Past Events
13 December 2017
The Pearl Initiative successfully held a roundtable event in Jeddah, KSA  in partnership with the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI).

This roundtable was held as part of the Pearl Initiatives regional Corporate Governance for Micro, Small and Medium Business Enterprises (MSME) programme which aims to add tangible value to businesses through effective corporate governance. The session opened with a key note address from Dr. Lama Al Suleiman, Vice Chairwoman and Board Member, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce. Carla Koffel then delivered a brief welcome address in which she highlighted key findings from the Pearl Initaitive SME survey. Sohailah M. Yousef, Director, Jeddah Young Business Women Commitee then delivered a welcome address of her own on the importance of faciliating the growth of SMEs in the region.

This was then followed by a panel discussion which included Amr Banaja, SVP of Marketing and Corporate Responsibility, SEDCO Holding Group and Majdi Al Madani, Director (Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services), Ernst & Young.


 
28 November 2017
The Pearl Initiative and Red Flag hosted a roundtable event at the Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi for senior executives to explore the practical application of corporate integrity practices in the UAE and the Gulf. 

The objective of this roundtable was to explore how important business integrity is when presented with a business decision. Why is it important for businesses to ensure that integrity practices are reviewed and proper due diligence is conducted, prior to establishing a new business relationship. A theoretical and hypothetical case study was presented to attendees to examine and report on what potential risks the organisation may be exposed to when making decisions. 



 
27 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative hosted a roundtable event at the Le Meridien, Al Khobar for senior executives to explore the practical application of corporate integrity practices in the UAE and the Gulf.   

The session opened with welcome remarks from Carla Koffel, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative which was followed by a keynote speech by Shadi AlDaoud, Vice President and General Counsel, Siemens Limited who shared the experience of Siemens and how they overcame their challenges. 

This was followed by a panel discussion which consisted of David R. Cherrington - Corporate Compliance Organisation Manager & Senior Counsel, Saudi Aramco, Nick Robinson - Partner and Regional Forensic Services Leader, PwC and Shadi AlDaoud with Carla Koffel moderating. 

14 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative held the third of a series of focus group discussions under the programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector’ at the King Khalid Foundation in Riyadh. 

This programme is being run with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With the support of the King Khalid Foundation, the discussion focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region, now and in the future.  


Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion addressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. 

13 November 2017
The Pearl Initiative held an event at the Dubai Chamber in collaboration with the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) as part of the Pearl Initiatives regional Corporate Governance for Micro, Small and Medium Business Enterprises (MSME) programme to add tangible value to businesses through effective corporate governance. 

The session opened with welcome remarks from Nadine Halabi, Business Development Manager, Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) and Carla Koffel, Executive Director, Pearl Initiative.

Khawar Ansari, Regional Programme Manager, Corporate Governance MENA, IFC delivered the keynote address and highlighted the value corporate governance can bring to any sized business. This was followed by a panel discussion which consisted of Salma Sakhnini - Entrepreneur, Reputed Leader, Executive Coach, & Business Advisor to CEOs and Board of Directors, Noor Shawwa - Managing Director, Endeavor UAE and Khawar Ansari. 
06 November 2017

The Pearl Initiative held the second of a series of focus group discussions under our programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector' at the Chairmans Club in Kuwait on 6 November 2017. 

This programme is being run with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 


Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion adressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. The discussion also focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in Kuwait and the Gulf Region, now and in the future. 

27 September 2017
This roundtable was held at Bait Al Zubair in Oman and discussed the priorities, challenges, levels of implementation and needs of Corporate Governance and Accountability practices in MSMEs across Oman.


This event was carefully designed for MSMEs and entrepreneurs to come together face-to-face for a dynamic discussion about the priorities of Oman-based SMEs and how they are trying to achieve them. Key risks and challenges faced by MSMEs were also identified.

This event included an interactive workshop and focused discussion regarding key aspects of Corporate Governance methodologies and how they can enhance MSMEs competitiveness and resilience. 

