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DIFC Authority Board of Directors


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Aligning DIFC with the strategic vision of Dubai’s leadership

The DIFC Authority Board of Directors ensure that all of the Centre’s activities, ranging from infrastructure development, financial management and client relations, are structured and implemented in such a way as to serve the strategic vision of Dubai’s leadership.


Since its inception in 2004, Dubai International Financial Centre has become a strategic gateway for regional and international investment. Today, the Centre allows a diverse portfolio of businesses to access a wealth of opportunities in the fast-growing emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).

The Centre has continued to expand over the years, driven by the tireless efforts of its many stakeholders, who have championed the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

With the passing of each milestone achievement, DIFC has built a vibrant commercial ecosystem and a dynamic community of expert professionals. It is now internationally recognised as a financial hub, a byword for new thinking and best practice.

Looking forward, and reflecting the objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021, DIFC will introduce further innovations to consolidate its role as an investment gateway, ensuring the DIFC remains a catalyst for economic growth now and in the future. 

H.E. Essa Kazim

His Excellency Essa Kazim is the Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Chairman of Borse Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Deputy Chairman of Supreme Legislation Committee in Dubai and a member in Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.

His Excellency Kazim began his career as a Senior Analyst in the Research and Statistics Department of the UAE Central Bank in 1988 and then moved to the Dubai Department of Economic Development as Director of Planning and Development in 1993. He was then appointed as Director General of the DFM from 1999 to 2006.

His Excellency Kazim holds an honorary Doctorate from Coe College, a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Iowa, a Master's Degree in Total Quality Management from the University of Wollongong and A Bachelor degree from Coe College.

His Excellency Kazim currently sits on a number of official advisory committees and boards; he is Member of the Higher Board of Directors of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors, Chairman of DIFC Investments Board of Directors,  Board Member of Nasdaq Dubai, Board Member of Free Zones Council, Board Member of Noor Bank, Board Member of Nasdaq, Member of the Board of Etisalat, and Member of the Board and Secretary General of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center.

His Excellency Essa Kazim also serves as a board member for a number of educational institutions, both in the region and around the world.

Hussain Al Qemzi
Board Member

A seasoned banker renowned for his wise leadership and proven expertise in adopting, steering and managing strategic projects, business development and innovation initiatives, Hussain Al Qemzi has an impressive and broad experience of over 29 years in the banking and financial services sector. He has worked with leading financial institutions in the UAE, and currently is the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Noor Investment Group and its flagship entity Noor Bank.

Al Qemzi has a firm belief in innovation as a pillar of growth. Under his leadership, Noor Bank has received several prestigious industry awards, which most recently include: Two IFN Deals of the Year 2014, Islamic Finance News; Best Performing Bank-UAE, WIBC Performance Awards 2015; Critics Choice Best Islamic Bank - UAE Award, Islamic Retail Banking Awards 2015, and Most Innovative Islamic Financial Institution 2015 by Global Finance Magazine and Domestic Technology and Operations Bank of the Year – UAE at the ABF Wholesale Banking Awards 2015.

As a result of his achievements with the bank, Al Qemzi was named ‘Islamic Banking CEO of the Year’ at the prestigious CEO Middle East Awards 2015.

Prior to this, Al Qemzi was the Chief Executive of Sharjah Islamic Bank and a former board member of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), and Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX). He also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and is credited with laying the groundwork for the world-class financial hub.

In addition to his current role, Al Qemzi is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, Board Member of Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies, Vice Chairman of Emaar Properties, and a member of the Board of Directors of the DIFC Supreme Council and DIFC Authority. He is also a member of the Dubai Higher Committee for the Development of the Islamic Economy Sector.

Abdulla J M Kalban
Board Member

Mr Abdulla Kalban is a highly accomplished business executive who joined Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) in 1985 as a graduate trainee and today is Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, one of the world’s leading aluminium producers.

In the course of his career, Mr Kalban progressed through the ranks at DUBAL to become CEO in 2005, then President & CEO in 2008. Following the integration of DUBAL and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) in 2014, coincident with the formation of EGA, Abdulla was appointed to his current post of Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.

