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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 Dubai Economic Council, 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

Group CEO of Noor Investment Group LLC and CEO of Noor Islamic Bank PJSC

A seasoned banker with over 28 years of experience working with the leading financial institutions in the UAE, Mr. AlQemzi now leads Noor Investment Group and its flagship entity Noor Islamic Bank as its CEO.

A UAE National, Mr. AlQemzi is an insightful leader with proven experience of incubating, leading and managing strategic ventures and business transformation initiatives.

During his tenure as CEO, Noor Islamic Bank has received 19 prestigious industry awards, amongst which are Best New Bank in the Middle East, Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2009; Best Deal of the Year 2008, Islamic Finance News; Best New Product Award, Banker Middle East Product Awards 2011 and Deal of the Year 2011 in the Islamic Finance category for the European regional awards, The Banker. As a result of his achievements Mr AlQemzi was awarded the prestigious 2010 'CEO of the Year Award' in the Islamic Banking category at the CEO Middle East Awards.

Prior to his appointment as GCEO of NOOR INVESTMENT GROUP and CEO of NOOR ISLAMIC BANK Mr. AlQemzi was the Chief Executive of Sharjah Islamic Bank and a former Board member of Dubai Financial Market (DFM), and Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).

Mr. AlQemzi also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and is credited with laying the ground for the world class financial hub. In addition, to his roles at NOOR INVESTMENT GROUP and NOOR ISLAMIC BANK, Mr. AlQemzi is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, Vice Chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC and is a member of the Board of Directors of the DIFC Supreme Council, DIFC Authority and Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies. Mr AlQemzi is also a member of the Dubai Islamic Finance Council.

Abdulla J M Kalban
Board Member

Abdulla Kalban is a dynamic business personality with growing acclaim and stature in the corporate world. During his 28 years at DUBAL, where he began as a graduate trainee in 1985, Mr. Kalban has progressed through the ranks to President and Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest single site smelters in the Western world. His remarkable career path has made Mr. Kalban a role model for UAE Nationals and has earned him the respect of the international business community. He is listed as a member of the "International Who's Who of Professionals" and the "International Who's Who Historical Society".

In the course of his DUBAL career, Mr. Kalban has led the transformation of the company from a regional primary aluminium smelter into a next generation economic powerhouse. Today, he manages assets valued at more than USD 10 billion. He also leads several of DUBAL's strategic joint venture developments worldwide, comprising additional smelter complexes in the MENA region (notably the massive new Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) smelter in Abu Dhabi, built in collaboration with Mubadala) and the company's upstream investments in bauxite mining and alumina refining in Brazil, Cameroon and the Republic of Guinea.

As a strategist, Mr. Kalban has been instrumental in envisaging and evolving long-term strategic growth plans that took DUBAL from 7th position to 5th in primary aluminium production worldwide in about six years. The fundamentals of his management approach include diligently maximizing profitability and expansion while retaining the ideals of environmental consciousness and corporate social responsibility to ensure growth and progress for a sustainable future. By striking strategic alliances with major players worldwide and identifying ideal investment channels for the promotion and projection of a stellar corporate image worldwide, he has transformed DUBAL into a global company.

Additionally, Mr. Kalban is the Chairman of the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC); a Director of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), UK; a Director of the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA); and member of the Board of Dubai International Financial Centre. He is active on various committees such as The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) and the Dubai Executive Council Committee for Infrastructure & Environment; as well as the Supreme Council of Energy in the UAE. Abdulla has also served as a key policy maker on several committees instituted to lead the company and the country's transformation into the ranks of world-class competitiveness, by bringing together the best industrial practice and the potential of UAE manpower.

Formerly, Mr. Kalban was Vice Chairman of Emirates Aluminium (EMAL); a member of the Federal Agency for Environment representing the Industry Sector; a member of the Dubai Export Development Establishment and Dubai Ethics Resource Centre; Vice Chairman of Zayed International Prize for Environment; presiding member of the board of Directors of Emirates Industrial Bank; and a member UAE University Engineering faculty committee.

An avid reader, Mr. Kalban is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international aluminium industry events; and is widely known for his groundbreaking initiatives in Emiratization and sustainable development solutions. He received a Strategic Leadership Excellence Award during the 2007 World Strategy Summit; was named Businessman of the Year in the 2008 Middle East Business Achievement awards; and received the Industrial CEO Excellence Award at the 9th Middle East CEO of the Year Awards (2012).

Rashid Saif Al-Jarwan
Board Member

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

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, USA, in 1977.

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 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.

At present, Mr. Al Sharhan is a trusted advisor to His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. He is also a member of the Executive Council of the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, as well as a board member of the National Bank 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 Deputy Chairman 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. This portfolio of achievement, combined with a wealth of financial sector experience from over 17 years in the banking industry, makes him one of the most experienced CEOs in the region.

Under Mr. Al Qassim's stewardship, wasl has achieved remarkable success in the management and ownership of large-scale real estate projects undertaken for the government of Dubai. He was responsible for restructuring and developing a clear mechanism for the Group's provision of high quality services, which included operating three key subsidiaries; wasl properties, wasl hospitality and dubai golf. wasl properties is a leading real estate company that manages over 25,000 units across Dubai. wasl hospitality owns and manages several international 5-star hotel chains in Dubai, while dubai golf is home to two world-ranked golf courses across the emirate.This portfolio expansion was achieved in the face of the toughest global economic conditions.

Mr. Al Qassim's senior level financial experience includes a period as General Manager at the National Bank of Dubai, during which he was an architect for new strategies in retail and corporate banking as well as treasury and trade finance. His innovations led the bank to become a leading financial institution in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Al Qassim's current Chairmanship roles at Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic and Emirates NBD Egypt reflect his prominent role in shaping the future direction of these prestigious institutions. A graduate of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Leadership Development, Mr. Al Qassim is an advocate for the importance of recognising and developing local talent. This commitment to nurturing home-grown skills and abilities led him to become a founding member of the Young Arab Leaders organisation.

Mr. Al Qassim's board memberships include Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, Gulf Finance, National General Insurance Co., Amlak Finance and Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Services (EIBFS) as well as the International Humanitarian City. 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
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