The Hawkamah-OECD 6th annual regional corporate governance conference commences its series of discussions today at the Ritz, DIFC – UAE. The conference, titled Words to Action: the Next Regional Corporate Governance Challenge, has become a traditional annual regional gathering, bringing together regional and international experts in the field of corporate governance.
H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates will be delivering the keynote address of the conference which coincides with the announcement of the decree that has been issued to strengthen transparency and corporate governance in the UAE. The decree, issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will tighten the regulation and constitution of boards of directors of profit and non-profit institutions as well as corporations owned by the federal government.
The announcement underscores the need for companies and regulators to stay on top of the corporate governance developments. The annual conference will discuss the actual implementation challenges faced by regional companies particularly focusing on empowering shareowners, institutional investor activism, women on boards, ESG developments, and linkages between MENA and other emerging/developed markets, and the impact of Arab Spring on governance The rest of the day will tackle enforcement issues and board capacity, institutional investors as change agents, and risk management.
In advance of the conference Mr. Grant Kirkpatrick commented: “Events in the region this year have strongly underscored the link between good economic governance, including corporate governance, and development and stability. The conference is a perfect opportunity to discuss the impact of the Arab Spring on governance of state-owned enterprises in particular, but also on other types of corporate entities that were affected by recent changes in the region”.
Dr. Saidi added: Our conference this year reflects the new mood across the region associated with the Arab Spring: people in all wakes of life and in all activities and sectors want to see ‘words turned into action’. Hawkamah has always advocate transparency and disclosure and the building of institutions for good governance and accountability. The themes of our conference revolve around issues relevant to our economies and societies and examining the links between corporate governance and economic performance across sectors and actors. We will have sessions on State Owned Enterprises, unlisted and family owned companies, and on the importance of corporate governance research in guiding policymakers and the private sector. We intend to make the best use of social media and accordingly Hawkamah members, participants and attendees will be encouraged to tweet .”
Osman Sultan the CEO of du, commented: “It is an honour to be part of such a prestigious conference. We consider Corporate Governance to be a key pillar of every company, and we are proud to support Hawkamah in its efforts to further establish the practice across the region. Our participation in this conference is reflective of our pro-active approach to corporate governance; since our earliest days, we have embraced it as a key component of our corporate culture, values and strategy, and have striven to be as transparent as possible. We would like to thank the organisers for offering us the opportunity to participate, and we wish them a successful event.”
The conference will continue with a group of regional and international speakers. Speakers include: Mr. Philip Armstrong (GCGF), Dr. Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (European Parliament), Mr. Joe Tortorici (Weil Gotshal), Ms. Vanessa Jones (Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales), Mr. Stephen Glynn (Dubai Financial Services Authority), Dr. Mounther Barakat (Securities and Commodities Authority, UAE), Mr. Raed Charafeddine (Central Bank of Lebanon), Mr. Kemal Karahan (Capital Market Board of Turkey), Mr. George Pickering (Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority), Mr. Leonardo Pecklar (Consultant, Mudara IoD), Mr. Mahmood Ali Ahmad (du), Dr. Abdullah Al Abdulgader (GCC BDI), Mr. Hamed Al Busaidi (Oman Centre for Corporate Governance/Capital Market Authority of Oman), Mr. Seamus Gillen (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators), Mr. Charbel Azzi (S&P Indices), Dr. Charbel Cordahi (Al Khaligi Bank), Ms. May Nasrallah (De Novo Corporate Advisors), Mr. Paul Reynolds (Rothchild Middle East), Mr. Chris Pierce (Global Governance Services), Mr. Jan Bladen (Dubai Financial Services Authority), Mr. Avinash Totade (Dubal), Ms. Stephanie Williams (Bank of Sharjah).
The conference this year is sponsored by regional and international partners with a strong commitment to corporate governance. Sponsors of the conference include Du as the Exclusive Telecom Partner, Bank of Sharjah, Muscat Bank, Dubai World Central, Future Pipes Industries, Al Baraka Banking Group, ICSA, Dubal and Weil. Media partners include the Financial Times, Executive Magazine, and CPI Financials.