Perhaps the highlight of day one of the two-day CFO Mid-East Forum in Dubai was the MENA CFO Awards, where select CFOs and CEOs in the GCC receive accolades based on their performance during the past 12 months.

The initiative is the brainchild of French business information group naseba. For the past five years, they have hosted key regional CFOs and senior financial personnel from a variety of sectors, enabling them to explore strategies and best practices.

CFO Mid-East Forum regularly attracts leading speakers from around the globe and is viewed as one of the most pivotal platforms in the region.  The opportunity for 100 CFOs to share ideas and strategies is viewed as invaluable – particularly with many experts predicted a challenging 24 months ahead for many businesses.

“The Middle East is in good shape relative to other global economies. We have to base our decisions – not on what has happened during the past – but what will happen in the future,” explained Ziad Makhzoumi, Chief Financial Officer at Arabtec Holding, one of the event’s speakers.

This year the MENA CFO Awards consisted of seven award categories, with the ceremony and presentations conducted by naseba Project Manager Vijayraj Amin.

The winners were as follows:

  • MENA CFO of the Year – Neeraj Vohra Dwarka – Dubai Refreshments UAE
  • Hall of Fame / Most Admired CFO – Ziad Makhzoumi  – Arabtec Holding
  • Hall of Fame / Most Admired CEO – Seraj Al Baker – Mazaya Qatar
  • Revolutionary CFO of the Year – Ahmed Fayad Al-Gebali – Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Revolutionary CEO of the Year Award –  Khalid Bin Kalban – Dubai Investments UAE
  • Excellence in Finance (Private Sector) – Carlos Eduardo Ribeiro – Gulf Bank
  • Excellence in Finance (Public Sector) – Muhammad Atif Rafique – Information Technology Authority Oman

Day two of the forum concluded today, and featured panel discussions, workshops and keynote speeches. Chairperson for the two days, Danilo Cassani, Chief Financial Officer MENA Region at AstraZeneca officially closed the event.

During his opening remarks on day one, Cassani explained his views on the future of the CFO in an organistion. He remarked that a more strategic approach to finance is needed in the future, and that CFOs are now more involved than event before in this process.

He continued by adding: “The role of the CFO is changing significantly. When assessing the skills and capabilities of the modern day CFO, they are very similar to those of a General Manager. In fact, more people are moving from the role of CFO to GM [and vice versa] and I believe the current economic situation is driving this.”