Network and share knowledge with up to 120 CFOs from leading organisations in the Middle East and North Africa

As the slump in oil prices is starting to weigh on businesses in the region, CFOs are gearing up to take on increasingly high levels of responsibility in helping their organisations navigate the waters of global economic fluctuations.

A strategist, a number cruncher, a strategic advisor, a catalyser for change: today’s CFO is multi-faceted. The CFO Strategies Forum MENA is the only platform focused on covering the different aspects of a CFO’s role, arming the attendees with the right tools to overcome their biggest challenges.

Over two days, the forum brings together over 120 Chief Financial Officers, CEOs and industry experts to Discuss industry trends, catalyse the region’s continuous growth and provide them with unparalleled networking opportunities.

The CFO Strategies Forum also features the MENA CFO Awards, which recognise individuals and organisations for their outstanding achievements and revolutionary practices.

I had a great time! The forum gave me the opportunity to interact with incredible people. Exchanging perceptions about common challenges with peers is super exciting. We’ll have many follow ups.

Finance Director - Worldwide Enterprise & Partner Group Microsoft Corporation

forum format

Learn from the experience of successful C-level executives through interactive panel discussions. Each centres on a specific topic with time for Q&A sessions afterwards, enabling you to have your
most pressing questions answered.

Focusing on specific topics and themes, these give you the opportunity to choose your own workshops and take part in highly interactive sessions that deliver practical knowledge and skill

A highlight of the forum, the awards acknowledge prominent individuals and organisations for a variety of skills, acumen and achievements. The highest quality entrants ensure strong competition.

Get to meet prominent, like-minded delegates in a focused, five-star environment. You can conduct meetings, share strategies and ideas, explore business opportunities and build profitable professional relationships.

Engage in a problem-solving round table discussion of your choice with your peers to come up with solutions to a key challenge of the group.

Hear from expert speakers and gain insight into the latest solutions and approaches. Focused on a specific case study or issue, these reveal a fresh perspective on how to tackle current challenges.

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Nisreen Shocair

Nisreen Shocair

President, Virgin Megastore Middle East & Africa View Profile
Dr Sabah Binali

Dr Sabah Binali

CIO; CEO – Credit; Advisor to the Chairman SHUAA Capital View Profile
Rae’d Saqelfait

Rae’d Saqelfait

Group CFO, View Profile
Joy Aljouny

Joy Aljouny

Co-founder, Fetchr View Profile
Danilo Cassani

Danilo Cassani

Area Head, Near East, Middle East, Turkey & Africa (NEMEA), TAKEDA View Profile
Nisreen Shocair
Nisreen Shocair is the President of Virgin Megastore for the Middle East. Virgin Megastore Middle East is a leading entertainment brand and retailer in the region, synonymous with youth, trend, entertainment and culture. Nisreen has been instrumental in building the Virgin brand across the region by incorporating local and international consumption trends into one shopping experience.

Prior to joining Virgin Megastore, she held positions at Sony Music, Bertelsmann AG and Hearst Entertainment. Nisreen has extensive experience within the music, publishing, licensing, digital and retail sectors.

Nisreen holds Masters’ Degree in Business Administration from both London Business School and Columbia University and has a global perspective having lived and worked in New York, London, the Middle East and Africa. Nisreen is on the advisory board of several digital and environmental start-ups. She was awarded Female CEO of the Year by CEO Middle East in 2011 and Businesswoman of the Year by Women in Leadership in 2011. Nisreen was on the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women’s list three years in a row and was listed in the top 100 most Powerful Arab Women in 2014 by Forbes Middle East. She has also participated in panels and discussions at the World Retail Congress 2016 and has chaired the Retail Leader’s Circle 2016 in the UAE.
Dr Sabah Binali
Dr. Sabah bin Hamad al-Sabah al-Binali, Ph.D. is an active investor and entrepreneurial leader, with a track record of financing, building and growing companies in the Mena region.

He has served as the Chief Investment Officer of SHUAA Capital simultaneously serving as its CEO of Credit, Chairman of Zawya, Director of the Board at Credit Suisse Saudi Arabia, Chairman of Shuaa Capital Saudi Arabia, Vice Chairman of Gulf Finance Co., Chairman of Gulf Installments Co., founding CEO and CIO of Saffar Capital and Head of the Treasury and Investment Division at Union National Bank as well as Director of the Board at Visa International CEMA Region..

He holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the UK Institute of Directors.