25 September 2017

The roundtable discussion was held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers and was the first of a series of focus group discussions under our programme, ‘Governance in the Philanthropic and Non-Profit Sector’, which we are running with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of the sector in the Gulf Region through improved governance, accountability and transparency.  Through the programme the Pearl Initiative is aiming to support organisations to consider and improve governance in a way that is tailored and best suited to the Gulf Region, taking into consideration the current opportunities and challenges for the philanthropic and non-profit sector in the Gulf Region.
 

Building on the vast accomplishments achieved in the philanthropic and non-profit sector, the discussion addressed the region’s most pressing governance priorities in the sector including transparency and accountability. With the goal of driving the efficiency and impact of giving, the discussion also focused on what good governance practices mean for the sector in the UAE and the Gulf Region, now and in the future. 

24 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held at the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.
 
The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 30 executives from private sector companies in Kuwait. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr.  Herbert Klausner, CEO, Siemens Kuwait.
 
The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Ahmed Kiswani, Head of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance, Boursa Kuwait and Wassim Ghazale, Director - Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, Ernst & Young (EY).
 
The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panelists and the attendees.

20 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held in Manama, Bahrain. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.
 
The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 40 executives from private sector companies in Bahrain. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr. Stefano De Vita, Senior Legal Counsel, Siemens.
 
The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Dawood Al Ashhab, General Manager and Head of HR, Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB), Nicholas Cameron, Partner and Head of Forensices, KPMG and Saleh Hussain, Founder, Saleh Hussain Consultancy. 
 
The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panelists and the attendees.

17 September 2017

This event was part of a roundtable event series under the Anti-Corruption Best Practices programme in partnership with Siemens held in Dubai, UAE. The event deliberated and further explained the real impact of corporate anti-Corruption strategies and the precautions companies can undertake to protect their integrity practices.
 

The objective of this roundtable was to identify and understand the corruption risks that are trending in today’s operating landscape and the impact such risks would have on the organisations and its leadership. The roundtable was attended by approximately 50 executives from private sector companies in the UAE. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr.  Nadeem Anwer, Regional Compliance Head M.E. Siemens UAE.
 

The event hosted a vibrant panel of subject matter experts that included, Jack Nichols, Managing Associate, Linklaters & Robert Ford, Managing Partner & Founder, Governance Gurus.
 

The event concluded with roundtable discussions on the topic area, in which the audience attained the opportunity to hold an interactive discussion with the panelists and the attendees.
 

30 August 2017

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017 a focus group on “Enhancing the Competitiveness of SME’s through Improved Governance Practices” was held by Pearl Initiative in collaboration with Endeavor UAE at their offices in Dubai Internet City.

The event was designed as an interactive workshop and focused discussion which tackled keys aspects of Corporate Governance and how they can make SME’s more resilient and prosperous. Samer Choucair, VP, Crescent Enterprises – Ventures participated as the key speaker and led the discussion through his extensive expertise in the area.

14 June 2017

The Pearl Initiative hosted  an Iftar on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at the Al Majlis, Madinat Jumeirah. This event brought together our esteemed partners and integration board members as well as provided an opportunity to meet with new potential partners and contributors.
 

07 May 2017

The Corporate Governance and Effective Board Leadership Programme was designed and delivered by the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) and the Pearl Initiative took place on Sunday May 7, 2017 over the span of two days at the Shangri La Hotel in Dubai. 

Dr. Simon Learmount, Lecturer in Corporate Governance at CJBS delivered the programme to participants and covered the latest thinking about corporate governance around the world, particularly in the UK, US, Japan and China to better understand how practices are applied and can be applied in the Gulf Region. 

03 May 2017
The Award Ceremony was held at Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 03 May 2017. The Ceremony was attended by over 200 students and faculty members from universities across the GCC and over 15 executives from renowned organisations across the GCC. 
 
The competition aims to increase knowledge about corporate accountability and to engage and inspire students to understand the real-life application of ethical business. In addition, it better equips graduating students to enter the private sector by highlighting key issues in governance, risk management and compliance.

More than 50 student-authored case studies from 10 higher studies institutions were reviewed and evaluated by an expert judging panel.

Winning Teams:
First Place: Wed Hadhrawi, Leah Villahermosa and Waad Alakeel of Prince Sultan University for their case study on Ethical Labour Practices at Arab National Investment Company.

