The MEED List: Scotland and the Gulf

05 October 2009

Five people driving the trade links between Scotland and the Gulf.

Lena Wilson

Position: Chief operating officer, Scottish Enterprise; chief executive officer (CEO), Scottish Development International

Biography: Lena Wilson has been CEO at Scottish Development International since May 2008, although she was acting CEO for much of the previous year. The World Bank ranks the agency sixth in the world for attracting investment into the local economy. Wilson is currently working closely with the Scottish government to attract investment into the country from the Gulf, and is trying to raise the profile of Scottish companies working in the region. She joined Scottish Enterprise, then known as the Scottish Development Agency, in 1989, and was seconded to the World Bank between 1998 and 2000. Wilson holds a BA in public administration from Glasgow Caledonian University and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, both in Scotland.

Contact Tel: (+141) 248 2700

Leo Koot

Position: Managing director, Taqa Bratani

Biography: Leo Koot worked for the UK/Dutch Shell Group from 1988 to 2000, when he joined WellDynamics, a joint venture of Shell and the US’ Halliburton. He was appointed managing director of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company’s (Taqa’s) UK operation, Taqa Bratani, in 2007. Under Koot’s leadership, Taqa Bratani has expanded rapidly since it opened its offices in Aberdeen in 2008. It now holds an estimated $2.2bn worth of assets in the North Sea, and has committed to an $834m capital expenditure programme over the next five years. Koot holds an MSc in petroleum engineering from Holland’s Delft University, where he specialised in well engineering. At a 9 September conference in Aberdeen, Koot said he wanted to double the company’s UK output to 80,000 barrels a day (b/d) by 2012 from 40,000 b/d, through acquisitions and the development of existing assets.

Contact Tel: (+44) 1224 275 275

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum

Position: Deputy ruler of Dubai, UAE minister of industry and finance; founder, Al-Maktoum Institute, Dundee

Biography: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum is the deputy ruler of Dubai and has been the UAE’s minister of industry and finance since 1971. In 1999, Sheikh Hamdan invited a delegation from the Islamic Research Academy to Dubai to discuss an institute for Islamicjerusalem studies, the -discussion of culture and religion within a geographic context. In October 2000, he agreed to sponsor a new institute for postgraduate studies in the field. In 2004, the Al-Maktoum Institute, based in Dundee, was opened. Dundee was subsequently twinned with Dubai, and plays host to two annual schools for visiting Emirati students. Sheikh Hamdan was appointed deputy ruler of Dubai in 1995 by his brother, the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Contact Tel: (+971 6726000

Allister Langlands

Position: CEO, Wood Group

Biography: Allister Langlands took over as CEO at Aberdeen-based Wood Group from founder Sir Ian Wood in November 2008, becoming the first person to head the company other than the founder. Wood Group has grown from a small family fishing business into one of the biggest oil services companies in the world. It is one of the longest and best established Scottish companies in the Gulf, and as such flies the flag for what the country has to offer. Langlands has said Wood Group is “not a showy company”, but it is increasingly recognised as a major player in the region, winning contracts with all of the major national oil companies and, as Langlands took over, the front-end engineering and design contract for an Abu Dhabi-wide carbon capture and storage system for Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Contact Tel: (+44) 1224 851000

Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani   

Position: Prime minister, foreign minister, Qatar; CEO, Qatar Investment Authority

Biography: As Qatar’s prime minister since 2008, Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani continues to serve as the country’s foreign minister and is CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority, which controls more than $60bn worth of assets and funds. In 2008, the Scottish government said it had been in talks with Qatar over a series of potential investments, -including a $4bn-plus offshore energy grid. When Lena Wilson, CEO of Scottish Development, visits the country in October 2009, this is likely to be high on the agenda. Al-Thani will be key to any decision the country makes. He started his career in government as director of the office of the minister of municipal and agricultural affairs. Al-Thani also serves on the international advisory council of US economic policy think tank the Brookings Institution.

Contact Tel: (+974) 4995900

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