The Abraaj Group believes that good corporate governance makes good corporate sense. We aspire to the highest standards of probity and candor in all that we do, and we seek to demonstrate transparency in our activities.
At The Abraaj Group we recognize that our long-term corporate success depends not only upon the business and activities that we pursue but critically upon the manner in which we conduct ourselves as we implement our strategic objectives.
The Abraaj Group has always sought to demonstrate transparency in all its activity. Accordingly, in 2006, we sought a license from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to carry out licensable activity from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The Abraaj Group was the first private equity firm to do so, taking upon itself an obligation to conduct its affairs within the parameters of a robust regulatory regime. Our Group is subject to quarterly and annual reporting, inspection visits and theme reviews, together with ongoing obligations to meet regulatory requirements.
Our Holistic Compliance and Governance Framework informs our stakeholders about our governance practice and standards, which we consider to be important for the following reasons:
The strategic decision to operate within a robust regulatory regime means that our investors and shareholders know with certainty that our entire business activity and employees are subject not only to regular internal and external audit – but also to the rigors of world standard regulatory scrutiny. Our governance standards and risk management practices thereby underpin our regulatory responsibilities.
The Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for every aspect of the Group’s performance and activity. Accordingly, the Board promotes corporate responsibility and ensures that the Group’s business is conducted efficiently and in adherence with the highest professional and ethical standards.
Founder and Group Chief Executive
Arif Naqvi established The Abraaj Group in 2002 and has served as its Group Chief Executive since inception, building it into one of the leading private equity firms in the world. He is the Chair of the Global Investment Committee at the Firm.
Abraaj is widely recognized as a pioneer of global growth markets investing with over 20 country offices including five regional hubs in Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Nairobi and Singapore. Mr. Naqvi has over three decades of experience of investing in public and private companies and has led the Group’s investment strategy, resulting in some of the most notable private equity transactions across global growth markets over the last decade.
Mr. Naqvi is a Trustee of the Interpol Foundation, Board Member of the United Nations Global Compact, B Team Global Business Leader and Founding Commissioner at the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. He is a Columbia Global Leadership Council member and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
Mr. Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the highest form of recognition given to individual private sector leaders for fostering peace and stability through business, and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, Private Equity International named him as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry.
In 2008, Mr. Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, the largest private social sector enterprise in Pakistan, which supports sustainable development in healthcare, nutrition and education.
Mr. Naqvi is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Badr Jafar is CEO of Crescent Enterprises, a multinational conglomerate operating across several industry sectors. He is also Managing Director of the Company’s parent Crescent Group, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates for 44 years and President of Crescent Petroleum, the Group’s oil and gas subsidiary.
Mr. Jafar holds various positions within the energy sector, as Chairman of Gas Cities LLC, a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas PJSC; and Chairman of Pearl Petroleum, a partnership between Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas, OMV of Austria and MOL of Hungary. Additionally, Mr. Jafar is active in a variety of other industries, including ports and logistics, serving as Chair of the Executive Board of Gulftainer, the world’s largest private container port operator.
Mr. Jafar is actively involved with higher education institutions, chairing the Alumni Advisory Council of the Cambridge Judge Business School, and sitting on its International Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah.
Mr. Jafar co-founded the Pearl Initiative, a non-profit venture with United Nations to create a corporate culture of greater transparency and accountability across the Gulf Region of the Middle East. He is a founding board member of Endeavor UAE, and sits on the Global Board of Education for Employment.
Mr. Jafar was honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011, and is Co-chair of their Family Business Community and a Global Agenda Trustee for Economic Growth and Social Inclusion.
Fadi Ghandour is the Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, the Founder and Director of MENA Venture Investments and a Founding Partner of Maktoob.com. He is a Member of the Board of The Abraaj Group, and the Chairman of Wamda. He is also a Founding Board Member of Endeavor Jordan and serves on the Advisory Board of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut.
Mr Ghandour is the Founder of Ruwwad for Development and a Regional Board Member of Injaz Al Arab. He serves as a Member of the Board of the National Microfinance Bank in Jordan, a Member of the Board of Business for Social Responsibility and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jordan River Foundation.