Second Place: AlAnoud Al-Eisa, Dima Shibat Al-Hamd and Sarah Al-Shuwayrikh of Prince Sultan University for their case study on Ethical Labour Practices at Banque Saudi Fransi.

Third Place: Salek Muyeen Akbar from Ahlia University for his case study on Anti-Money Laundering Measures at Bahrain Financing company.
26 April 2017
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017 a focus group on “Next Generation Family Business Leaders” was hosted by BNY Mellon, Galadari Partners and the Pearl Initiative. The event was designed to raise awareness about the benefits of adopting best governance practices for long-term value creation in family firms. The event engaged next generation family business leaders to discuss some of the challenges and strategies surrounding their issues. 
12 April 2017

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 the Pearl Initiative co-hosted a roundtable discussion with the Qatar International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) highlighting the importance of good corporate governance in enhancing SME competitiveness in the region.
 
The discussion marks the launch of the Pearl Initiative’s region-wide programme to raise awareness about the benefits of good corporate governance and accountability for SMEs in terms of long-term business sustainability and profitability. The programme constitutes a series of interactive roundtables, workshops and a Gulf-wide survey that seeks to understand the challenges that SMEs in the region face and to identify solutions and opportunities. The session commenced with opening remarks from Remy Rowhani, Managing Director, International Chamber of Commerce Qatar follow by an introductory statement by Carla Koffel, Director, Pearl Initiative. Saleh Hussain, Founder, Saleh Hussain Consultancy then provided the opening keynote and delivered a presentation on “Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs Through Improved Governance Practices”.  

30 March 2017

The third Circle of Practice board meeting took place on March 30th, 2017 at the Capital Club in Dubai. The overarching objective of the Circle of Practice programme is to build on The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) work with global leaders to explore how CFOs and their teams can take action to create a sustainable economy and resilient businesses, with the aim of sharing and developing leading practice in the Gulf Region. 
 
The Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice was launched at the first CFO meeting in Abu Dhabi in November 2015.  The meeting brought together CFOs from large organizations across the Gulf Region to explore the integration of environmental and social issues into business processes and strategy.
23 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative also launched its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 60 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report, GE, Olayan Group, PDO and PepsiCo along with Khalid AlKhudair, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, GloWork.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Keynote speaker: Rania Rizk, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Asia, Middle East and North Africa at PepsiCo.

Key takeaways from the event
  • getting the buy-in from all levels of the organisation is key to the successful implementation of policies
  • SMEs have an important role in providing job opportunities for women, this is not just an issue for large organisations
  • Senior management must monitor the implementation of policies to ensure they are being implemented effectively.
  •  Companies must find ways to implement and support work-life balance. 
09 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative used this even as a platform to launch its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high-level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 60 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Oman and other Gulf countries.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report, GE Olayan Group and PDO.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Keynote speaker: Mr. Raoul Restucci, Managing Director, Petroleum Development Oman

Key takeaways from the event
  • Long-term investment in women in the workplace has shown to increase retention
  • Organisations should break stereotypes by hiring women in unconventional positions.
  • It is key to build women’s confidence. This is best done not only by training but by building a supporting working environment.
  • Senior management must monitor the implementation of policies to ensure effectiveness. 
01 February 2017
This roundtable forum brought high level constituents together face-to-face to discuss how companies in the GCC are working to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions and the impact it has on their business. The Pearl Initiative also launched its latest report: “Women Careers in GCC: Four Good Practice Case Studies” at the event 
 
The purpose of the event was to bring together high level constituents face-to-face for a dynamic discussion on how businesses in the Gulf Region can attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions. The Forum was attended by approximately 75 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from the UAE and other Gulf countries.
Keynote speaker: Mr. Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO, GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey.

The event hosted a vibrant panel representing the companies who participated in the case study report,  Olayan Group, PDO and PepsiCo.  This was followed by a question that was posed to the audience on what priorities CEOs should focus on.

Key takeaways from the event
  • In addition to the need to set the tone from the top, the tone from the middle management is crucial.
  • Role Models and Mentors are essential to helping boost the confidence, support and opportunities for women.
  • The development and implementation of policies supporting gender diversity are key to the prosperity of organisations.
  • Companies must find ways to implement and support work-life balance. 
 
