Eqypt's Orascom: Six key people

02 May 2008

The six most important people at Egyptian conglomerate Orascom Group: Onsi Sawiris, Naguib Sawiris, Samih Sawiris, Nassef Sawiris, Emad Farid and Osama Bishai.

Onsi Sawiris

Position: Chairman, Orascom Construction Industries

Biography: Onsi Sawiris is the founder of the Orascom Group, one of the largest and most successful conglomerates in Egypt. Born in 1930 in Sohag in Upper Egypt, he studied Agricultural Engineering at Cairo University. After graduating, he turned his attention to the construction industry, and in 1950 started a contracting firm. In the early 1960s, the firm was nationalised and Sawiris worked as a director in the company. After this nationalisation, Sawiris was instructed not to leave the country, but five years later he was allowed to leave and moved to Libya, only to return to Egypt and re-establish his firm in 1976. He was president of Orascom until its incorporation as Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) in 1998. He also serves as a director of Orascom Telecom Holding, Orascom Hotels & Development, Misr Exterior Bank and American International Group Egypt.

Contact: (+202) 2461 1111

Naguib Sawiris

Position: Chairman and CEO, Orascom Telecom Holding

Biography: Naguib Sawiris, the eldest son of Onsi Sawiris, joined the family business in 1979. Since 1997, he has headed Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) and is also chairman of Orascom Technology Solutions. In 2005, Naguib established Weather Investments
and acquired a majority stake in Italy’s Wind Telecommunications, becoming its chairman. He later took over Greece’s Tim Hellas, rebranding it as Wind Hellas. In November 2006, Sawiris completed the buyout of Wind Telecommunications, giving OTH 98 per cent ownership. Since 2005, he has been a member of the international advisory committee to the New York Stock Exchange board of directors. He is a member of the international advisory board to the National Bank of Kuwait and president of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry & Commerce.

Contact: (+202) 2461 5050

Samih Sawiris

Position: Chairman and CEO, Orascom Hotels & Development

Biography: Samih is the middle son of Orascom founder Onsi Sawiris. He is chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Orascom Hotels & Development (OHD), which develops, constructs and manages leisure and residential towns in Egypt as well as overseas. In 1989, El-Gouna on the Red Sea became OHD’s flagship development. Since then, its projects have included Taba Heights on the Gulf of Aqaba and the Tala Bay Aqaba resort in Jordan. Other resorts are being developed in Oman, and Samih has been granted rare permission to develop a luxury resort in Switzerland, in the Alpine village of Andermatt. He has also launched a project for low-income housing units in 6 October City and El-Fayoum. Born in 1957, he attended the German School in Cairo before graduating from the Technical University in Berlin in 1980 with a diploma in economic engineering.

Contact: (+202) 2461 8999

Nassef Sawiris

Position: CEO, Orascom Construction Industries

Biography: The youngest son of Onsi Sawiris, Nassef was appointed CEO and director of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) in 1998. He had already overseen Orascom’s construction division for eight years prior to that. OCI is an engineering, procurement and construction contractor operating in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. In 1999, 40 per cent of the company was sold off in an initial public offering. In 2007, OCI divested its cement business to Lafarge and Nassef Sawiris now sits on the French company’s board of directors. He is also a member of the ruling National Democratic Party’s business secretariat, the American Chamber of Commerce, the German-Arab Chamber of Industry & Commerce and the Young President’s Club. Nassef Sawiris was born in 1961. He attended the German International School in Cairo before moving to the US, where he obtained a degree in economics.

Contact: (+202) 2461 1111

Emad Farid

Position: Chief operating officer, Orascom Telecom Holding

Biography: Emad Farid joined the Orascom group in 1992. He held various managerial positions within the company until he was appointed to the position of chief operating officer of Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) in 2000. OTH established its Syrian subsidiary, Syriatel, one year later as a joint venture with local firm Drex, which owned 75 per cent. Farid was put at the helm of the new company and became its CEO. In 2003, Orascom pulled out of this joint venture after a long-running dispute, with OTH alleging that Drex was seeking total management control. As well as holding the post of group chief operating officer of OTH, Farid is chairman and a board member of many of its subsidiaries. OTH is 51 per cent owned by the Sawiris family. The remainder of its shares are traded on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges and the London Stock Exchange.

Contact: (+202) 2461 5050

Osama Bishai

Position: Director, Orascom Construction Industries

Biography: Osama Bishai began his career at Orascom in 1985 when he joined the group’s technical department. When Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) was incorporated in 1998, he became a member of the com-pany’s board of directors and currently serves as the managing director of the OCI construction group. Bishai was part of the team that established the construction division within OCI’s US subsidiary, Contrack International. He was instrumental in setting up OCI Algeria, OCI Nigeria and National Steel Fabrication and National Pipe Company. He also led the development of OCI’s fertiliser investments in Egypt and Algeria. Bishai was born in 1963 and holds dual Egyptian/US citizenship. He graduated from Cairo University with a degree in civil engineering. He also holds a construction management diploma from the American University in Cairo.

Contact: (+202) 2461 1111

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