Dubai successfully hosted the Family Business Network International, 25th FBN Global Summit under the theme ‘A Proud Past, A Sustainable Future’.
This landmark silver jubilee event, held for the first time in the MENA region, provided a unique platform for multi-generational family businesses across the world to share experiences and learn from one another. The event in Dubai attracted over 650 guests from 200 family business groups representing more than 45 countries.
The opening ceremony was attended by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, accompanied by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State, who delivered the opening speech.
FBN GCC Chairman, His Excellency Abdulaziz Abdulla Al Ghurair stated "Hosting the 25th FBN Global Summit in the Middle East for the first time was a major milestone. FBN GCC is honoured to have bridged the world’s largest network of family business owners to the GCC. We believe this unique platform, by connecting people, will yield benefits for our businesses, next generation leaders and societies at large."
The FBN Global Summit 2014, hosted in Dubai by the FBN GCC Chapter, served as a landmark in many ways, with Alexis Du Roy, CEO of FBN International stating, “The Family Business Network in Dubai and the rest of the GCC can be proud of this Summit. We could not have dreamt of a better location to celebrate the network’s jubilee summit. This event was a milestone for our organization and we have been able to set new standards for FBN.”
The FBN GCC Board members echoed and imparted similar remarks. Mr. Essam Al-Muhaidib, Group CEO of Al Muhaidib & Sons, said “FBN Global Summit at Dubai provided great intellectual and social interaction for the participants and board members. The presenters were well organized with thought provoking topics and the sessions were well attended. Dubai Summit has set a new standard for the future FBN Global Summits. Congratulations on both a successful and memorable FBN Global Summit”
The FBN Global Summit is run ‘by families, for families’. To encourage meaningful discussions, the Summit curated over 20 sessions throughout the conference focusing on a breadth of topics. These sessions allowed family businesses to connect with the audience and share their experiences.
Mr Omar Al Futtaim, FBN GCC Vice Chairman, said, “The Global Summit has enriched our experience and knowledge both for our GCC network and members. We look forward to continue providing our GCC members these unique and international exchange platforms."
Antoine Mayaud of the Mulliez Family shared his experience on striking a balance between family history and a competitive future in the next generation. Likewise, Philippe Lacoste discussed how he has created new opportunities through entrepreneurial spirit despite the sale of his family business in 2012 following internal family conflict.
As well as traditional seminars and panel discussions, participation was encouraged through interactive workshops. Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman, ALJ Domestic Operations, educated his audience on the principles of Action Learning by posing a business challenge to his audience. Together, the group developed an approach to deal with the strategic issues, which in turn gave the audience a tool kit that can be applied to their own businesses.
“I learned a lot by interacting socially with the family members representing their businesses. During informal conversations, I learned how different people have tackled similar issues in innovative ways. These personal stories can’t be learned from business school case studies. Your need someone who has travelled the road before to share insights that can only be gleaned from experiential learning. The opportunity presented by the FBN Global Summit was very rewarding”, commented Omar Al Alghanim, Group CEO, Alghanim Industries.
In addition to the multi-generational aspect, what sets the FBN Global Summit apart is that it is collaborative and action-oriented. During the closing ceremony, the participants of the Polaris Circle workshop reported on three viable social business ideas, related to packaging of FMCGs, healthy food for children and food recycling for major food franchisers. All ideas had been borne from, and developed during, the Dubai Summit workshops. The three potential business ideas had high relevance to the GCC region, given the large turnover of FMCG logistics, child obesity and recycling goals in the region.
Hassan Jameel, Deputy President & Vice Chairman, Abdul Latif Jameel Domestic Automotive Operations, added, “The 25th FBN Global Summit was a truly a worldwide event, attended by esteemed and well respected family business members. It was an opportunity to showcase the GCC as a highly sophisticated, vibrant and prosperous area of the world to conduct business. This strong strategic platform provided FBN Members the ability to interact, network, share knowledge, share experience and benefit from a range of business expertise, whilst enjoying the beauty and dynamism of the host city Dubai.
To provide deeper opportunities for interaction, the Summit offered a full programme of social activities across inspiring city locations. For the Summit in Dubai, families gathered for a memorable Gala Dinner at the base of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa. The Summit closed under the stars with the visitors being hosted in a traditional desert camp, a fitting tribute to the theme so they could reflect on the GCC’s past to understand better the sustainable future ahead.
Mr Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co, concluded, “The Middle East is characterised by the strength of its family businesses and it was an honour for the Gulf chapter of the Family Business Network to be chosen to host the 25th FBN International Summit in Dubai. In bringing together participants from over 50 countries, the Summit provided a stimulating forum for us all to share first-hand our experiences and to discuss our collective aspirations for the future.”