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Lamees Al Baharna (Independent Director)

Lamees Al Baharna

Independent Director

Lamees Al Baharna, CFA, FRM is a seasoned risk management expert with over 30 years experience in all aspects of risk management, including establishing a methodology, policies and procedure, credit underwriting, investment valuation and enterprise risk management. As Chief Risk Officer for Oman Arab Bank, she oversees credit risk, operational risk, market risk, information security and policies and procedures for a bank with assets over USD 5.3 billion. Prior to her current role, Lamees was the head of risk for Mumtalakat, where she established a best in class risk management framework, taking into account the organization’s business model and long-term strategic objectives. She also developed and executed the risk management and corporate governance framework for the newly formed Sovereign Wealth Fund of Bahrain, covering both its direct investments and liquid portfolio. Previously, Lamees was Vice President – Credit Group at Gulf International Bank, overseeing risk evaluation and mitigation of investment proposals—including GCC project finance, Islamic, international trade and commercial banking activities. Investment transactions included purchases of structured products and debt securities (including sukuks), equities, private equity, real estate and hedge funds. She also led the development and implementation of new risk policies, standards and practices in compliance with BASEL II requirements, such as the Bank’s new Risk Management System (Fermat).

Lamees has also worked with Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, National Bank of Bahrain and, as a chemical engineer by training, she began her career with Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Company (GPIC).

Board Experience
• Appointed by a Royal decree issued by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, as a Board Member of the Capital General Secretarial Board, responsible for Bahrain’s Capital Municipality.
• President & Executive Board Member, CFA Society Bahrain
• Board Member, CFA Institute Presidents Council

Jan Bladen (Managing Partner at Governance Creed)

Jan Bladen

Managing Partner at Governance Creed

As a UAE Residents for the last 20 years, Jan carries a wealth of experience in Corporate Leadership across the MENA Region. Raised across the region as a child, Jan’s spouse is an Arab, his children speak Arabic at home and he has spent more than half his life living in the MENA Region.

Internationally recognized as a speaker, practitioner and thought leader in Corporate Governance, Jan has extensive Board Room experience as a Chairman, independent Board Member, Board Committee Member and as a Board Governance Advisor.

He is an accredited “Trainer of Trainers” in the Corporate Governance Board Leadership Program of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank and qualified as the 1st accredited Non-Executive Director / Board Member with the Institute of Directors (Mudara IoD) in Dubai. He further attended Harvard Business School’s “Making Corporate Boards More Effective”

Jan played an instrumental role in the founding of the UAE’s two financial hubs; He spearheaded the launch of Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) as the Senior Executive Lead and Advisor to the Board of Directors and co-led the establishment of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as the founding Chief Operating Officer of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). Previously, Jan spent nine years with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) based in both Geneva and Dubai/

He believes that the role of Boards and C-Suite Leadership in the Middle East is becoming significantly more challenging as the need for strong governance and the institutionalisation of businesses expands rapidly. Unlocking growth and shareholder value will be one of the key challenges over the next decade. Jan is the Managing Partner of Governance Creed (Board Assessments, Skill Set Mixes, Subsidiary Governance Frameworks, Nominations and Board Rotations, Board Strategy Retreats) and sits on several Boards, as either a Chairman, Trustee or Non-Executive Board Member. Fluent in English, French and Spanish, Jan obtained an MBA (Summa Cum Laude) from Lausanne and holds both British and Swiss Nationalities.

John Crawley (Lead Partner at Expert Partners)

John Crawley

Lead Partner at Expert Partners

John is a business turnaround, risk and governance expert, a high-impact contributor with extensive experience in a range of disciplines including Risk Management, Organisational Strategy, Business Turnaround, Boardroom management and Finance. Well respected professional with considerable expertise in advising businesses organisations in the private and public sectors. Trading as Expert Partners, John is currently a Strategy and Risk Advisor to a number of organisations and a Master Trainer for the Institute of Risk Management (UK) and the GCC Board Directors Institute (UAE) globally.

An out-of-the-box thinker with proven ability to devise wide-ranging solutions for resolving complex business issues including stakeholder disputes, risk management framework issues, financial restructuring, business turnaround and crisis management.

John has extensive experience in a broad range of industries across the world including Financial Services, Energy, Public Sector and Charities / NGO Sector.

John recently advised a number of Financial Institutions on Conduct Risk and Operational Resilience as a Fellows of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and drawing from his 25 years banking experience in a range of Executive, Board and Non-Executive positions.

