Speakers at DIFC Summit Urge Family Businesses Not to be Pessimistic

While it is prudent to exercise caution during the global financial crisis, family businesses should avoid pessimism, speakers at the DIFC Summit, organised by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Tharawat Family Business Forum, said yesterday.

Speaking at the afternoon session of the DIFC Summit, leading decision makers of family businesses in the GCC region said, taking measures to avoid an unfavourable impact on the business is necessary; however, family businesses in the region should avoid making decisions based on fear and negative sentiments.

Speakers at the closed-door Summit cautioned family businesses against over-reacting to the crisis. “ “All that you need to make sure is that you are prudent in the way you invest. Don’t change plans, just slow down and take stock of the situation,” one of the speakers said.
Leading family business owners emphasised on the critical need for clear and concise communication to shareholders on the impact of the crisis. “For example, if there is a meeting held to discuss change in strategic direction, clear communications always puts you in the right frame of mind,” the head of a leading regional family business group said:

Clear communication is also necessary to ensure cohesion among family members who have a stake in the business. Leaders should ensure that they transfer their expertise and experience to younger family members to enhance family unity, speakers said.

Succession planning was one of the key topics discussed at the interactive afternoon session. Delegates stressed on the importance of grooming younger talent in the family and adopting a meritocratic approach to succession planning. Young members of the family should have a minimum level of experience in external businesses, to be considered for leadership in family businesses, they said.

The first business event that forms part of DIFC Week, the DIFC Summit discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by family businesses in the current global economic environment. DIFC Week is DIFC’s prestigious annual series of business conferences The Summit attracted the participation of 75 leading Arab family businesses and their representatives, including:

  • His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
  • His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Al Faisal
  • His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman
  • Mr. Essa Al Ghurair
  • Mr. Khalid Kanoo
  • Mr. Khalid Al Zamil
  • Mr. Salah Al Wazzan
  • Mr. Hussein Jawad
  • Mr. Essa Al Serkal

The DIFC Week Conference is sponsored by Alvarez & Marsal, Conyers, Dill & Pearman, Emirates NBD, Grant Thornton, HAYS, International Compliance Training (ICT) Middle East, Kershaw Leonard, Latham and Watkins, M: Communications, Norton Rose and Union Properties while the DIFC Week Gala Networking Reception is sponsored by SungardThe DIFC Summit is run in association with the Tharawat Family Business Forum.  

DIFC Week is also grateful for the active support and involvement of its Knowledge Partners who include Al Tamimi & Company, British Business Group, DIFC Centre of Excellence, Oxford Analytica, Simmons & Simmons, Young Arab Leaders, and DNM connect;  its Media Partners which are, AME Info, Arabian Business,, Al Arabiya News Channel, CNBC, Dow Jones, Dubai Eye, Financial News, The Times, The Sunday Times, SAB Media, The Wall Street Journal, Oxford Business Group and Zawya; as well as DIFC Week's Joint Marketing Partner, Dubai Corporate Counsel Group.. 

To register or find out more information about the Summit, Forum and Conference taking place at DIFC Week, visit www.difcweek.ae

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