Six CFOs Walk Away with Accolades at this year’s MENA CFO Awards

Published November 25th, 2009 - 09:50 GMT

The MENA CFO Awards have taken place at the Raffles Hotel in Dubai, UAE.

The glittering awards ceremony, held on Sunday, November 22nd as part of the 3rd Annual CFO Strategies Event produced by business information company naseba, saw several of the region’s top CFOs walk away with coveted CFO of the Year titles.

The CFO of the Year Award presented to Sam Deeb, Group CFO, Zain Group, honoured Deeb as a trusted guide, influential mentor and strategic executive who has been instrumental in the turnaround of his company.  According to the independent panel of judges, Deeb has been the key driver of Zain’s success over the last seven years, seeing it grow from a single operator to a conglomerate of 24 mobile operations across the Middle East and Africa. The company’s market capitalisation exceeds US$21billion with revenues sitting at US$7.44bn in 2008. The company’s net income has increased from US$346million to US$1.2bn.

Two CFOs have been short listed for the Revolutionary CFO of the Year Award: Ziad Makhzoumi, CFO, Arabtec and Muwaffaq M. Jamal, CFO of Aziza Panda Ltd. Makhzoumi received the award for breaking through the traditional boundaries of finance and contributing a significant transaction or turnaround. Since being appointed CFO of Arabtec Holding PJSC just before the markets crashed, Makhzouni has significantly improved the company’s balance sheet, number and nationality of investors, global recognition of the company as well as getting the share price return back to the level it was before the crash.

Muwaffaq M. Jamal has played an instrumental role in contributing to Aziza Panda’s major achievements for the past two years. His ability to improve the reporting of the financial results with detailed levels of analysis identifying the drivers of the business was a major contribution. A more important area he made massive efforts in with high levels of success to the efficient management of cash flows which provided Panda with fuel for its growth. Finally, his contributions and efforts in the mergers and acquisitions transactions were critical to the success of these transactions. The path of Panda to become the number one food retailer in the Middle East has been greatly contributed to by Muwaffaq.

The Hall of Fame Award was given to Tareq Al Sadhan, CFO, KPMG Saudi. According to the judges, Al Sadhan is an extraordinary leader whose contributions have greatly impacted the region’s business community. His participation in the development of the company’s Transparent Bonus Calculator, Unique Point Based Customer Satisfaction Index - along with making the SAP based ERP solution meet local requirements, improving the company’s risk compliance and delivering quality - all helped him bag the prestigious award.

The Excellence in Finance, Private Sector Award was taken home by John Michael Wartig, Group Director Finance, Al Futtaim Private Company LLC. The Award is presented to a CFO from a private company/MNC who has been in the region for at least a year and has contributed to the company’s performance and accomplishments since January 2008. In the past 12 months, John’s financial acumen, precise market knowledge and apt decision making in dealing with the financial crisis has ensured Al Futtaim’s much stronger position to compete and profitably grow once the market fully recovers.

The Award labelled Excellence in Finance, Public Sector was given to James Rigney, CFO, Etihad Airways. According to the judges, besides achieving growth in a cycle where colleagues faced decline and negative growth, Rigney has been at the forefront of ambitious financial restructuring, has secured large financing deals, achieved a high level of credibility and confidence in global and regional financial markets and demonstrated insightful leadership in a recession that lost the region’s airline industry around US$11bn.

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