Top 25 most influential people in the GCC utilities industry: 16-20
Utilities Middle East brings you the top 25 most influential individuals in the GCC utilities industry
16. Paddy Padmanathan
CEO and President, ACWA Power
Paddy Padmanathan, a professional civil engineer with over 35 years of experience, has served ACWA Power from 2005 as the company grew from a start-up to where it is today; a leading private developer, owner and operator of power generation and desalinated water production plants headquartered in Saudi Arabia.
The company has an investment value in excess of $32bn and can generate 23+ GW of power and produce 2.5 million m3 /day of desalinated water to be delivered on a bulk basis to state utilities and industrial majors on long term off-take contracts under Public-Private-Partnership, concession and utility services outsourcing models. ACWA is also very active in renewable energy.
17. Xavier Joseph
CEO, VEOLIA, Middle East
Xavier Joseph leads Veolia’s activities in the Gulf Countries after serving as CEO for Veolia Water in the Middle East. Xavier is an environmental engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the water industry acquired from both developing and developed countries.
Veolia is helping to meet the biggest urban and regional development challenges of this century: conserving natural resources and fighting climate change, while fostering sustainable and equitable means of growth in the Middle East.
Xavier’s portfolio of achievements, in his past and present areas of responsibilities includes, organisation of project financing for water utilities, operations & maintenance of projects for water treatment plants and water utilities, and the management of companies selling Veolia unique portfolio of water services.
18. Ahmad Bin Shafar
Ahmad Bin Shafar has been the chief executive officer of Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) since February 2004. Bin Shafar provides strategic direction with the goal of making Empower a blue chip company and one of the most efficient and profitable District Cooling Services provider in the region.
Bin Shafar has succeeded in transforming Empower into the world’s largest district cooling services provider, turning the company from a start-up with three employees into a company that commands a market share of more than 70%.
Empower recorded a net profit of $175mn for 2016. Total revenues for the year reached $501mn, a 11% increase for the company over corresponding 2015 figures. The company has more than 65,000 clients and currently operates and maintains 69 district cooling plants in various developments in Dubai. In addition, the number of buildings using Empower’s cooling services in 2016 increased to 920 in comparison to 810 in 2015.
Empower last year commenced services at various developments including Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel and IMG Worlds of Adventure. Empower also signed a Master Development Agreement with Nakheel to serve its Jumeirah Village South (JVS) development. This is a large-scale development that includes Jumeirah Village Triangle and will require a total capacity of 260,000 RT (Refrigeration Tonne).
Empower has also commenced the operations of its 3rd District Cooling Plant in Business Bay to meet the growing requirements of the development. With these three plants, Empower is serving more than 100 buildings in the development, including Al Habtoor City.
Under Bin Shafar’s direction, Empower is supporting global initiatives related to organisations such as the United Nations, and holds MoUs with leading companies in the energy fields. Moreover, Bin Shafar was the brains behind one of the largest acquisitions in the district cooling industry, by acquiring Palm Utilities, including its district cooling service entity Palm District Cooling, PDC, from Istithmar World.
Bin Shafar has over eight years of experience in senior management with Standard Chartered Bank as well as extensive experience in Banking, Finance, Marketing and Customer Relations. He is a Member of Cranfield Management Association and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. He is also a Member of the International District Energy Association, a designation held since 2004. Mr. Bin Shafar is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, USA, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management.
19. Zakia Bahjou Hess
Dow Water & Process Solutions Commercial Leader, MEA Turkey and Stan Countries
Zakia Bahjou is the regional commercial manager of Dow Water and Process Solutions, Middle East, Africa & Turkey (MEA&T) for The Dow Chemical Company. In her capacities, Zakia is leading Dow Water & Process Solutions’ (DWPS) regional sales teams and is in charge of building up organisational capabilities for the region to continue the accelerated growth across key geographies.
Zakia is also responsible for enhancing customer relations and engagement with public and private entities in the region – driving targeted specification selling efforts to ensure that DWPS technologies are the first choice in the region.
A significant quantity of Filmtech reverse osmosis (RO) elements are already being shipped from Dow’s factory in the industrial city of Jubail in Saudi Arabia since it opened last year. This is the first such plant to be built by Dow Water and Process Solutions (DW&PS) outside of the US where the company is headquartered.
The Filmtech RO elements from the new plant are an essential product for seawater and brackish water desalination, as well as for water reuse to provide potable, non-potable and industrial water.
Dow Water’s factory in Saudi Arabia underpins the company’s determination to tap into the growing demand for technology solutions in the GCC. While most of the products into the region are still being shipped directly from the US, Dow Water has developed a five-to-ten year business plan that will see the factory gradually grow into a major hub serving the Middle East and North African markets, and even far beyond.
Dow Water has also launched the IntegraFlux Ultrafiltration (UF) module which features XP Fibre, a high-performance, breakthrough fibre that delivers improved quality of water treatment at a lower cost. With up to 35% higher permeability than previous generation ultrafiltration fiber, XP Fiber provides higher flux, higher water recovery, lower waste, and reduced energy use – promising industry leading productivity with a small footprint.
The Park Hyatt in Dubai uses Dow Water reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration technologies to filter wastewater, which is then used to operate the resort’s heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) cooling towers. In one year, the project saved 37mn gallons of water, enough to fill 62 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Zakia is enabling more businesses to implement these kinds of innovative technologies so they can begin to make a real impact on their water consumption.
Some of the most prominent RO technologies used in the region include DOW FILMTEC SEAMAXX and DOW FILMTEC ECO, which allow the removal of minerals from brackish water or desalination of seawater, while producing the same amount and quality of freshwater and reducing energy consumption by up to 30%.
20. Roberto de Diego Arozamena
CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy
Roberto de Diego Arozamena is the chief executive officer of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services (ALJEES), a position he has held since September 2012. Based in Dubai, UAE, he also serves as Abdul Latif Jameel’s special projects officer.
Arozamena has been instrumental in driving the growth of Abdul Latif Jameel’s international energy business, leading its strategy to strengthen its position as an independent power producer (IPP), in the renewable energy sector. Following the acquisition of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) in April 2015, ALJEES is now the largest GCC-based solar PV developer.