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OUR TEAM

JAMIL FAKHRI
Director - Corporate Finance & Strategy Advisory

Jamil has 21 years experience in business development, strategic planning, and financial engineering. Prior to establishing his consulting practice, Jamil worked for prestigious companies such as Al-Buhous Financial Consulting and Ark Financial Group, where he was Head of Project and Corporate Finance. As a generalist, Jamil worked on varied projects and thus acquired experience in different sectors, including healthcare, construction, retailing, entertainment, transportation, real estate, and food industry. His involvement in these projects was mainly focused on industry analysis, strategy and business plan development, and equity and debt financing.

Jamil holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut, an MBA and a Master's of Science in Finance from Ecole Superieure Des Affaires (France), and an Executive Masters in Islamic Financial Management (XIFM) from the Rotterdam Business School. He is also a Certified Management Accountant.

GHIDA TABBARA
Director - HR Solutions

Ghida is a seasoned HR Solutions professional with over 15 years experience, 7 of which as Human Resources Manager at Holiday Inn. She is a Certified Trainer in the fields of Train the Trainer, Presentation Skills, Public Speaking, Leadership, and Interviewing Skills.

Ghida holds a BA in psychology from the American University of Beirut as well as a Masters degree in Sociology and an Executive MBA from the Lebanese American University.

MARWAN FIRZLI
Director - Asset Management

Marwan earned extensive real estate lending experience across Europe as a real estate investor and lender for the Morgan Stanley Securitized Products Group, which managed the Morgan Stanley European Loan Conduit series (ELOC). In that role, he originated real estate loans ranging from $6 million to $100 million per property and participated in group loan-underwriting efforts on portfolios frequently exceeding $1 billion (Toys 'r Us European retail portfolio, warehouses portfolios, Portuguese Government Sale and Lease Back, EDF residential portfolio across France, Thyssen residential portfolio across Germany, Carrefour's Spanish portfolio of hypermarkets). Marwan also worked for Archon Group across Europe (subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, in charge of deploying the Whitehall Real Estate Funds). He has underwritten large granular real estate portfolios as well as distressed assets and portfolios within bank defeasance structures. He has also assessed single properties in the $10-million range as well as trophy assets worth individually in excess of $200 million. In 2005, Marwan relocated to Beirut where he assessed multiple potential investment opportunities, and between 2007 and 2011, he participated in the structuring and launch of the SHUAA MENA Hospitality Fund as Fund Manager and the SHUAA Saudi Hospitality Fund as Deputy Fund Manager.

Marwan holds a Bachelor of Commerce Joint Honors in Economics and Finance from McGill University as well as an MBA in Finance and International Business (Beta Gamma Sigma Honors) from Columbia Business School.

SAMAH WEHBI
Director - Real Estate

Samah has more than 10 years experience in the consulting practice, 7 of which she gained at Deloitte & Touche as Manager for the Middle East, specializing in feasibility studies, valuation, and business plans. In that capacity, she worked on projects across the GCC and Levant and in a variety of industries, such as real estate, hospitality, education, and others.

Samah holds an MBA and a BS in Finance from the Lebanese American University (LAU). She graduated with honors.

Hisham Ferzli
Director – Hospitality and Business Development

Joining The Unit in 2014, HishamFerzli brings in over 20 years of valuable international experience in the fields of F&B, hospitality management and international business consultancy in Lebanon, France, the United States of America and South America.

As an F&B expert, Hisham enjoys more than a decade of industry experience having worked with “Albert Abela Corporation”, one of the leading industrial catering groups in the world. Hisham started by managing the Group’s day-to-day operations in their Sao Paolo, Brazil branch. He was then appointed to the position of Regional Director and Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Finance, where he became in charge of mergers and acquisitions, business development, and budget control. Overall, Hisham cumulated an extensive record in F&B operations and finance in over 15 countries.

Over the last years, Hisham has worked as an independent Business Consultant providing operation restructuring, concept development, return on investment, efficiency level improvement, market development, and franchise development services to a large number of companies in different sectors.

He has successfully developed, managed and exited F&B concepts in Lebanon and other countries, among which Fleur de Sel and Les chandelles, both implemented in collaboration with Michelin starred Chef Pierre Marin, a leading resort in Spain , a franchise opportunity in Canada and a major industrial catering group in the Middle East.