Ara Fermanian (Partner at PwC Middle East)

Ara Fermanian

Partner at PwC Middle East

With over 17 years of dedicated service, Ara has established himself as a cornerstone of PwC Middle East, currently holding the position of partner in the firm. In this role, he spearheads the delivery of Assurance services to our esteemed clientele across Lebanon and the UAE, ensuring the highest standards of excellence are maintained.

Throughout his tenure, Ara has demonstrated unparalleled expertise in navigating intricate and specialised assignments across various industries. His adept leadership has successfully managed non-routine and complex engagements, solidifying his reputation as a trusted advisor.

Ara's proficiency extends to cross-border audits, where he seamlessly integrates his vast experience and global network connections to execute audits for multinational clients with precision and efficiency.

In addition to his client-facing responsibilities, Ara assumes the pivotal role of Assurance transformation lead for PwC Middle East. Here, he champions the integration of transformative initiatives within our Assurance teams, driving innovation and efficiency.

Beyond his professional commitments, Ara is deeply engaged in academic and educational endeavors. He serves as a part-time instructor at the esteemed American University of Beirut (AUB), imparting his knowledge in the Olayan School of Business (OSB). Furthermore, Ara is a distinguished instructor at PwC's Academy, where he plays a pivotal role in delivering comprehensive IFRS training courses across Lebanon and the Middle East region. His contributions also extend to providing tailored in-house IFRS training for companies across various industries.

Ara's academic achievements are matched by his professional qualifications. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and is a US Certified Public Accountant. Additionally, he is a Fellow member of the Emirates Association for Accountants & Auditors and holds a license from the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants, further underscoring his commitment to excellence in the field of accountancy.

Kais Ben Hamida (CFO at du)

Kais Ben Hamida

CFO at du

Kais Ben Hamida is a seasoned senior executive and board member with
a wealth of experience in corporate finance, investments, private equity,
mergers and acquisitions, financing, governance, strategy and operations
and a deep understanding of the TMT and infrastructure sectors.

Throughout his career, he held various positions in banking (Société
Générale and the World Bank), private equity (Valiance Capital), and
large corporations (Orange Group) across Europe, the USA and the
Middle East. His most recent roles include serving as CFO of EITC
(currently held), CFO of Mobily, CFO of Orange Egypt, Partner at Valiance
Capital and Senior Vice President of Merger and Acquisitions of the
Orange Group. He has also held board positions at several companies
including Orange Austria, Orange Denmark, Orange Sweden, MobiNiL,
Viaccess, Khazna Data Center and

Mr. Ben Hamida has successfully led the implementation of over 46
transactions including IPOs, tender offers, acquisitions, project finance,
disposals, and syndicated loans, ranging from 30 M€ to 40 B€ across
Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He was also instrumental in
launching a 1 B€ private equity fund focused on investing in the
European infrastructure sector. As both an executive and board
member, Mr. Ben Hamida has been a key contributor to the growth,
operational transformation and turn-around of several companies. He
offers strong strategic insight and a unique combination of diversified
transactional work along with proven operational capabilities both in
emerging and developed markets.

Mr. Ben Hamida holds a BSc in Statistics and Financial Engineering from
the Ecole Polytechnique, Paris; a MSc in Engineering from the Ecole des
Ponts et Chaussées, Paris and a MSc in Economics from the Sorbonne
University, Paris.

Taskeen Ali Khan (Chief Investment Officer at Mastercard Transaction Services)

Taskeen Ali Khan

Chief Investment Officer at Mastercard Transaction Services

A professional with 25+ years of experience, Taskeen has received various certifications like CIPP/E from IAPP, CISA, CIRSC, CGEIT from ISACA and many others. In past, he has worked with JP Morgan Chase & Co, MTA New York City Transit, IBM, Chase Manhattan Bank, Edgematics Technologies, and other companies. Currently leading Operations and Security for cross-border remittance fintech organization – Transfast, acquired by Mastercard.

Saad Maniar (Senior Partner & International Liaison Partner at Crowe)

Saad Maniar

Senior Partner & International Liaison Partner at Crowe

Saad is an expert on matters relating to IFRS, particularly interpretation, disclosures and practical applications. Besides this, he guides the governance, risk and compliance practice for Crowe in the Middle East and also serves as the Quality Assurance Director for our firms in the UAE and Oman.

Saad has served as a Member of the International Assembly of ACCA in 2010/11. Currently serving as Chairman of ACCA Members Advisory Committee in the UAE, he believes his diverse experience and expertise will allow him to make valuable contributions in providing exceptional services to our clients and allow the clients to focus on their core business to further strengthen their stronghold.