations. IDC's CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia then reviewed the nominations, with the winners and finalists in each category as follows:

CIO of the Year

Winner: Dr. Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense

Finalists: Mohammed AlEnazi – Fawaz Alhokair Fashion Retail; Yazeed Abdulallah Alotaibi – Ministry of Health; Eng. Motref AlSahli – Ministry of Communications & Information Technology; Eng. Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain – Ministry of Civil Service


CISO of the Year

Winner: Ala I. Asali – Arab National Bank

Finalists: Darweesh Nasser Al-Buainain – SATORP; Jad H. Abdulsalam – Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden)


Excellence in Digital Innovation

Winner: BinDawood Group

Finalists: National Water Company; Umm Al-Qura University; National Housing Company

The following members of the IDC CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia were part of the judging process:

  • Ali Al-Asiri, Chief Executive Officer, e-Government Program, Yesser
  • Ibrahim Almoqbil, Chief Support Services Officer, General Entertainment Authority
  • Jason Roos, Chief Information Officer, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology
  • Hisham S. Hammami, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Hajj & Umrah 

Al-Asiri was also the CIO Summit's keynote speaker. During his speech he urged public sector organizations in the Kingdom to enter the next stage of their digital transformation journeys by moving beyond the provision of e-government services and into the realms of 'Smart Government'.

Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain, deputy minister of Digital Transformation at the Ministry of Civil Service, also addressed the audience, delivering a fascinating insight into the positive impact that his ministry's successful digital transformation initiative has had on operational excellence across the broader sphere of government.

Alongside e-Government Program, Yesser (Strategic Partner), the Ministry of Civil Service (Government Partner), and Oracle (Summit Partner), IDC's valued partners for the Saudi Arabia Summit 2019 included: Microsoft, Genesys, UiPath, Blue Prism, SAS (in partnership with Intel), Automation Anywhere, Google Cloud, Aruba, and NXN as Platinum Partners; Carbon Black, Attivo Networks, MIS, AEC, Sage, Tenable, Cyberia, Mimecast, Veeam, Gigamon, HP Inc. (in partnership with Intel), Cloud4C, Rimini Street, and ACS as Focus Group Partners; IBM as Breakfast Partner; Lenovo (in partnership with Intel) and Qlik (in partnership with Digination) as Award Partners; OutSystems, DETASAD, T2, Msegate, Hawsabah, Sysprove Consulting, Equinix, ManageEngine, Indorse, and Freshworks as Exhibit Partners.IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. With a direct presence in Riyadh, IDC is closely aligned with Saudi Arabia's digital transformation initiatives and has supported numerous public and private sector organizations over the past 10 years. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit