Six key figures behind the development of the UAE’s federal rail project: Nasser Ahmad Khalifa al-Suwaidi, Richard Bowker, Abdulla Rashid Khalaf al-Otaiba, Nasser Saif al-Mansouri, Adnan Ahmed al-Hammadi and Ramiz al-Assar
Nasser Ahmad Khalifa al-Suwaidi
Position Chairman, Union Railway
Biography Nasser Ahmad Khalifa al-Suwaidi was appointed chairman of Union Railway’s board in May. He succeeded his predecessor Hussein Jasem al-Nowais. Al-Suwaidi has played a key role along with other top government officials in developing, restructuring and diversifying the economy of the UAE and Abu Dhabi in particular. Al-Suwaidi is the chairman of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi since early 2009 and the chairman of the Department for Economic Development (DED). Previously, Al-Suwaidi worked for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. Despite his busy schedule, he is also a member of the board of Mubadala Development Company and International Petroleum Investment Company. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University in the US with a degree in economics.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 672 7200
Position Chief executive, Union Railway
Biography Richard Bowker took up his position as chief executive officer of the UAE’s Union Railway in September 2009. Bowker comes to the UAE after a substantial career in the UK railway industry. Between 2008-09, he was vice-chairman of British Waterways, which is responsible for maintaining inland waterways in the UK. Prior to this, he was group chief executive of National Express Group, a British transport group with headquarters in Birmingham that operates bus, coach, rail and tram services. Other positions held by Bowker include chief executive of the government’s Partnerships for Schools initiative; chairman and chief executive of UK regulatory body, the Strategic Rail Authority, which was wound up in 2006. He has also held the position of group commercial director for the UK’s Virgin Group. Bowker graduated from Leicester University in the UK with an economics degree.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 499 9999
Abdulla Rashid Khalaf al-Otaiba
Position Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport
Biography Abdulla Rashid Khalaf al-Otaiba became chairman of the Department of Transport in December 2006. At the same time, he was appointed to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the emirate’s supreme policy-making body. Al-Otaiba oversaw the development of Abu Dhabi’s Surface Transport Master Plan. Previously, Al-Otaiba was a senior adviser to state-owned Mubadala Development Company and vice-president of marketing for Dolphin Energy. In 1996, he joined the UAE Offsets Group to focus on privatisation, transport, environmental and petrochemicals. He also worked at the petroleum development department of Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations for two years. Al-Otaiba graduated in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, US.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 656 6327
Nasser Saif al-Mansouri
Position Director general, National Transport Authority and chairman of UAE Rail Committee
Biography Nasser Saif al-Mansouri is director general of the UAE’s National Transport Authority (NTA) and chairman of the UAE Rail Committee. Al-Mansouri is responsible for plans to develop the country’s first railway. The NTA was established in December 2009 by the UAE Transport Ministry to develop a rail strategy for the entire federation. Its priority is to develop a seamless transport network across the country and it is involved in studying how this network will operate and how cross-border movement can be most effectively implemented. Al-Mansouri’s career has also included senior positions in the government. Prior to joining the NTA, he was previously assistant undersecretary at the Abu Dhabi Department of Planning & Economy, now the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 418 2222
Adnan Ahmed al-Hammadi
Position Chief executive officer (CEO), Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Rail Agency
Biography As CEO of the RTA’s Rail Agency, Adnan Ahmed al-Hammadi is responsible for the operation of the Dubai Metro. Al-Hammadi took up his current position in March 2010, following the resignation of his predecessor, Abdul Majid al-Khaja. Al-Hammadi has been involved with 29 different committees within the RTA. He was also director of administrative services and supply, and director of the rail projects construction departments within the Rail Agency. He began his career as a maintenance engineer for Dubai Aluminium Company and Dubai International airport before joining Dubai Municipality. There he played a key role in the privatisation of street lighting maintenance in the emirate. Al-Hammadi obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hartford in the US in 1987.
Contact Tel: (+971) 4290 3698
Position Senior adviser to the GCC Secretariat of the General World Bank Group
Biography Ramiz al-Assar has more than 25 years’ experience in transport engineering, finance and management and has been working for the Washington-headquartered World Bank since 1989. He has been involved in various projects in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt and the GCC states. He is the senior World Bank resident adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Finance Ministry and also the North-South minerals railway project. His most high-profile association is with the GCC railway for which Al-Assar provides policy, strategy and technical advisory services to the management of the GCC Secretariat General and member states. He is also helping to create a GCC rail authority. This will involve overseeing the development of the UAE’s railway. Al-Assar has a doctorate in civil engineering from Michigan State University in the US.
Contact Tel: (+966) 1 482 7777