Women Corporate Directors launches in the GCC
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, March 13 - 2013 at 10:36
- PRESS RELEASE
Women Corporate Directors (WCD), the leading global membership organisation of female corporate directors, has inaugurated its first Arabian Gulf chapter.
The outcome is the creation of the WCD GCC chapter, which was formally inaugurated at an event held today under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade. This announcement was strengthened with a collaboration agreement between the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI) and Women Corporate Directors.
It was signed by H.E. Khalfan Sa'eed Al-Ka'abi, First Vice-Chairman of the ADCCI; and Susan Stautberg, President of PartnerCom Corporation and co-founder of WomenCorporateDirectors, in the presence of H.E. Fatima Al Jaber, Founding Member of WomenCorporateDirectors and H.E. Mohammed Hilal Al Muhairi, Director General of the ADCCI.
Speaking at the event, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi said: "For our region to maximize its future potential we need business leaders who are ready and equipped to help steer it forward. I see Women Corporate Directors in the Gulf as an important part of that solution. By identifying and connecting qualified and experienced female business leaders, and helping to develop their successors, we will create a powerful community of women able to contribute fully to the sustainable future of a region which has so much potential."
WCD GCC chapter will be overseen in its first year by eight 'Founding Members' who comprise senior female 'C-suite' executives from across the GCC region. The Founding Members will act as a de-facto board and will steer the Chapter forward across its aims of building a trusted community of female executives across the region who can leverage each other's experience and knowledge, as well as spearheading awareness-raising about the role that women could potentially play in organisational success across the region.
Referring to the launch of WCD GCC chapter, Her Excellency Fatima Al Jaber, board member of Al Jaber Group and WCD GCC Chapter Founding Member, said: "It is well documented that our region is going through a period of rapid development and economic transition. Women are well placed to support this fast-paced growth at all levels, including at the very top. Through the WCD GCC chapter we will create a network of qualified and experienced female directors able to take their place at the board table and contribute fully to both their organisations and indeed our region's future sustainability."
Al Jaber continues: "Gender diversity in the boardroom is a recognised factor in organisational success internationally. In recent years the global debate has moved from discussions about equal opportunities to the current debate about how having women on a board can positively affect productivity and the commercial success of an organisation. The perspective around the world has transformed dramatically in favour of boardroom diversity being a business benefit. It is right and timely that, in a region which is undergoing its own dramatic transformation, we seek to take advantage of international business learnings which have the potential to help support the long-term sustainability of Gulf-based organisations and indeed, with it, our region itself."
Speaking at the Chapter's official launch event, Susan Stautberg, founder of WCD, commented: "Corporate governance today demands a world view. Boards need the right leaders to adequately analyze risk, have in-depth knowledge of their companies' operations and to help management see beyond the next quarter to the bigger picture. I have been impressed by the calibre of women leaders in the region and there is a clear appetite from many in leadership for their greater involvement. I see the GCC Chapter as a catalyst in creating community of like-minded individuals, coming together to share best practice, exchange experiences, learn from each other and brainstorm solutions to shared challenges."
As part of its year one objectives, WCD GCC today announced that it has partnered with Hawkamah, the Dubai-based institute for corporate governance, in a pioneering study to monitor and index board-level gender diversity ratios across GCC listed entities, which will clearly identify organisations committed to supporting the appointment of women to C-suite and boardroom positions. WCD GCC will also work collaboratively with Mudara (Institute of Directors), to develop and deliver a targeted regional educational series for female directors, focused on Gulf specific corporate governance issues.
WCD GCC will based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, however members' networking events will take place around the GCC region on a rotating basis.
The Founding Members of WCD GCC represent C-suite and board members from the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and include individuals such as:
•Fatima Obaid Al Jaber
•Sabah Al Moayyed
•Khaula Al Harthy
•Fawzeia Al Mubarak
•H.H. Sheikha Dheya bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa
•Najla Al Midfa
Held earlier today at the Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the official inauguration of WCD GCC was attended by over 80 female business leaders from across the Gulf, with representatives attending from the Unites States, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan. The international keynote speaker, following HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, was Martha Finn Brooks, an American national who sits on the board of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Bombardier Inc.
WCD GCC is supported by KPMG, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, Mudara Institute of Directors, Heidrick & Struggles and the ADCCI.
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