Dr. al-Binali received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, dissertation title: Competitive Analysis of Risk-Taking and Valuation of Financial Derivatives, and a B.S.E from Princeton University.
Paul-Louis Gay
Rae’d Saqelfait
Joy Aljouny
Ms. Ajlouny is an e-commerce industry professional. She is the co-founder of Fetchr, a Silicon-Valley backed technology company based in Dubai aimed at solving the "no-address" problem hindering growth in emerging markets. Fetchr uses patented technology allowing people to use their mobile phone's GPS location as their address. Fetchr is the first start-up in the Middle East to be funded by the largest and most successful venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, NEA. Ms. Aljouny, on behalf of Fetchr, was on the cover of Forbes Magazine in the Middle East, which named Fetchr the #1 startup in the region. Prior to Fetchr, she founded Bonfaire, an e-commerce discovery platform for luxury footwear and accessories. Bonfaire was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce giant Moda Operandi, owned by LVMH and Condé Nast.

While only 2.7% of venture capital funding has been raised by women, she has successfully raised funds for two startups from the most prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firms. This puts her in the top 1% of female entrepreneurs. She is passionate about using technology to solve persistent issues in emerging markets, as well as empowering women entrepreneurs to break out of traditional roles, especially in the Middle East.
Danilo Cassani
Danilo Cassani is the Area Head, Near East, Middle East, Turkey and Africa (NEMEA) for Takeda, and a member of Takeda’s Emerging Markets Leadership Team.

In his current role, which he has assumed since 2014, he is responsible for leading the rapid growth and continued expansion of Takeda’s activities in this region, which comprises Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Levant area and the African continent. Prior to that, he was the Area Head for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region at Takeda.

Danilo joined Takeda in 2012 as CFO for NEMEA, before assuming the role of Executive Director, Business Operations in 2013. In this capacity, he has played a vital role in leading some of NEMEA’s commercial entities as well as contributing to the region’s rapid growth over this period and in setting the strategy for the future expansion of the company.

He has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry acquired in senior leadership roles in Management, Commercial and Finance roles with major international companies across Europe and the Middle East, including Astra Zeneca, prior to joining Takeda. Cassani holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy.
Ricardo Lillo
Mr. Lillo is dedicated to one goal: helping organisations around the world achieve measurable and sustainable results. As the head of DOOR International, one of the leading training and consulting companies in the world, he is passionate about enabling leaders, teams and organizations to improve their performance and effectiveness.

For the past 20 years he has worked with cross-cultural groups around the world, for multinational corporations and for the public sector. He has gained extensive experience in the delivery of leadership development programs, as well as soft skills and career and talent development.

In 2002, he successfully achieved the management buyout of the DOOR global franchise business, tripled its growth, profitability and led the network to new heights. His clients now range from Microsoft, IBM and Sony to Hyundai, Abbott, AbbVie and Phillip Morris International among many others.

He holds advanced degrees in Business Administration and is one of the only globally certified Master Facilitators in the award-winning Accountability Curricula made by ‘Partners In Leadership’. His broad management experience encompasses a wide range of areas including global franchise business, high technology programs, foreign military sales, and offset/troubled programs.
Fida Chaaban
Declan King
Declan leads ValuStrat’s real estate valuation and research business and brings over 25 years of international experience. He is a Chartered Valuation Surveyor by qualification and a Professional Member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).

Prior to joining ValuStrat, Declan was Manager - Valuation & Research Department at Hamptons International UAE. He also served as a Valuation Manager with Colliers International in Abu Dhabi. Prior to moving to the Middle East, Declan had a 20 year career in property development, sales & valuations in Dublin, Ireland.

Declan’s advisory and valuation experience encompasses a broad range of reporting on all asset types for lending, audit, legal & transactional requirements. He has dealt with an extensive variety of clients including government entities, financial institutions, multinational & local corporations and private individuals.

Declan’s over two and a half decades of successful experience in real estate involving business development, sales, processes and independent advisory brings a wealth of knowledge, integrity and maturity to ValuStrat’s consulting business.
Patrick Braunschweig
Mr. Braunschweig currently works for Horváth & Partners Management Consultants in the field of controlling and finance. He leads the advisory in this area for Horváth & Partners in the Middle East. Against that background he supports his clients to transform the CFO division from a more traditional accounting role towards becoming a real business partner. Together with the Horváth & Partners CFO Panel team from Germany he leverages this benchmark to provide outside-in views for clients in the Middle East.