Hisham’s consultancy portfolio also include clients from different business spectrum like, Eurofinza Group (Infrastructure-Spain), Aqualia (Water Treatment -Spain), Dominion (Hospital Supplies-Spain), Bank of Beirut (Lebanon).

In addition to his long and proven track in business consultancy ,Hisham was Managing Partner of Benchmark Technologies, a leading licensed VoIP provider in Iraq.

Hisham holds a B.S Degree in Business Administration with a minor in International Service from the American University in Washington, D.C. and an MBA in International Business with a minor in Legal Implications from the University of Miami, FL.

Salem Rihani

Salem has obtained hands-on experience in Public Finance, Real Estate Development, Sales, and Strategic Management in the US for a decade and internationally for the last seven years in Dubai he consulted in the Real Estate, Retail, Facilities Management, Pest Control Services, Education and Training & Development industries aiding his clients in making strategic decisions as well as raising private equity to take them to the next level.

During his tenure in the US his consulting advisory services included clients such as Newland Communities, the largest master-planned community land-developer in the US. Successfully aiding them in over $700M of land purchased with expected revenues of over $2B.

Salem holds a BA in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and recently a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in Global Trends Analysis.

Abdul Rahman Bouezza
Franchising & Business Development Director

An outstanding international business professional and an inspirational leader with extensive.

Board level experience and a proven record of success within challenging situations and competitive markets.

Acquired particular expertise in the creation and direction of highly effective strategies to facilitate exceptional revenue growth and expansion; including the development and implementation of transformational new structures, systems and cultural change initiatives.

Combines an entrepreneurial outlook and strong commercial skills with clear vision and a passion for achieving all objectives; consistently delivering strong team performance.

Expert in Franchising, & Business Development in Paris , UK , Dubai & Beirut

Managed multi operations in several countries & assisted business owners in setting business strategy.

Education:

-MBA: American Université of Paris 1985

-BA (Business ): American Université Paris , 1983

DR. MAZEN A. KHATTAB
Business Partner - Strategic Advisory

As a Business Partner, Dr. Khattab brings over 15 years of experience in strategic consultancy and business advisory. He is the Managing Partner of RMS Consultants SARL, serving clients operating in MENA, Africa and Asia, in several sectors including telecommunications (MNOs and TowerCo) & ICT, private aviation, contracting, oil & gas, independent power providers, medical centers, education and higher education, and microfinance.

Prior thereto, Dr. Khattab was part of renowned organizations such as M1 Group where he served as Head of Products & Services and later as Business Adviser, Resource Group Holding in the capacity of Head of Synergy and Revenue Assurance for the Group, COMIUM Group in the capacity of Group Strategic Marketing Director, and ALFA Telecom as part of the core Business Development Team.

He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with emphasis on Corporate Strategy Consulting from Grenoble Business School (GEM) in France, and an Executive MBA from the European School of Business (ESCP-EAP) in France.

Joseph Rizk
F&B Business Development Manager

Joseph has 14 years of experience in business development and operations in Kuwait and KSA. 12 years in Kuwait where he worked as business development and operations manager for the largest F&B operators in the the country such as Al Essa International Group, Al Shaya Co. and The Sultan Center company. joseph worked with international franchises, managed and/or developed in houses brands, managed operations in many GCC countries.

some of the managed and well know brands: Casper & Gambini's, Go Nuts Donuts, Ruby Tuesday, Abou El Sid, Wasabi, Prime & Toast, Pizzetta, Dean & Deluca, Santoor, Shanghai Express, Wok Hay, Meias, Au Bon Pain ...

Joseph hold a Hotel Management degree.

