The role of board directors is crucial to driving change and executing on Vision 2030


Saudi Aramco and the GCC Board Directors Institute conclude the 4th Chairman Summit in Riyadh


Riyadh, 2 October 2016 – More than 60 chairmen and board directors convened in Riyadh today (Sunday) at the 4th Chairman Summit, organised by the GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI) in partnership with Saudi Aramco.

His Excellency, Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), inaugurated the summit with keynote remarks, followed by a discussion with the audience which was moderated by Mohammed Al Shroogi, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Investcorp, and Chairman, GCC BDI.

His Excellency, Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, commented:  “Board membership is no longer an honourary position.  Holding a directorship demands responsibility and accountability to all.  It is a crucial time of social change in a changing world and that places the focus on board directors to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and to put in place the right systems and processes to deliver change.”

“Despite the challenges existing in today’s economy, GCC governments are looking ahead and working at full capacity towards fast-approaching national visions.  A key element of realising these visions is the support and strength of local businesses and this can only be achieved with a well-prepared and active board of directors that will help drive economic diversification,” said Jane Valls, Executive Director at Board Directors Institute (BDI).

“Through our annual Chairman Summit, we have created a platform for Board members and industry experts to share knowledge and experiences as well as introduce international best practice in our efforts to enhance corporate governance standards in the GCC.”

With the uncertainty in GCC economies created mainly by low oil prices, high profile chairmen from across the GCC and international expert panellists exchanged views at the GCC Board Directors Institute Chairman Summit on the current issues facing leadership and best practice under the theme “Leading the board through changing times.

The Summit featured two panel discussions titled “Staying ahead – the board’s role,” and “How to get the best from the board.

Peter Breen, chairman Middle East at Heidrick & Struggles, said:  “Most boards around the world are a product of their history rather than their future.  In order to drive change boards need to benefit from hindsight, oversight and foresight.  The composition of boards needs greater diversity and be especially inclusive of a younger generation.”

The theme of diversity was echoed by Dr. Khalid Al Faddagh, board audit committee member at Saudi Telecom Company, who commented:  “Too often boards run through an academic exercise of what they are required to do as opposed to what they need to do when facing practical realities.  A chairman needs to operate like the coach of sports team and ensure that he picks the right players with the relevant diversity and experience to build a winning team within a governance, risk and compliance framework.”

The summit also discussed the impact of cybersecurity in managing risk.  Wael Fattouh, partner, PwC Middle East, said:  “Loss of data is the greatest risk facing any organisation today.  The concept of cybersecurity used to be about placing a firewall on the company server, effectively locking the doors and building a wall around the premises.

“Today company’s can potentially lose data every time an employee walks out of the office with a smartphone or a laptop.  When a data breach happens like that which happened to Yahoo! recently, it isn’t the IT manager or the CIO which faces the media, it is the chief executive officer or the chairman who is held accountable.

“The role of the board is to challenge the CIO on the level of resilience of the organisation to a cyberattack.  It’s not a question of if but when, and resilience depends on people, process and technology.” 

Other panelists included Tarek Elmasry, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, Middle East; Zeyad Khoshaim, Allen & Overy; Taha El Kuwaiz Chairman, Derayah; Sabah Al Moayyed, Managing Partner of Intellect Resources Management, Bahrain; and Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors UK.


2016 Contributors


H.E Khalid Al Falih

Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources;

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Oil

Company (Saudi Aramco)


Ms. Jane Valls

Executive Director

GCC Board Director Institute


Mohammed Al Shroogi

Co-Chief Executive Officer, Investcorp

Chairman, GCC Board Directors Institute


Tarek Elmasry

Managing Director Middle East

McKinsey & Company



TahaEl Kuwaiz




Sabah K. Almoayyed

Managing Partner

Intellect Resources Management W.L.L.


Peter Breen

Senior Partner, Board Practice UK &

Chairman Middle East Heidrick & Struggles



Managing Partner, Khoshaim& Associates

Partner, Allen & Overy


Simon Walker

Director General

Institute of Directors UK


Dr.Khalid Al Faddagh

Board Audit Committee Member



Wael Ahmed Fattouh


PwC Middle East



  H.E. Abdullatif Al Othman- Governor of SAGIA  
  Mutlaq Al Morished- CEO TASNEE (CFO SABIC at the time
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners- CMA Saudi  Arabia
Dr. Abdullah Al Abdulgader- Current Chairman of STC
Mohammed Al Ali- Former SVP Finance, Saudi Aramco
 Abdullah Al Zamil- Al Zamil Group