Heizo Takenaka is a Professor of Faculty of Policy Management and Director of the Global Security Research Institute at Keio University in Japan.
Professor Takenaka was previously the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications (2005-2006).
He serves on several advisory boards and committees including: Member of the Policy Council under the Abe Administration; Director of Academyhills and Chairman at Pasona Group Inc.
Professor Takenaka was named to the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum in 2007. His research interest is in economic policy.
Jane Nelson is Director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Ms. Nelson currently serves on the Boards of Newmont, FSG and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative and on Advisory Councils for the IFC, ExxonMobil, GE, Abbott, Initiative for Global Development, Center for Global Development, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center.
She has previously been a Director at the International Business Leaders Forum, a senior associate with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, a track-leader for the Clinton Global Initiative, and a vice president in Citibank's Financial Institutions Group working in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Ms. Nelson has worked with the United Nations Global Compact in the office of the UN Secretary-General and prepared a report for the General Assembly on cooperation between business and the UN. She has also undertaken research projects on the role of the private sector in development with the World Bank, UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, Gates Foundation, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and FUNDES in Latin America.
Ms Nelson has co-authored five books, over 80 reports and articles on corporate responsibility and sustainability, and five of the World Economic Forum's Global Corporate Citizenship reports. She is a graduate of the University of Natal in South Africa and Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Dr John Chipman
Dr John Chipman CMG is Director-General and Chief Executive of The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He is Special Adviser to the Chairman of Reliance Industries (Mumbai) and consults widely. He speaks regularly to business audiences on political risk, regional security and global trends. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and opinion pieces.
He holds a BA (Hons) from Harvard, an MA (Distinction) from the London School of Economics and an M.Phil and D.Phil from Balliol College Oxford. Prior to assuming the Directorship of the IISS in 1993 he served as a Research Associate (1983-4), Assistant Director (1987-1990) and Director of Studies (1990-1993) at the IISS with a spell (1985-1987) as a Research Associate at the Atlantic Institute for International Affairs in Paris.
As CEO of the IISS he has directed its growth globally as the world’s premier institute providing facts and analysis on international security issues and has developed its role as a convenor of vital inter-governmental summits. He conceived and established two regional security institutions under IISS auspices: the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.
Dr Chipman was made Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mustafa Abdel‐Wadood is Managing Partner and Global Head of Private Equity. He is a Board Member of The Abraaj Group, a member of the Firm’s Global Investment Committee, and a member of the Management Executive Committee.
Mr. Abdel‐Wadood joined The Abraaj Group from EFG‐Hermes, where he was Chief Executive Officer for the UAE and prior to that Head of Investment Banking. Before this, he co‐founded Sigma Capital and served as its Managing Director. Prior to that role, he spent eight years at the Orascom Group as Director of Development and Investments and was a founding Board Member of Orascom Telecom which became a leading publicly-listed emerging markets telecom operator.
Mr. Abdel‐Wadood has served on the Boards of several publicly listed and private companies. In 2002, the World Economic Forum named Mr. Abdel‐Wadood a ‘Global Leader for Tomorrow’ and in 2007 named him a ‘Young Global Leader’. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
He graduated in Business Administration from American University and holds an MBA from Georgetown University.
Sean Cleary is an Independent Member of the Board of Directors of The Abraaj Group. He is also Founder and Executive Vice-Chair of the FutureWorld Foundation, Chairman of Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd and Managing Director of the Centre for Advanced Governance.
Mr Cleary is a guest lecturer on global corporate strategy at business schools in South Africa, the UK and the US, and on the strategic challenges of globalization and conflict resolution at several defense colleges, universities and institutes.
He is a Strategic Adviser to the Chairman of the World Economic Forum, a Faculty Member of the Parmenides Foundation, Chair of the Advisory Boards of Operation Hope and the Global Economic Symposium, is a Board member of the Salzburg Global Seminar, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room; and a Trustee of the South African Foundation for Conciliation.
Sev Vettivetpillai is Managing Partner and Global Head of Impact Investment. He is a Board Member of The Abraaj Group, a member of the Firm’s Global Investment Committee, and a member of the Management Executive Committee. In addition, Mr. Vettivetpillai serves as Chair of the Impact Investing Investment Committee.