Prior to his engagement at Horváth & Partners, he was working for blue chip corporations in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. His work focused on developing and implementing concepts for corporate planning and budgeting, management reporting, cost accounting and cost optimisation.

Mr. Braunschweig holds a university degree in business administration and computer science, as well as the ACCA degree from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in England.
Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din
Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din is the Chief Executive Officer of Hawkamah, the Institute for Corporate Governance, the DIFC. He is also a jury member of the Arabia CSR Award. Prior to joining Hawkamah, Dr. Ashraf was the Executive Chairman of Egypt Post. Before that, he was the Deputy Executive Director of the Egyptian Banking Institute, the training arm of the Central Bank of Egypt. He was also the founder and Project Manager of the Egyptian Corporate Responsibility Center working on promoting the concepts and application of CSR in Egypt. Furthermore, he was the Executive Director of the Egyptian Institute of Directors (EIoD), the Institute of Corporate Governance in Egypt and the Arab Region Dr. Ashraf served as a board member and head of the Audit Committee in a number of listed, non-listed, State Owned and family owned companies. He also served a member of the General Assembly of the Holding Company for Transportation.   Furthermore, Dr. Ashraf holds a PhD degree from Manchester University, UK, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Carleton University, Canada. He further holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Cairo University with highest honor.
Michael Bonito
Michael Bonito is a Territory Sales Manager at Excel4apps with comprehensive experience in managing complete sales cycles for IT software and hardware, with over 7 years’ experience in both European and Middle Eastern markets. Highly motivated, pro-active, dynamic and educated at degree level in the United Kingdom, Michael has extensive knowledge and understanding of organizational reporting solutions. Michael recently delivered an insightful presentation at the Middle East Oracle User Group in 2015 where he spoke of an alternative real-time Excel-based reporting solution that leverages existing ERPs and Microsoft investments.
Shane is currently the CEO of The Phillips Group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Helping companies build championship leadership teams has been a tradition in the Phillips family for two generations. From assisting Fortune 500 companies acquire and retain top performing senior executives or advising leading Chief Executive Officers on developing their human capital, Shane has executed CXO assignments all over the world. His passion for helping people and companies develop leadership capability has driven him to engage the media, where he is now the host of the MENA Region’s number one Talk Radio Career show on Dubai Eye 103.8 called “Eye On Careers”. He is also the Host of one of the leading Asian business TV Shows called “Top Guns” on Zee TV, the leading South Asian television satellite channel. Shane holds an MBA from London Business School and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He is a Non-Executive Board Member of Fortis Group Holdings. He is the founder of The Career Clinic and Risk Middle East Group. A former Executive Board Member of the Canadian Business Council, President of the Club for Canadians and a volunteer with the Families with Special Needs, the United Way and Young Achievers.
Iyad Abdalrahim
Corporate finance executive with MBA offering over 22 years of experience building, leading, and advising corporations through establishing growth, restructuring, controls, complex financing transactions, and enhancing operational support functions.

Throughout his career with leading organizations such as Standard Chartered Bank, Arab Bank, Depa Ltd, Dubai Properties Group and Arabtec Holding as a CFO and an Acting CEO, he has been highly involved within the Real Estate and Contracting Sectors in regards to managing Growth, Leading IPOs, Business restructuring, launching of new developments, complex financing structures, project financing, and structuring of financial aspects of sales and CRM, and cost control measures.

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ValuStrat is a leading consulting group in the Middle East providing various services, including strategy and management consulting, valuation, research, due diligence and asset divestments, for a wide variety of sectors. Through its offices in Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Doha, ValuStrat serves over 800 local and multinational corporate clients.

The group’s team has extensive experience in providing strategic advisory services for new projects and corporate growth, and in conducting market research, preparing industry studies, feasibility reports, business plans, market entry strategy, information memorandums and financial models. ValuStrat’s Valuation Division has strong expertise in the valuation of businesses as well as fixed assets, especially real estate and industrial assets. In addition, ValuStrat provides financial due diligence and commercial due diligence services for corporations, field verifications for banks' prospective clients, technical due diligence for industrial and real estate assets in M&A transactions, Mandoob services for Islamic banks and project monitoring services on behalf of financial institutions for under-construction projects. Through Hilco-ValuStrat, ValuStrat's joint venture with Hilco Industrial (headquartered in USA), the two companies co-manage industrial asset disposition and divestment projects in 11 countries in the Middle East.