07 November 2016
HRH The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) and the Pearl Initiative, held the CFO Circle of Practice Meeting and tea reception on Monday, 7 November in Abu Dhabi. 
 
Attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General, Environment Agency and Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of Pearl Initiative, the Circle of Practice Meeting brought together finance leaders from across the GCC to focus on sustainability in the region. During the opening speech, HRH The Prince of Wales shared his thoughts on the role that CFOs play in creating sustainable businesses and resilient economies.
 
Pearl Initiative Honours HRH The Prince of Wales with 'Champion of Sustainability' Award
Following the speech, HRH Prince Charles was conferred with ‘The Pearl Initiative Champion of Sustainability Award’. The honour acknowledges the significant contribution made by HRH Prince Charles towards enhancing global understanding of the importance of sustainable business practices. Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises and Founder of The Pearl Initiative, presented the award, and commended HRH Prince Charles for his relentless efforts at promoting sustainability as a core business imperative.
 
The high-level meeting, which was attended is the culmination of ongoing efforts of the partnership collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Pearl Initiative to explore ways and means to integrate sustainability into decision making and manage future uncertainty.  The participants focused on how the integration of sustainability into business operations enhances decision making capacity, gives strategic insight, knowledge and intelligence on risks and emerging issues faced organisations.
27 October 2016

Under the Patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the Pearl Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact held their Second Regional Forum on 27 October in Dubai. 
 
This landmark Forum titled "Sustainability in Action: Business and the UN Global Goals" convened more than 700 public and private sector representatives, who also discussed how the GCC private sector could help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), unveiled by the United Nations earlier this year.

The speakers and delegates came from around the region and the world to discuss how the private sector in the Gulf Region can take action today to further the sustainable growth in a way which is good for business, addressing 5 themes – Prosperity, People, Planet, Peace and Partnerships.

At the Forum, the Pearl Initiative launched “The Business Pledge” as a powerful ‘call to action’ for business leaders in the Gulf Region to advance Sustainable Development. 

Forum Highlights:

Keynote speech by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Video Addresses by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, The United Nations and H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York.

Keynote speeches and panel discussions from international and regional business leaders including:

  • Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al-Thani, Founder and Chairperson of Amwal
  • H.E.  Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Chairman of Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development and Qatar’s former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of  Energy & Industry
  • H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
  • H.E. Dr Mohamed Al Zuhair, Chairman, Kuwait National Fund for SME Development
  • Khalid Al Hussan, CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)
  • Arjen Radder, CEO, Philips Middle East & Turkey
  • Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, Du
  • Sanjeev Chadha, CEO, PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and North Africa
  • Fahd Al Rasheed, Group CEO & Managing Director, King Abdullah Economic City


Publication Launch of Pearl Initiative’s 2016 Gulf Business Leaders Survey on SDGs. For more information about the Survey results, please click here.

The launch of “The Business Pledge” for business leaders in the Gulf with 166 taking the pledge. The Pledge servers as both a commitment to and a guide on the Private Sector’s journey towards responsible growth. For more information, about “The Business Pledge”, please click 
here.


Forum Highlight Video:


Follow the links below to view the full session videos:

02 May 2016
In collaboration with Siemens Integrity Initiative and SABIC, Pearl Initiative held two forums in Riyadh and Jubail. The forums highlighted the necessity for due diligence and building capacity in the supply chain. The sessions also introduced various practical compliance practices around anti-corruption and ethics. 
 
These sessions are part of Pearl Initiative’s three-year Collective Action project funded by the Siemens Integrity Initiative to support the implementation of integrity and anti-corruption best practices in businesses across the Gulf Region. The workshops convened 170 executives from leading Saudi Private and Public Sector companies including family firms and state-owned entities. These events were held on 2 and 3 May 2016 in Riyadh and Jubail.

The sessions offered executives the opportunity to hear Private and Public Sector perspectives on the rationale behind ethical business and why stakeholders - both global and regional - are increasingly requesting evidence of good practice policies and programmes in the Saudi supply chain.

During the voting sessions at the events, the participants displayed confidence in the business benefits to be gained through progressing on this journey with the majority of participating business leaders believing that the Saudi Private Sector will significantly advance corporate accountability practices within next five years.
 