Mr. Vettivetpillai has more than 25 years of experience within the growth markets private equity arena, with extensive experience in setting up new teams in new geographies and products, strategic investment management, fundraising, deal structuring, valuation, due diligence and portfolio management.
Mr. Vettivetpillai was the Founder of the Aureos Group, where he held the position of Chief Executive Officer from 2003 until 2012. He successfully led the management buy-out in 2009 and subsequently merged the organization with The Abraaj Group in 2012.
Mr. Vettivetpillai sits on many boards as an independent/nominee director including the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA).
Mr. Vettivetpillai is a CFA Charter holder and completed a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, UK.
Dr h.c. Schmidheiny is Chairman and Founder of his family office, Spectrum Value Management, Board Member and major shareholder of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and Chairman of the Ernst Schmidheiny Foundation for public education, amongst others.
Dr h.c. Schmidheiny began his career as Technical Director with Cementos Apasco. In 1973 he joined Holcim, formerly known as Holderbank Financière Glaris Ltd, where he served as Managing Director and Chairman as well as Chairman of the Board until 2003. He continues to be a member of the Holcim Board of Directors, and is a member of the Holcim Nomination & Compensation Committee. He is a principal stockholder of Holcim.
Dr. h.c. Schmidheiny received an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from Tufts University (USA) and holds an MBA from IMD.
Wahid Hamid is Managing Partner and the Global Head of the Abraaj Performance Acceleration Group. He is a Board Member of The Abraaj Group, a member of the Firm’s Global Investment Committee, and a member of the Management Executive Committee.
Before joining Abraaj, Mr. Hamid was Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development at PepsiCo and a member of the firm’s Executive Management Committee. At PepsiCo, he led close to US$ 5 billion of acquisitions across global growth markets and critical strategy initiatives, including resetting PepsiCo’s strategy in China. He was a Board Member of PepsiCo Americas and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, a US$ 20 billion business segment with operations stretching from Canada to Argentina.
Previously, Mr. Hamid spent 15 years with Boston Consulting Group, where his last role was Senior Partner and Managing Director in New York. During his tenure at BCG, he led the firm’s consumer goods and retail practice across Asia Pacific.
Waqar Siddique is Managing Partner, Executive Board Member of The Abraaj Group and Chair of the Management Executive Committee. He oversees all Operations and Finance functions at the Firm.
Mr. Siddique is Chairman of the Board of Directors of K-Electric and a Member of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. He serves as a Trustee of the Aman Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established by Arif Naqvi, the Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group. He also represents Abraaj on the Boards of a number of companies including as the Chairman of Stanford Marine Group (SMG).
Mr. Siddique previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Cupola Group which concluded a landmark private equity deal when it acquired Inchcape Plc’s marketing interests in the Middle East. Prior to that role, he worked with the Treasury of Mawarid Holding Company, one of the leading business conglomerates based in Saudi Arabia, and PwC in Pakistan as a Senior Consultant.
Mr. Siddique started his career in 1982 after earning his MBA degree and has developed a specialization in Operations, Risk Management and Governance over the last 35 years.
Wendy Luhabe has been a pioneering social entrepreneur and economic activist for the past 20 years.
She is known for her pioneering work in social enterprises, for developing effective human resources interventions for companies to improve performance of new graduates and for developing the economic participation of women, through Wiphold, a portfolio investment company, and a venture capital equity fund for women.
Ms. Luhabe has extensive Board experience in corporate strategy, marketing, corporate governance and human capital development in both the private and public sectors. She is on the Supervisory Board of the IMD Business School in Switzerland and Essec in France.
She is an author, an accomplished public speaker and is deeply passionate about leadership, mentorship, women’s development and building an ecosystem for entrepreneurship to flourish in Africa.
Ms. Luhabe is a recipient of three Honorary Doctorates and is a member of the International Council of Business Women Leaders initiated by Hilary Clinton on the Economic Empowerment of Women. She was appointed to be an Honorary Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen of England in December 2013.