Office 703, Palace Towers,
Dubai Silicon Oasis,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

T +971 4 326 2233
Established in 2005 and servicing 27,000 users in over 900 organisations globally, Excel4apps is a best-in-class provider of Microsoft Excel-based reporting and data-loading software for use with Oracle EBS, SAP ERP and PeopleSoft Financials applications. By empowering business professionals in a range of industries with independent and secure access to real-time ERP data via Microsoft Excel, Excel4apps solutions’ facilitate accurate and timely business decisions.

Excel4apps products include the award-winning GL Wand for financial reporting, Reports Wand for pan-ERP real-time reporting as well as solutions for the upload of actuals, budget and planning data. Excel4apps has offices in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia to serve the needs of both local and global multinational companies.

PO Box 502363, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

T +971 4 5579921
Horváth & Partners are the specialists for the corporate performance management and performance optimization of private and public sector organizations. As such we offer our clients consulting services from developing the business concept through to anchoring the solution in the company. Additionally, we also impart our knowledge through the Horváth Academy in the form of training seminars and further education events.

Our approach to consulting is based on an intensive partnership and cooperation with our clients. Fair and team-oriented interaction in the project teams, with a constant eye on results, is a key success factor especially when it comes to combining knowledge about the specific situation of the client with the external view of our experienced consultants. In this way, we develop powerful business concepts, implement them in structures, processes and IT systems, and help the employees with the transformation of the new solutions into their daily work.
MDS ap helps you run business better leveraging technology from SAP and other best of breed solution providers. We provide quality professional services delivering world-class integrated solutions focusing on Data Management, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Analytics/BI, Enterprise Architecture, Data Governance, Omni-Channel Banking and Human Capital Management. For more than twenty years, we have been supporting enterprise organizations across MENA, Turkey and Eastern Europe regions which makes us uniquely positioned to help you maximize the ROI on your SAP investment and fully leverage the complementary industry solutions.

MDS ap is a Gold Partner of SAP and part of the Midis Group. We have twelve offices across MENA, Turkey and Central Eastern Europe with locally based consultants. For more information, please visit:
The Phillips Group is a leading Management Consultancy with a focus in Human Resource Consulting. Helping companies build championship leadership teams has been a tradition in the Phillips family for two generations. Whether it's assisting Fortune 500 companies acquire and retain top performing senior executives or advising leading Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers on driving their organization to peak performance, The Phillips Group has experience in securing leadership talent from all four corners of the world. The Phillips Group is one of 20 firms accepted as a member of the AESC in the Middle East.

We are the Executive Search Specialists.
CFO ME is the only magazine in the region reporting to this specific audience, creating a vital link between regulators and financial professionals, as well as providing a platform for financial executives to share ideas and opinions. Every month CFO offers guidance, support and knowledge on topics including banking, auditing, government legislation, healthcare, fraud and security, technology, business applications, employment benefits, management, and career development. It also features regular interviews with thought leaders, and the latest industry news and event coverage - not to mention covering the job moves that matter. It’s a critical, attractive and provocative tool for reaching the most important C-suite role of all - today’s CFO.
Unrivaled intelligence on Arab Affairs

TRENDS is the leading magazine on Arab affairs in the Mena region. The magazine provides business leaders with critical insight and in depth analysis of issues and developments in the Middle East, while forming opinions on business, social, political and economic matters. Delivering sterling information and analysis on the region for more than 15 years, Trends has established itself as the premier source for Arab affairs.
Connecting regional business, finance and economics

Saneou Al Hadath is a unique monthly Arabic business magazine, addressing middle- and top-level managers in the Middle East interested in daily business issues. Offering a lively look at the entrepreneurs who have helped build empires, Saneou Al Hadath connects the business and human aspects of commerce and helps business relationships and recognise the achievements of companies. Explaining the economy in a unique, clear and simple way has become its trademark. For the fifth consecutive year, Saneou Al Hadath has been ranked as the No.1 magazine in its category by Ipsos-Stat., a city marketing portal that provides media and marketing solutions servicing to both local and international clients, and support major events through sponsorship, organizing, and marketing services such as:

  • Email campaign
  • Banner advertising
  • Social Media Campaign
  • SMS Campaign
  • Events $ Training Marketing
  • Public Relations Services
  • Web Design & Development Services
  • Advertising, Media, Graphic Design

Contact Eye of Riyadh:
Tel: +966 11 2288587


Get recognised for excellence in finance at the MENA CFO Awards

  • award categories


    award categories

    This year’s categories include


    This award recognises a CFO from a public sector organisation for their continuous development of the Finance Department, and serving as an advisor to senior management in making strategic decisions. Nominees are required to provide examples of their leadership, strategic thinking and key management decisions. This category is open for: Group CFO, CFO, VP Finance, GM Finance and alike.


