With a residential and commercial portfolio that includes Riyadh’s landmark 70-storey Burj Rafal, Rafal Real Estate Development Company (Rafal) has earned its place as one of Saudi Arabia’s leading real estate developers. It was this reputation that inspired Fouad Al-Rashed to join the company as CEO in March 2019.

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“While Rafal is currently enjoying significant success, the company still has many opportunities to grow even further – an expansion that will take it to a whole new level. I came to Rafal because I saw the potential and I believed in making it a reality,” he tells The CEO Magazine.

The executive, an accountant who brings to the role years of experience in the sector, says he has settled nicely into the position as he approaches his first anniversary.

“The initial year in any establishment is divided into phases,” he reflects. “The first phase is understanding the culture and values, and observing the surrounds and the way everything works. It is only after this phase that a leader can acknowledge the roles and actions needed to rectify and enhance the core of the organisation and clear the way for a new strategy.”

With that in mind, he reveals that the company has set its sights on becoming a significant player in Vision 2030, Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s master plan to diversify the country’s economy away from its reliance on oil.

“Part of Vision 2030 involves the construction of new megacities and other developments. To meet this expansion, the Ministry of Housing is partnering with private developers to launch many programs,” he explains.

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This means that it’s an exciting time to be in real estate in the Kingdom. “The property sector is expected to boom from this year onwards, and we are looking forward to playing a big role in the programs that focus on boosting the quality of life for its residents and citizens,” he enthuses. “We plan to achieve this by creating fully integrated communities that offer the best lifestyle for those who choose to call them home.”

Along with properties that soar high above the Riyadh skyline, such as the Burj Rafal and Rafal Residence – an elegant mixed-use, 27-storey project featuring a hotel operator in the first 10 storeys, retail shops and 172 residential apartments with balconies and terraces – its completed residential projects include spacious villas in gated communities such as Blncyah and Al Rabia. From the ground up, each Rafal development enhances the status of Saudi Arabia’s cities, as per the Kingdom’s Quality Of Life Program.

“Starting with selective and durable construction materials and a house layout that is family-oriented, residents find themselves surrounded by nature, greenery and water features – all within the privacy of their property,” he explains. “In addition, each community offers a variety of facilities and services that contribute to creating the atmosphere of a perfect life.”

“With every new project, we raise the bar to ensure we stay ahead of the market.”

Beyond this “whole new level of fully integrated communities that deliver a fulfilling lifestyle”, Rafal offers its target middle-class customers a devoted client care team and a selection of after-sales services including resale, rent, maintenance and insurance. “With every new project, we raise the bar to ensure we stay ahead of the market,” Fouad says.

It’s this that gives Rafal the leading edge in the sector – as does company culture. “The culture at Rafal is innovative and inclusive,” he says. “We always seek ways to stay a step ahead of the industry and our workforce diversity plays a huge role in this, from developing new ideas to exploring different opportunities – something all Rafal employees are encouraged to do.”

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Khatib Alami