Six key players leading the development of the UAE’s construction industry: Riad Kamal, Laurie Voyer, Khaldoun Tabari, Johan Beerlandt, Fatima Obaid al-Jaber and Samer Khoury
Position Chairman, Arabtec Construction
Biography Riad Kamal is the founder and executive chairman of the local Arabtec Construction, as well as being chief executive officer of Arabtec Holding. Kamal began his career in civil engineering and construction in London in 1966 with Shaheen Engineering and Contracting Company. From 1970-74, he worked at Robert McAlpine Engineering & Contracting. In 1974, Kamal moved to Dubai to set up his own construction company, Arabtec Construction. He holds several corporate directorships, including that of Arab Bank since 2005. He also serves as a director to Depa United Company in Abu Dhabi, Turkland Bank in Istanbul, Arabia Insurance Company in Beirut and Satellite Inter-Active Systems in Dubai. Kamal graduated with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of London in 1965 and the following year completed a master’s in construction engineering at the same institute.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 340 0700
Position Chief executive officer and managing director, Al-Habtoor Leighton Group
Biography Laurie Voyer is the chief executive officer and managing director of the local/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton Group, based in Dubai. Voyer took up the position of managing director in 2009. In this role, he oversees the operations of the Al-Habtoor Leighton Group in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The group operates through two brands –Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises and Gulf Leighton – and manages a number of associated businesses, including Al-Habtoor Leighton Steel, Al-Habtoor ISG (interior fit-out), HSSG (piling), Al-Habtoor Specon (MEP) and Habtoor Atco (pre-fabricated modular buildings). Previously, Voyer was deputy managing director for Leighton Contractors in Australia. Voyer holds an associateship in civil engineering and is a fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 285 7479
Position Vice chairman and chief executive, Drake & Scull International
Biography Khaldoun Tabari is the vice chairman and chief executive of UAE-based Drake & Scull International. Tabari graduated from university in the US in 1972 and worked in a family business until 1980. After a brief spell in the UK, he moved to Saudi Arabia, staying for 14 years. Tabari joined Drake & Scull in 1998. Under his leadership, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing business has been expanded to include engineering, procurement and construction, as well as civil contracting and engineering services in infrastructure and power and water projects. The firm has worked on a number of major projects in the UAE, including the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai Internet City and the Wafi shopping mall extension. Tabari is a board member for Emcor Facilities Services Group, Walltech, Cedar Mills, Jordan Fleet Leasing Company, First Qatar Real Estate and Energy Central in Bahrain.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4 811 2300
Position Chief executive officer, Besix Group
Biography John Beerlandt has been the chief executive of Brussels-headquartered Besix Group since 2001. The group has been present in the UAE construction market since 1967. He joined the firm in 1974 as a junior engineer in Belgium, moving to the UAE in 1975 to take charge of a number of different projects in the region. In 1978, he relocated to Iraq to work as deputy project manager at the Alkaim Fertiliser Complex. In 1981, Beerlandt took up the position of managing director of the Besix local subsidiary Six International in Cameroon, Africa. He returned to the Middle East in 1988 to become managing director of Six Construct in the UAE, working on a number of major projects, including power and desalination plants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and Dubai airport. In 1993, Beerlandt rejoined Besix as deputy general manager. He became general manager in 1994 and, in 1998, stepped up to the position of managing director.
Contact Tel: (+32) 2 402 6211
Fatima Obaid al-Jaber
Position Chief operating officer, Al-Jaber Group
Biography Fatima Obaid al-Jaber is the chief operating officer of Abu Dhabi-based Al-Jaber Group. Al-Jaber graduated from the UAE University in Al-Ain in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering. She then went to work for the Abu Dhabi government in various technical and managerial positions. She left the municipality in 2005 to join the family business. The Al-Jaber Group is composed of about 30 subsidiaries and affiliates. Among the construction-related subsidiaries are Al-Jaber Engineering & Contracting, Al-Jaber Energy Services, Al-Jaber Transport & General Contracting and Al-Jaber Tunnelling & Mechanical Works. In July, the group – in joint venture with Germany’s Ed Zueblin – was awarded an estimated AED1bn ($270m) infrastructure contract at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi. Al-Jaber was the first Emirati woman to be elected to the board of directors of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 555 4300
Position Executive vice president operations, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC)
Biography Samer Khoury is the executive vice president of operations for Athens-headquartered CCC, which is a major player in the UAE’s construction industry. Khoury studied civil engineering at the US’ California State University from 1978-81, and obtained a master of business administration in 1984 from the University of Southern California. From 1987-90, Khoury was in charge of more than 1,000 permanent staff as head of operations for CCC in Kuwait. In 1990, Khoury moved to the company’s headquarters in Greece, working in various departments, and in 1997 was promoted to his current position. Khoury is also a board and committee member of a number of associations, including the National Petroleum Construction Company, Palestinian Investment Fund and the Arab Business Council World Economic Forum.
Contact Tel: (+30210) 618 2000