27 April 2016
Pearl Initiative, HRH The Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) hosted the first Finance Leaders Circle of Practice Meeting in the Gulf Region. The event was held in Dubai with support from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and MECA CFO Alliance. 
 
The forum was attended by CFOs and finance leaders from top public and private companies, family firms, state-owned entities and government institutions from across the Gulf Region. The session presented an opportunity for participants to shape the Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice – a vehicle to help share ideas, experiences and good practices amongst a group of experts in the regional finance community, to drive sustainability and set the pathway towards Integrated Thinking. The platform looks to create a space for collaborative innovation and to encourage companies to adopt an integrated approach by providing networking, mentoring and knowledge sharing opportunities. 

Meeting Objectives
  • Provide the structure for a Gulf Region Finance Leaders Circle of Practice, along with a roadmap forward and the outline of a deliverables plan through to the end of 2017.
  • Provide an overview of ways to integrate sustainability into finance function decision making, sharing outputs from the A4S CFO Leadership Network.
  • Discuss challenges and possible mitigating actions on each topic, including the types of guidance required​.
05 April 2016
In collaboration with TOP CEO Conference and Awards, the Pearl Initiative delivered two key sessions within their overall conference agenda. The two sessions covered the topics of Anti-Corruption & Transparency and Women in Boardrooms. Held in Dubai, the conference was attended by regional and international business leaders and thought leaders. 
 
The first session was on "Anticorruption & Transparency" and it covered the importance of good corporate governance and strong integrity practices and shared practical ideas on actions to raise anti-corruption standards in the Gulf Region. While the "Women in Boardrooms" session focused on the business case for greater levels of gender diversity in leadership teams and on boards and how it is linked to enhancing strategic decision-making, better governance and a closer understanding of target markets.
 
With a record number of CEOs and VPs from the Gulf Region in attendance, the conference brought global issues into a regional context, helping executives and leaders look at the possible impact of such issues and consider the best ways to take their organisations forward, while taking advantage of the coming transformations. 
 
The first edition of the Top CEO Conference was held under the patronage of the Dubai Economic Council and drew to a spectacular close at the Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai, on April 5, 2016. 
09 March 2016
In partnership with Nasser Bin Khaled Holding, Pearl Initiative hosted this interactive roundtable in Doha. The successful forum offered an opportunity for participants to share experiences and viable strategies for attracting, retaining and promoting women in senior corporate positions in Qatar and the wider region. 
 
The business case for greater levels of gender diversity in leadership teams and on boards is clearly linked to enhanced strategic decision making, better governance and closer understanding of target markets. Women’s empowerment in the Gulf Region has made significant progress over recent years, but the number of women making it through to senior executive roles remains relatively low.

This interactive roundtable that was held on 9 March 2016 in Doha convened more than 60 executives from public and private sector companies, family firms, state-owned entities, academia and government institutions. The platform offered an opportunity for participants to share experiences and viable strategies for attracting, retaining and promoting women in senior corporate positions in Qatar and the wider region. As part of the agenda, the session highlighted key findings from Pearl Initiative’s 2015 report, ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda’.

Summary Participant Outcome Actions Make the link between Qatar Vision 2020, and the strategic imperative at the country and company level, to communicate and raise awareness on the need for and business benefit of fully utilising half the Qatari workforce.

Promote a corporate culture based on performance and results in which outcomes are measured by KPIs, rather than inputs based on the time spent in the office. Ensure the development of clear and equitable guidelines and policies, and anchor gender diversity in the company code of conduct.

Encourage the next generation to take part in team sports, to help develop teamwork and leadership skills.
02 February 2016
Pearl Initiative and Olayan Financing Company jointly hosted a Forum entitled “Women in Leadership: Business Roundtable” in Riyadh. The Forum was attended by 67 executives from public and private companies, family firms, academia, state-owned entities and semi-government bodies from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. 
 
The high- level constituents shared ideas, experiences and learnings on practical programmes to attract, retain and develop more women into senior corporate positions in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Region.

