New global risks require new ways of thinking says Gergawi at WEF

New global risks require new ways of thinking says Gergawi at WEF

DUBAI, 8 September 2007: Speaking at the World Economic Forum being held in the Chinese city of Dalian, Al Gergawi said that future CEOs will have to combine the skills of top politicians and motivating leaders, as well as being excellent managers.

Mohammad Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Executive Chairman of Dubai Holding said today that for organizations to be successful in the rapidly changing global economy, CEO's must develop a new set of capabilities to meet the challenges they will face.

During a session on 'Global Risks to Global Growth', Al Gergawi said: "In the new global stage, the key capabilities for success are speed, innovation, knowledge management and Blue Sky strategies. It is no longer enough for CEO's to be an excellent manager and business strategist. Today, as well as being a leader, CEO's must also be an organization's senior socio-political analyst.

"Yesterday we worried about the global internet bubble, Y2K and the outcomes of the end of the cold war. Today we face global security and energy challenges, environmental and health risks and the rise of a new super power. We are not sure what the future holds but we can be sure that in the next decade, we will see more change than we have witnessed in the last 100 years altogether.

"To meet the challenges that will emerge we will need new global CEO's who combine management and policy skills with global understanding," Al Gergawi added.

Everyone lives and works in a new world that is flat, interconnected and complex, Al Gergawi told delegates. The balance of power is shifting and new cities and new organizations are taking advantage of new global opportunities. "The future will be for those who can master the new ways of working," he said.

Global risks are increasing in number and complexity, Al Gergawi pointed out, citing global energy scenarios and related geo-politics, the global security crisis, the restructuring of global governance systems, environmental threats and health risks, including AIDS, SARS and the Avian flu scare, as examples.

In addition to being affected by the global risks, the Arab world is impacted by additional regional risks. These include decades of political instability; the need for 80 million jobs in the next 10 years; the demographic challenge of over 60% of the region's population being under the age of 25 and anti-Arab sentiment in many countries outside the region.

Calling for a new approach to tackling global and regional risks, Al Gergawi said: "I always keep in mind that life is 10 per cent of what happens to me and 90 per cent of how I react to it. The future will be for those who can master the new ways of working."

Drawing on his own experience, growing Dubai Holding from a Dubai-based local organization, with just seven employees in 1999, into first a regional corporation and now a global player with 38,000 employees and 150 companies, Al Gergawi said Dubai Holding has one of the fastest cycles from concept to implementation. "We see opportunities and move fast and first."

Another key factor in Dubai Holding's success is its ability to manage knowledge on a global scale, not just business and economic knowledge but also political, social and cultural knowledge, Al Gergawi said. "Knowledge requires the ability to learn fast and to forget old ideas."

And by daring to dream and making those dreams reality, Al Gergawi said, Dubai Holding created new markets and opportunities. "Blue Sky thinking has been the core of our approach for the past 10 years. Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City were new and risky projects but with them we changed the rules of regional development."