News & Highlights

  • MAY 2018

Careem: Riding the First Unicorn in the Middle East

Doubling in size every two months, ride-hailing service Careem was experiencing growing pains operationally and culturally. In this podcast, Shikhar Ghosh discusses how the founders struggled to keep its 4 million customers satisfied in the Middle East.
  • MAY 2018

Interview with Waseem Khayata - SELPME 2018

As managing director of investment at Finance House, Waseem Khayata came to the Senior Executive Leadership Program—Middle East (SELPME) to further his professional development and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to meet his career goals. He recently sat down with us to share his thoughts.
  • MAY 2018

Professor Max Bazerman Meets with Alumni to Discuss New Book, "The Power of Noticing"

On May 10, 2018 Professor Max H. Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at HBS and the Co-Chair of the Behavioral Insights Group at the Harvard Kennedy School met a group of 30 alumni during an event held in Istanbul. Professor Bazerman held a discussion on his new book “The Power of Noticing : A guide to making better decisions, noticing important information in the world around you, and improving leadership skills.’’ Professor Bazerman delivered a captivating talk that cultivated an engaging and thought-provoking conversation among the group.
  • MARCH 2018

The 2018 Harvard Crossroads Conference

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Harvard Business School Alumni Club of the GCC celebrated the 6th Annual Harvard Crossroads Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Led by Goulam Amarsy, MBA 1981 and President of HBS Club of the GCC welcomed 350 alumni, business leaders and thought leaders who debated on the issue of “deglobalization.” The conference aimed to celebrate leaders who have pioneered industries, economic sectors, and countries while also engaging with young leaders and innovators from the region. It fostered intelligent debate on innovation, future proofing, entrepreneurship, and disruptive economic issues impacting the growth of the region.

New Research on the Region

  • November 2018
  • Teaching Material

Saudi Arabia: A Brief Background

By: Kristin Fabbe, Safwan Al-Amin, Esel Çekin and Natalie Kindred

This note provides a brief overview of the history of Saudi Arabia as well as the economic and political context in 2018. The note is an essential supplement to the case “Almarai Company: Milk and Modernization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” HBS No. 719-020, but is also appropriate for other relevant cases.

  • November 2018
  • Case

Almarai Company: Milk and Modernization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

By: Kristin Fabbe, Safwan Al-Amin, Esel Çekin and Natalie Kindred

With SAR 14 billion ($3.7 billion) in 2017 revenues, Almarai was Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy producer, distributor, and marketer, with a large portfolio of branded dairy products, juices, bakery goods, and infant formula and a sales presence across the Gulf region, Jordan, and Egypt. Almarai employed some 42,000 people across its operations, from its massive dairy farms to its processing plants to its vast sales and distribution operation that reached over 100,000 outlets. Notwithstanding its diverse portfolio, the core of Almarai’s business was (1) sales of branded fresh/chilled dairy products, (2) in Saudi Arabia, (3) distributed through the traditional retail channel made up of thousands of small neighborhood shops called bakalas. In October 2018, all three of these focal points were under pressure. Under the economic-restructuring programs of Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, new taxes and subsidy cuts were squeezing household budgets. Concurrently, changes to other government policies were causing expatriates—who made up about a third of Saudi Arabia’s population and were a key consumer of Almarai’s dairy products—to leave the country in droves. This case finds Almarai’s management team, led by soon-to-retire CEO Georges Schorderet, debating how the company can defend and grow its position in Saudi Arabia while also finding new sources of future growth (e.g., bringing its production model to new markets with fragmented dairy sectors or entering new product categories such as fish or ice cream). The decision of how to move forward will be based on an assessment of Almarai’s strengths, how they can be best used to drive future growth, and how relevant they will remain in a market that is changing so dramatically.

  • November 2018
  • Case

Governance Transition at Anadolu Group

By: Paul M. Healy and Esel Y. Cekin

Kamil Yazici and Izzet Ozilhan founded and built Anadolu Group Holding; a family business that grew into a multi-billion-dollar regional powerhouse. For 57 years they were equal partners in running the company. They then handed over a leadership role to a next generation family member; Izzet’s son Tuncay; who became the CEO and later also chairman. Under Tuncay’s leadership; the company was primarily run by professional managers; supplemented by a limited number of second- and third-generation family members in senior executive positions. However; in 2017; when the number of next-generation family members reached 85; Kamil and Tuncay began work on a governance structure they hoped would sustain the company when they left. Under their plan; family members would no longer be allowed to hold general management positions. As a result; Tuncay retired as CEO and other family members with senior executive roles resigned. A holding company was created to bring all the company’s subsidiaries under a common structure. And a process was created to allow some members of the two surviving families to hold board seats. Although the stock market reacted positively to the increased transparency brought about by the changes; it remains to be seen whether the new formula will achieve its goal of successfully transitioning the company from a family-managed business to professionally-run company.

See more research

Istanbul Staff

Esel Çekin
Executive Director
Yasemin Çağlar
Educational Programs Manager
Zeynep Mağgönül
Office Manager
Gamze Yücaoğlu
Assistant Director

Dubai Staff

Samer Al-Rachedy
Research Associate
Alpana Thapar
Assistant Director, MENA Region

Tel Aviv Staff

Danielle Golan
Assistant Director
Dhalia Tabori
Administrative Assistant