KRIKOR OHANNESSIAN
Director - FMCG & Retail Sector Advisory

Krikor has more than 23 years of expertise and is a seasoned professional in retail distribution, consumer brands, products management & international b2b & b2c in 48 markets across Europe, GCC, the Middle East and North Africa. Krikor started his career in the FMCG world, by sourcing, supplying and trading for long years all types of branded FMCG products worldwide. Then joined as a Buyer & Category Manager at Monoprix & Géant, leading French Retailers (part of Groupe Casino) managing and negotiating for different categories (2000+ SKUs) with local and international suppliers. Next he joined the brands principles side with Siblou, a leading frozen seafood brand distributed in more than 35 markets, where he was responsible for managing at the beginning the Middle East and Gulf distributors then he was engaged to expand and explore the European markets. He was later appointed as Vice-President based out of Poland to handle the distribution operation and negotiations with major European retailers such as Carrefour, Tesco, Real & Auchan among many others.Krikor relocated to Lebanon and joined Smeds International to manage and expand their regional business in the MENA & GCC regions.

Today Krikor provides brand owners and retail concepts with a strategic perspective to a comprehensive range of marketing and management issues and helps them evaluate current strategic implementations and benchmarks them against best practices in order to identify opportunities for improvement in their local market or internationally.

Parminder Singh
Director – Performance Improvement & Turnaround Consultant

Parminder has extensive experience in management and turnaround consultancy in various sectors, including manufacturing and industrial, logistics and distribution, as well as business and support services. He gained experience in providing operational restructuring at Thornton and Hitachi Consulting. His skills in performance improvement consulting encompassed major change programs, acquired at organizations such as Proudfood Consulting and Consilia Partners. This management consulting experience is complemented by line management experience within the supply chain of paper and print sectors.

He worked on several notable projects for various organizations across different geographic regions. Some examples include: improving the performance of an architectural glass processor for White Aluminum in Abu Dhabi, resulting in over 10% reduction in account receivables and 15% reduction in inventory; developing and implementing growth strategies for Al Zamil water tank manufacturers in Saudi Arabia, with policy revisions reducing inventory by approximately 4 millions SAR; restructuring of Neochimiki, a Greek chemical manufacturing and distributing business.

Parminder holds a BSc (Hons) from University College London and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management.

Amer A. Mardam-Bey
Venture Partner

Amer has more than 32 years’ experience in business development, international program management, security services, operational and financial expertise. Prior to joining the unit, Amer was Director of Business Development for Reed International, a Mission Critical Support Services Company, where he successfully identified and developed new business opportunities and orchestrated strategies to facilitate the expansion of the company’s client base and strategic relations in the MENA area.

As a venture partner and an entrepreneur, Amer has extensive experience gained from previous roles in the construction, program management, logistics, telecommunications, venture capital, private equity, security services, conflict resolution and capacity building in conflict and crisis countries.

Amer holds a BA in Business Administration, Management & Public Policy from The New England College, Henniker, N.H., an MBA in International Finance & Marketing from The American University in Washington, D.C. and a Diploma of Expertise on the European Economic Community from The Center for Research and Documentation on the European Economic Community at The American University in Washington, D.C.

NICOLAS RUBEIZ
Consultant - Franchising and Retail

Nicolas has 23 years experience in management of large retail networks, corporate finance, and management consultancy. His career included senior positions with Chalhoub Group, Azadea, BLOM Bank, and Tams–Louis Berger in various countries in the Middle East. Nicolas has worked with more than 60 brands and opened over 140 shops in numerous malls. Nicolas holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut, an MBA from Concordia University (Canada) and a Certificate in Strategic Finance from IMD (Switzerland).

Mohamad Saffeidine
Director – Distribution & Marketing Advisory

Mohamad has more than 25 years experience in multi-sector strategy and distribution development across the Middle East region with a strong record in implementing markets entry strategies and in driving revenues and driving growth. He started his career by working for 3M in the region for ten years during which he lead a core business group that has achieved circa US$ 120 Million in sales. As part of his mandate with 3M he was managing 11 sales persons and was in charge of 13 countries in the Middle East region. His tasks included but were not limited to developing new businesses, managing distribution channels and launching new products.

Mohamad joined Mars Inc in 2003 in the GCC region and was promoted to General Manager of Mars Saudi Arabia in 2009 through 2015, where he was leading a circa US$ 400 Million distribution and marketing JV between Mars Inc and Al Naghi Group. His responsibilities included but were not limited to Sales, Business Development, Finance, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs and Supply. Before joining The Unit, Mohamad worked for two years as the Saudi Arabia country general manager of Abbott Nutrition International (US$ 200 Million in sales).

Mohamad Holds BSC in Finance and a BSC in marketing