    Acknowledges a CFO from a private sector organisation for exceptional performance in leading the finance team during the past year. This may include aligning the finance function with their organisation’s strategic direction, and having a direct impact on its bottom line. This category
    is open for: This category is open for: Group CFO, CFO, VP Finance, GM Finance and alike.


    Presented to a CFO who has demonstrated innovation by expanding beyond accounting and control to a more active role developing strategies, and articulating them internallyand externally to win the support of all key stakeholders.


    The winner of this award will have played an integral role in maintaining a balance between protecting the company’s assets while promoting a culture of innovation, risk taking and flexibility in order to prepare for fast-growing emerging markets.


    This award honours a finance team with 3 or more members who played an instrumental role in contributing to the success of their organisation. The department needs to demonstrate a proactive approach in balancing time between number crunching and business analysis, as well as delivering timely financial information.


    Recognises an ambitious and committed finance executive who has performed exceptionally well in his/her role and had a direct impact in developing the finance department. The nominee must have served in the department for at least 1 year. This category is open for: All managers within the finance function.


    This award acknowledges a Chief Investment Officer, Head of Treasury or a financial executive actively involved in investments from a public or private organisation for their innovative strategies, fiduciary savvy and impressive shortas well as long-term returns who stood out in the MENA investment community for their exceptional performance and risk management. The assessors are looking for a detailed demonstration of success and a cognisance of areas like consistent outperformance of a benchmark, strategic planning and implementation.

    8. Women in Finance Award | NOMINATE NOW

    Developed in partnership with ACCA, this award honours a senior female finance executive who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and actively contributes to promoting the finance profession and developing female talent. This category is open to female finance professionals (CFOs, Directors of Finance, Heads of Treasury) with a minimum of 7 years of experience.




    Individual Past Winners

    • Revolutionary CEO of the Year

      Tom Drummond collected the award on behalf of Abu Dhabi Financial Group CEO Jassim Alseddiqi,

      who won the second prize in the category

    • Revolutionary CEO of the Year

      Anees Moumina

      CEO of SEDCO Holding was the winner

    • Revolutionary CFO of the Year

      Moazam Ali Shah

      CFO at Al Zamil for Industry and Trade, achieved third place in the category

    • Revolutionary CFO of the Year

      Fahad Al Shammari

      CFO of Spimaco, was ranked second in the category

    • Revolutionary CFO of the Year

      Nazeer Hussain

      CFO of Thumbay Group, won the trophy in the category

    • Financial Executive of the Year trophy

      Haifa Al Khaifi

      Finance Director at Petroleum Development Company, won the coveted

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Private sector

      Waleed Al Balushi

      GM – Finance at OCS Infotech, achieved the third place in the category

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Private sector

      Atif Reza

      CFO, SEDCO Holding ranked second place in the category

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Private sector

      Raj Jit Singh Wallia

      Deputy CFO at DP World, collected the trophy on behalf of Yuvraj Narayan, who won the first place in the category

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Public sector

      Haifa Al Khaifi

      Finance Director at Petroleum Development Company, achieved the third place in the category

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Public sector

      Jinesh Sanghvi

      CFO at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre achieved second place in the category

    • MENA CFO of the Year – Public sector

      T.V. Ramesh

      CFO at Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, won the award in the category

    • Finance Team of the Year

      Mr. Calum Laurie

      collected the award on behalf of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who
      achieved second place in the category

    • Finance Team of the Year

      DP World’s

      finance team won the Finance Team of the Year award The award


    • Award Guidelines* Required

      Please complete the form below in order to download the award guidelines.

submit your nominations
  • submit your nominations* Required

    Please complete the form below to download the nomination forms.


It's been a fantastic experience!

Deputy CFO, DP World

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I urge all my colleagues to attend it.

Financial Controller, Saudi Aramco (SATORP)

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It was very engaging.

Finance Director, Petroleum Development Oman

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Great selection of topics.

Group CEO, SEDCO Holding

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Great value for money and time!

CFO, Hamriyah Freezone Authority

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Get in touch with one of our team members to learn more about our leadership forums.