ON CAUSES THAT MAT­TER

CEO Middle East - - FROM THE EDITOR -

THE DAY AF­TER OUR AWARDS GALA LAST MONTH, our man­ag­ing di­rec­tor came by to dis­cuss some of the con­ver­sa­tions that took place dur­ing the CEO Mid­dle East Awards on Septem­ber 25. Many ex­ec­u­tives, she was in­ter­ested to hear, felt they now needed to ap­pre­ci­ate, give back, and em­power oth­ers in their or­gan­i­sa­tions as well as in the wider com­mu­nity. There an emerg­ing cur­rent of thought at the event: that some­how, the lead­ers of the busi­ness world should es­pouse pros­per­ity rather than sim­ply prof­its.

These thoughts were most prom­i­nent dur­ing some of the speeches that were given dur­ing the Awards cer­e­mony.

Dubai Air­ports’ CEO Paul Grif­fiths, for in­stance, men­tioned how at the mo­ment he was col­lect­ing his award, the other thought in his mind was ap­pre­ci­a­tion and con­cern for the thou­sands of peo­ple “labour­ing away into the night” at his or­gan­i­sa­tion that needed at all times run like clock­work. HRH Prince Khalid bin Al Waleed on tak­ing to the stage spoke at length about his jour­ney to be­com­ing a ve­gan, and why it was a cause ev­ery­one needed to pause and give thought to. Ear­lier in the evening, DIFC Courts’ CEO Amna al Owais had told us that while she didn’t want to be­ing a fe­male CEO to de­fine her, she was proud to lead the man­tle for equal­ity in the work­place at DIFC Courts, an or­gan­i­sa­tion with among the high­est rates of fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in the UAE.

These con­ver­sa­tions were an in­ter­est­ing in­sight into the minds of suc­cess­ful top ex­ec­u­tives.

While we do of­ten share a laugh dur­ing our in­ter­views, the ma­jor­ity of our time is spent ask­ing them about how they pur­sue suc­cess that can be mea­sured in terms of num­bers and KPIs. To hear these thoughts, at a time when CEOs, de­servedly, earned the right to cel­e­brate their achieve­ments, meant that there was more go­ing on in their minds be­hind the scenes.

It’s pos­si­ble that these sen­ti­ments came to the fore dur­ing a time when the most suc­cess­ful chief ex­ec­u­tives are just be­gin­ning to re­flect – on the path that they took that got them to the top, the peo­ple on the way that helped and men­tored them, the mis­takes they man­aged to get away with, and the good for­tune, de­spite ad­ver­sity, that they now have.

As some­one who is usu­ally 20 years younger than the av­er­age CEO, I get to hear a lot about the ‘luck’ that these ex­ec­u­tives have come across, the hard work and long nights it took to get to a point that they could re­fer to as suc­cess, money, wealth, skills and re­la­tion­ships. More of­ten lately, they take time to dis­cuss what they wish they could change about the world.

It’s had us think­ing at CEO Mid­dle East. Should we make the topic the theme of a whole is­sue?

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