Key Recommendations

 
  • Include diversity targets in the performance metrics of Chairmen, CEOs and Executives.
  • Enlist influential male business leaders to communicate more strongly to their peers on the clear business case for gender diversity.
  • Take personal responsibility to identify, mentor and develop individual high potential women through to senior roles.
  • Raise awareness and train male and female executives, especially in middle management layers, so that they can identify and improve their conscious and unconscious bias mindsets.
  • Build the talent pipeline by developing succession plans for senior appointments that identify high potential women as well as men.
  • Implement equitable compensation and HR policies to achieve gender parity.
02 November 2015
The Pearl Initiative is proud to collaborate with His Highness The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) to host this important ‘Chief Financial Officer Leadership’ meeting. 
 
The meeting provided an opportunity to share views with a select group of CFOs on the relevance of social and environmental issues to business and the role of the CFO, and consider the steps that need to be taken in response to create resilient businesses. 
01 November 2015
The forum highlighted the business case for integrated thinking and reporting and the practical opportunities and challenges that businesses in the Gulf Region are facing to integrate different forms of capital into decision-making and accounting systems. 
 
The panel session was in the form of a moderated executive conversation, in which a panel of distinguished Bahraini and international speakers shared their opinions, insights, perspectives, good practice experiences and lessons learned on global regulatory and business trends, imperatives and good practices in integrated thinking and reporting.

The forum was attended by more than 50 representatives of the leading national, regional and multi-national state-owned, public, private and family businesses in the Kingdom. It provided a platform for key stakeholders and finance professionals to discuss integrated reporting and the related challenges and opportunities that this framework offers. 
28 October 2015
In collaboration with the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) of the World Economic Forum, the Pearl Initiative held this roundtable forum in Dubai to raise corporate anti-corruption standards in the Gulf Region. 
 
The objective of this roundtable forum was to bring high level constituents together face-to-face to share practical ideas, experiences and suggestions on collaborative action to raise anti-corruption standards in the Gulf Region. The aim was for roundtable participants to leave with implementable ideas and actions on what can be done by their organisations to engage across value chains to improve anti-corruption practices.

The event also marked the official signing of the collaboration between the Siemens Integrity Initiative and the Pearl Initiative to carry out a collective action project to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of integrity practices in businesses across the GCC.
14 September 2015
The Pearl Initiative facilitated a discussion over lunch on Women in Business, as part of the Pearl Initiative’s programme on Strengthening the Pipeline of Women through to Executive and Board Levels in the Gulf Region. 

The event was kindly hosted by the CPC initiative, Benaa Wa Amal.
The Pearl Initiative programme on Women in Leadership aims to influence the thinking and behaviour of business leaders on the business case for greater gender diversity at senior levels, as well as deliver insight on practical ways to develop more women through senior management ranks and thereby create a larger pool of executive and Board ready women.

The Phase 1 Research Report “Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda” was launched in April 2015. Based on a survey of over 600 senior women across the Gulf Region, as well as interviews and focus groups, the Report makes five key recommendations to CEOs on agenda priorities to achieve gender diversity at senior levels in organisations.

Key takeaways from the event
  1. Determine outcomes from the recommendations made in the Report “Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda”.
  2. Propose practical next steps to influence the thinking and behaviour of business leaders on the business case and actions required for greater gender diversity at senior levels.
The Pearl Initiative will follow up on this discussion by:
  • Holding a series of action-oriented roundtables across the Gulf Region, aimed at directly influencing business leaders with practical good practices on why and how to work towards better gender diversity in organisations.
  • Identifying and publishing good corporate practices in organisations across the Gulf Region that have been successful in attracting, retaining and promoting female employees through to senior positions by implementing practices such as family-friendly work policies, performance targets, measurement and monitoring efforts, career planning and leadership development programmes.
  • Supporting the further development of community networks, for enhanced communication and support across the Region.
13 September 2015
The Pearl Initiative and Asharqia Chamber of Commerce held a workshop on "Corporate Integrity, Transparency & Competitiveness". The workshop discussed corporate imperatives for improvements in governance, risk & compliance to spread good practices across the region. 
 
The Panel Session was in the form of a moderated executive conversation, in which the distinguished panel guests shared their opinions, insights, perspectives, good practice experiences and lessons learned on the business imperative and action priorities for ensuring corporate integrity, promoting transparency and ensuring a well-regulated, fair and competitive economy that will foster long-term sustainability, economic growth and job creation across the Gulf Region.
 
