Under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, hundreds of prestigious families gathered to discuss thought leadership and forward-thinking strategy at Sir Anthony Ritossa’s 10th Global Family Office Investment Summit.

More than 600 of the world’s finest visionaries came together at Dubai’s Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach for the inspiring two-day summit, which focused on ‘The Rise and Rise of Family Offices’ and the key factors shaping successful global enterprises.

Striving to support international businesses, Mohamed Al Banna, CEO and Managing Director of LEAD Ventures, told The CEO Magazine that they wanted to set the right expectations for leaders hoping to do business in the United Arab Emirates.

“We all know that Dubai and United Arab Emirates is a land of opportunities and this is where I said we would have to create something in order to set the expectation right,” he said. “When a company comes and they have something really promising… before we approve any partner, we always ask ourselves, ‘Is this technology or product or service? Is this something that will make me feel proud to go to the market and meet decision-makers?’ If the answer is yes, then I will partner with you and I will do whatever it takes to deliver.

“This is why we travel the world in order to come and support, to be part of the vision of His Royal Highness.”

With international business comes a responsibility to ensure all actions are having positive impacts on existing communities.

Adil Al Zarooni, CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, explained the value of impact investing and social needs of a company.

“This goes in line with the basic idea of demand and supply,” he said. “The question is, how would you get into understanding what society or humanity do need and developing something around that and make it sustainable. And that is not really far away from a normal business line of thinking.

“Many institutions and family businesses have that in their DNA because they are part of a community and they care about their social status and integration into society, and they live among society, so they understand their needs and desires.”

Family offices are continuing to be a disruptive force across the globe at a time of global uncertainty, new investment opportunities and multi-generational wealth preservation.

As the world’s leading business families shared their insights into succession planning and family governance, Ahmad AR BinDawood, CEO of Danube & BinDawood, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, told The CEO Magazine that building a successful business legacy was more than simply growing family wealth.

“I represent the third generation in the family,” he said. “We are the leading retailers in Saudi, and we have the biggest online grocery platform in Saudi.

“There is always a purpose to what we’re doing. It’s not always about making money or creating the wealth or growing the business; it’s also about taking care of the 10,000 homes that open just for the people who are working with us.

“We always try to improve the working environment for them. We want to help them grow. We have so many people who work for us. We always want to show them they are the most important part of our business.”

And it’s a factor that rings true in many of the leading enterprises.

Majed M Al Tahan, Founder and CEO at AYM Commerce and CEO and Co-Founder Danube Online, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said one of the most important aspects of a company is the people.

“The right team is very important because we understand that we cannot succeed or grow alone,” he said. “What makes us different is we started as retailers, as a business, so we’re not just an IT-focused company.

“We understand the business language. We understand the business needs, the business problems.

“We have a lot of decision-makers in our company. We have a lot of people that have good authority to move fast, because in the technology world you have to act fast to be able to win deals or businesses.”


Film by Olivier Ronot
Images by Cyril Bailleul and Antoine Meyssonnier
Words by Vanessa Eriksson