Abdulla was responsible for DUBAL’s strategic joint venture developments worldwide, comprising additional smelter complexes in the MENA region, notably EMAL, built in collaboration with Mubadala Investment Company, and DUBAL’s upstream investments in bauxite mining and alumina refining in the Republic of Guinea.

Mr Kalban also is Chairman of the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC); Chairman of Guinea alumina Corporation; Vice Chairman of Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA), a Director of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), UK.

He is active on various committees, such as the Dubai Executive Council Committee for Infrastructure & Environment, as well as the Supreme Council of Energy in the UAE. Mr Kalban has also served as a key policymaker on several committees established to lead EGA and the country's transformation into the ranks of world-class competitiveness by bringing together the best industrial practices and the potential of UAE manpower.

Rashid Saif Al-Jarwan
Board Member

Rashid Al-Jarwan is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Dana Gas, and a Board Member of the Emirates General Petroleum Corporation (Emarat), Oman Insurance Company, DIFC Investments (DIFCI), Mashreq Bank, and Chairman of Al Ghurair Holding company.

His extensive oil and gas experience extends to over 35 years, having latterly held the position of General Manager in Dana Gas for 3 years and ADGAS for 8 years and held various executive and technical positions in the Adnoc Group of companies for 28 years in Abu Dhabi.

Mr. Al-Jarwan holds Bachelor's Degree in Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. 

Salem Al Sharhan
Board Member

Mr. Salem Ali Al Sharhan worked in Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (ETISALAT) for 23 years until May 2011. During his time with Etisalat, Mr. Al Sharhan served as Group Chief Financial Officer for seven years, where he was responsible for all aspects of group financial strategy and served as a member of the corporate management team, evaluating both technology and potential acquisition targets.

As part of his role in Etisalat, Mr. Al Sharhan also represented the company on the boards of a number of international telecom companies. He served as a board member of Mobily in Saudi Arabia and as a member of Sudatel in Sudan for ten years. In addition, Mr. Al Sharhan was a board member of EMTS in Nigeria, a board member of Atlantique Telecom in West Africa and was Chairman of Zantel in Tanzania.

Mr. Al Sharhan also served as a trusted advisor to His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

At present, Mr. Al Sharhan is a Chairman of RAK Insurance, Board member of the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah as well as Member of Board of Trustees of the American University of Ras Al Khaimah.

Mr. Al Sharhan holds a BSc in Accounting and Business Administration from United Arab Emirates University, UAE.

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim
Board Member

Mr. Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim is the Chief Executive Officer for wasl Asset Management Group and is responsible for leading the organisation's transformation into a world-class asset management company. He is also the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, the Chairman of Emirates Islamic, one of the leading Islamic banks in the region and Emirates NBD Egypt; both are subsidiaries of Emirates NBD PJSC.

Mr. Al Qassim's leadership role at wasl has seen him spearhead asset management, real estate, hospitality and project development. Under his stewardship, wasl has achieved remarkable success in the management and ownership of large-scale real estate projects undertaken for the government of Dubai. This portfolio of achievements, combined with a wealth of financial sector experience from over 18 years in the banking industry, makes him one of the most experienced CEOs in the region.

Mr. Al Qassim's current Chairmanship roles at Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic reflect his prominent role in shaping the future direction of these prestigious institutions. His senior level financial experience and innovations within the banking industry, led these banks to become leading financial institutions in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Al Qassim's board memberships include DIFC Investments, National General Insurance Co., Amlak Finance, Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Services (EIBFS), International Humanitarian City as well as the National Human Resources Development Committee in the Banking and Financial Sector. His professional and vocational qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree in Banking and Finance, a Master's Degree in International Business and an Executive Leadership Degree.  

Hamad Buamim
Board Member

Holding his current position since 2006, Hamad Buamim is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In his current capacity, he is responsible for representing, supporting and protecting the interests of the business community in Dubai.

Mr. Buamim also acts as Deputy Chair of the World Chambers Federation – ICC in Paris.

In previous roles, Mr. Buamim was the Chairman of Emirates Financial Services, Chairman of Emirates NBD Capital, and Board Member of Emirates NBD Bank and Network International.

In addition to his role on the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority Board, he also sits on the Board of Directors of the UAE Central Bank and serves as the Managing Director and Board Member of Dubai World.

Mr. Buamim holds a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, United States. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science with Magna Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. 

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