The forum was privileged to host a panel of distinguished Saudi Arabian and international speakers and was attended by over 70 representatives of the leading national, regional and multi-national state-owned, public, private and family businesses in the Kingdom.
The discussion areas included:
  • The corporate imperative for improvements in governance, risk and compliance.
  • Integrity and transparency good practices within companies, and the business benefits.
  • Spreading good practices across the value chain, with suppliers and business partners.
  • Disclosure and transparency trends in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Region and internationally. 
16 April 2015
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Pearl Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact held the inaugural Gulf Region Forum on 16 April 2015 in Dubai. 
 
This important Forum entitled “Corporate Accountability Matters: Business Integrity and Value Creation Beyond 2015” contributed to improving corporate accountability, transparency and governance, through providing a vehicle for over 600 regional and international business leaders and representatives from UN organisations, government and civil society to share lessons learned and explore effective ways to engage in activities and partnerships that advance critical sustainable business development priorities across the Gulf Region. 

Forum Highlights 
  • Video Address by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, The United Nations
  • Keynote speeches and panel discussions from international and regional business leaders including Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Board Representative Higher Committee & Director General Bureau, Dubai Expo 2020, Sir Mark Moody Stuart, President & Chairperson, Foundation for the UN Global Compact and Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser AlThani, Founder and Chairperson of Amwal.
  • Panel Discussions
  • Awards Dinner 
Forum Highlight Video
Pearl Initiative and United Nations Global Compact Regional Forum Video, April 2015
23 March 2015
The two-day intensive programme was tailored specifically for Middle East business leaders and focused on trust and leadership at all levels - including corporate governance, organisational performance and behavioural economics. 
 
The Pearl Initiative and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School collaborated to deliver this Senior Executive Leadership and Trust Programme in Dubai on 23rd and 24th March 2015. The Programme was designed to help participants to focus on their individual leadership development and build up their powers of trust and persuasion in an inter-connected, globalised world in which boundaries between businesses and employees, suppliers and competitors are increasingly porous.

The Programme was taught by Cambridge Judge Business School faculty experts Dr Philip Stiles, University Senior Lecturer in Corporate Governance and Co-Director of the Centre of International Human Resource Management, and Dr Khaled Soufani, Senior Teaching Faculty in Finance and Director of the Cambridge Executive MBA programme.

Twenty-nine regional business leaders participated in this Executive Education Programme.
26 January 2015
The Pearl Initiative participated in the 9th GCC Regulators Summit in Abu Dhabi, which focused on how to link compliance to competitiveness, engendering a compliance culture that enables rather than inhibits business, and developing high-performance and empowered teams. 
 
The panel discussion on “Changing Perceptions: Moving from Policemen to Business Enablers” highlighted that building a positive culture of compliance. The debate centered on how to link compliance to competitiveness, engendering a compliance culture that enables rather than inhibits business, and developing high-performance and empowered teams.

The summit comprised of an excellent mix of views and experiences from regulators, business and experts.
21 January 2015
This forum of senior women in finance and accounting explored how diversity can be encouraged and fostered and how finance functions can play a role in making organisations more diverse. 
 
The Pearl Initiative collaborated with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) on a roundtable breakfast session on 21st January 2015 in Dubai, focused on the benefit to organisations of greater diversity in the workplace.

This forum of senior women in finance and accounting explored how diversity can be encouraged and fostered and how finance functions can play a role in making organisations more diverse. Building on research from the ACCA on ‘Building a better business through finance diversity’ and ‘The business case for diversity management’ the forum also heard from Pearl Initiative regarding some initial findings from our research on how to strengthen the pipeline of women through to executive and board levels in GCC organisations. The Pearl Initiative will publish the full outcome of this ground breaking research in the coming few months.

In today’s evolving and challenging financial function, diversity means much more than equal opportunities and goes much further than gender, ethnicity or social equality.  It is also about diversity in the ideas, skills and capabilities that people from all ranges of backgrounds, experiences, ages, geographies and cultures can bring to the finance function.  Companies may have teams that look different, which is good for the CSR reports, but the more important factor is to have a team which is going to think and work differently too.  When expanding overseas, new markets bring their own customs, culture, regulatory environment and governance standards, which need to be considered and integrated into existing corporate models.