Vishnu Sankaran

Position: Industry manager, Middle East and North Africa chemicals and materials practice, Frost & Sullivan

Biography: Based in Frost & Sullivan’s Dubai office, Vishnu Sankaran has been the manager of Middle East and North Africa (Mena) consulting for more than a decade, starting in late-2003 soon after he graduated. His role involves managing Frost & Sullivan’s consulting projects across the region, including market, technical and economic feasibility studies, and due diligence and strategy planning. As well as leading research on the chemicals and petrochemicals sectors, Sankaran also conducts research in the food manufacturing and materials supply sectors. He graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 2002 from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science in Rajastan, India. In 2011, he completed a master’s degree in business administration in general management from the American University in Dubai.

Contact Tel: (+971) 4 433 1889

Manuel Asali

Position: Principal, Nexant

Biography: Manuel Asali is the principal consultant for the Middle East at Nexant, an energy and chemicals sector consultancy headquartered in San Francisco. He has led the company’s Dubai office since late 2011, focusing on strategy and marketing. A consultant with more than 20 years’ experience in the petrochemicals sector, Asali previously worked for Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), first as an adviser from 2005, and later as the general manager for business strategy from November 2009 to October 2011. Before joining Sabic, Asali worked as the project manager on the development of the $1.9bn Phoenix petrochemicals project for Mexico’s Pemex Petroquimica, from July 2004. Asali graduated in chemical engineering in 1991 from Colegio Vista Hermosa in Mexico, before completing a master’s degree in business administration from the UK’s London Business School in 1996.

Contact Email: masali@nexant.com

Hassan Ahmed

Position: Partner and head of research, Alembic Global Advisers

Biography: Prior to founding New York-based Alembic Global Advisers, Hassan Ahmed was a managing director and global sector head for chemicals research at the UK’s HSBC bank, having joined HSBC Securities in April 2005. Ahmed formed Alembic Global Advisers in 2009 with Stephen Matthews, another former HSBC managing director. Previously, Ahmed worked as a senior buy-side research analyst covering the materials sector at Brown Brothers Harriman of the US, a senior sell-side research analyst covering the chemical sector at Sanford Bernstein of the US, a strategy consultant at the US’ Mitchell Madison Group and a process engineer at the UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). He has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University College London in the UK and a master’s in operations research from Columbia University in the US.

Contact Tel: (+1) 212 907 5391

Ankit Gupta

Position: Assistant vice-president, NBK Capital

Biography: Ankit Gupta joined Kuwait’s NBK Capital working in its Dubai office in June 2012, as assistant vice-president and the leading sell-side analyst covering listed petrochemical and fertiliser firms in the Middle East and North Africa. He previously worked as assistant vice-president at Dubai-based Shuaa Capital from August 2011, and was a senior analyst for petrochemicals, oil and gas for Bahrain-headquartered Securities & Investment Company (Sico) from April 2008. His current role, includes writing regular sector market updates and advising regional and international fund managers and clients on trading opportunities. He joined Sico from the India offices of US investment bank JP Morgan, where he worked as an equity analyst from November 2005. Gupta completed a batchelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and a master’s degree in finance from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering in Mumbai in 2005.

Contact Email: ankit.gupta@nbkcapital.com

Aman Amanpour

Position: Founder, Amanpour Consult

Biography: Aman Amanpour has been an independent petrochemicals and energy consultant since April 2010, when he founded Amanpour Consult in the UAE. The firm provides advisory services for investment selection, feasibility studies, strategic planning and relationship management among other services. Amanpour began his career in 1977 in Iran as an engineer, then became a plant manager. He joined UK/Dutch Shell Group in 1988 as manager of product development. He stayed with the company, rising through the ranks to general manager of new business in the Middle East and South Asia in 2007. Amanpour graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1980 from Pahlavi University, now known as Shiraz University, in Iran. He also has a master’s in computer-aided engineering from the Siemens Schule fur Kommunikationstechnik in Germany, which he completed in 1988.

Contact Email: aman@amanpourconsult.com

Florian Budde

Position: Global chair chemicals practice, McKinsey & Partners

Biography: Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Florian Budde leads the chemical practice of US management consultants McKinsey & Partners for Europe, the Middle East and Asia, consulting on strategy, mergers and acquisitions and operations. He also leads the company’s energy and materials practice, covering oil, gas, power, metals and mining in the region. Budde joined McKinsey in 1990 as principal consultant, based in South Korea for one year, before becoming a director in July 2002. During his time at McKinsey, he authored a book on business strategies for the chemicals industry. Prior to this, Budde worked for the US’ IBM in its research department for a year in 1989. He has a doctorate in physical chemistry from the Freie Universitat Berlin. He graduated with a master’s degree in chemistry in 1985 from Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat Munchen also in Germany.

Contact Tel: (+49) 697 1620