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Getting Down to Business

Business, Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship: Alumni in this category are making an impact in the marketplace, promoting excellence and innovation in entrepreneurship and business growth, and generating media attention. They are on the cutting edge — transforming the way the world does business.

Abdallah S. Jum’ah ’65

Political Science

After studying political science at AUC and the American University of Beirut, Abdallah S. Jum’ah served as the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil-producing company, for more than 13 years. The first non-engineer to run the company, Jum’ah led the far-reaching expansion of its oil, gas and refining businesses, as well as its entry into the petrochemical market. He is currently board chairman of the Saudi Investment bank and has been a board member of many companies, including Halliburton. Jum’ah, a former AUC trustee, received the Global Impact Award from the University for his innovative approach to business and interest in developing leaders. In 2007, he was listed in the Financial Times as the first of its Who’s Who: Ten Top Powers to be Reckoned With.

Mohamed Shafik Gabr ’73

Economics

Mohamed Shafik Gabr is the chairman and managing director of ARTOC Group for Investment and Development. He is also the founder and first president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and founder
of the Mohamed Shafik Gabr Foundation for Social Development in Egypt and the Shafik Gabr Foundation in the United States. He is one of the world’s leading philanthropists and collectors of Orientalist art. In 2012, Gabr was ranked by Arabian Business and The Middle East among the Most Influential Arabs and Our Top 50 Arabs. He received AUC’s Global Impact Award (2015) and Distinguished Alumni Award (2008) for his impactful contributions.

Mohamed Shelbaya ’90

Economics

From meeting his wife 24 years ago at AUC to slam-dunking as a basketball player on its courts, Mohamed Shelbaya recalls countless memories at his alma mater. Studying last minute for exams, looking for the best notes and watching the late Madame Azhaar crashing the basketball court, screaming repeatedly, “AUC doesn’t lose!” — those are among Shelbaya’s funniest memories at AUC that would make him “always ready to come back to this place.” His education and travel around the world as a professional player on the national basketball team are what endorsed Shelbaya’s key positions at PepsiCo, starting as the sales and marketing director in 1999 to becoming CEO of PepsiCo Egypt. “AUC has always been dear to my heart. It has shaped my character and where I am today,” he says.

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Hassan Abdalla ’82 ’94

Business Administration

Hassan Abdalla joined the Arab African International bank in 1982. Twenty years later, he became CEO, pioneering exceptional growth and expansion for the bank that led it to become the fastest-growing in Egypt and the region in terms of size and profitability. The bank is also the first in the Middle East to introduce the social development foundation/ initiative, We Owe it to Egypt, for philanthropic activities, in addition to its sustainability activities. Abdalla has been an adjunct professor at AUC for the past 20 years.

Mohamed Samir ’89

Business Administration

Mohamed Samir spent almost three decades with P&G. He started off in 1989 as a brand assistant for fabric care in Egypt and kept home-growing to become P&G president for the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa until he retired in 2018. Following assignments in Western Europe, Samir returned to the region as Yemen country manager — the youngest regional executive to manage a country. He then supervised the Egypt and Levant markets. His region set record volume and profits, generating triple growth versus the previous five years.

Dina El Mofty ’98

Political Science

CEO and co-founder of INJAZ Egypt, Dina El Mofty knew she would work in development ever since she was a child. At INJAZ, a nonprofit organization, El Mofty and her team have educated and trained more than half a million students across Egypt in entrepreneurship, job preparation and financial literacy. In addition to seed-funding and supporting more than 50 successful startups, INJAZ initiated the Adopt-a-School program, whereby companies and individuals may sponsor a school — training the teachers and coaching parents. An AUC trustee, El Mofty also founded Inspo to provide high- quality personal and professional development global programs in Egypt and the Middle East.

Adel El-Labban ’77, ’80

Economics

Adel El-Labban has served as the group CEO and managing director of Ahli United Bank in Bahrain since 2000. With 40 years of experience in the financial services sector, El-Labban held numerous senior positions in the United Kingdom, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including vice president of corporate finance at Morgan Stanley. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from AUC in 2003 and was named by the London-based EMEA Finance magazine as CEO of the Year, Pan Middle East 2016.

Hatem Dowidar (MBA ’01)

MBA

Recipient of AUC’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Hatem Dowidar brings almost 25 years of experience in multinational companies — 18 in telecommunications. He joined Etisalat group as group chief operating officer in 2015, becoming CEO in less than a year. He is a board member of Etisalat subsidiaries in Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan. Previously, he was the group chief of staff for Vodafone group based in London. He initially joined Vodafone Egypt when it first started in 1999, rising up the ranks from marketing director to CEO. At Vodafone, he served as CEO of Vodafone Malta and Partner Markets, covering more than 40 countries, as
well as regional director of Emerging Markets. Prior to that, Dowidar worked in marketing at P&G.

Takreem El Tohamy ’84, ’94

Mechanical Engineering; Business Administration

Prior to his 2005 appointment as general manager of IBM Middle East and Africa, Takreem El Tohamy led the IBM Services Joint Ventures business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa out of the European head office in Paris. El Tohamy has been focused on driving innovation, establishing advanced research collaborations with universities in the region in the fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and nanoscience. He is also a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. He was named by Forbes Middle East among the 100 Most Powerful CEOs in 2015 and Top 10 Executives in the Middle East in 2018.

Ashraf El Afifi ’91

Business Administration

Regional president of Henkel in India, the Middle East and Africa, and corporate senior vice president for laundry and home care in high-growth regions including the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America, Ashraf El Afifi is responsible for more than 3,500 employees in 25 countries. He is ranked among the top 25 managers at Henkel, which he joined in 1992 when the company began operating in the Egyptian market. El Afifi has been named by Arabian Business among the 100 Most Powerful Arabs in 2018 and 100 Most Influential Arabs in 2017. He was also named by Forbes Middle East among the 100 Most Powerful CEOs in 2015.

Nevine Loutfy ’74

Economics

Nevine Loutfy, who was tragically killed in 2016, was the first female CEO and managing director of an Islamic bank in the Arab world — Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. With 32 years of experience in financial capitals, working with Citigroup and traveling from New York to London, she held top positions at banks in Egypt, Europe and the United States. She was also a member of the Dean’s Strategic Advisory board at AUC’s School of Business. Honoring Loutfy’s legacy, her sons Assem Raouf Abdel Hady (MBA ’16) and Omar Raouf Abdel Hady established the Nevine Loutfy Scholarship at AUC.

Up And Coming

Graduates of the last 15 years (2004 onward)

Tarek El Nazer ’06

Accounting

Basel Mashhour ’04

Political Science

Sameh El Sadat ’05

Political Science

Even during their time at AUC, Tarek El Nazer ’06, Basel Mashhour ’04 and Sameh El Sadat ’05, friends and founders of the successful bakery chain The Bakery Shop (TBS), were food-focused. “My favorite memory at AUC is definitely the time we spent in the cafeteria eating the same thing every day for four years,” laughed El Sadat.

Since its founding in 2008, TBS has been wildly successful in Egypt, attracting customers with its savory and sweet sandwiches and pastries cooked fresh and in plain view. There are now several branches across Egypt, including one on AUC’s New Cairo campus.

For the three friends, the mutual admiration goes both ways. “AUC for
us was a great school that helped in sharpening our minds and building the networks we needed to get into the next stage of our lives,” explains El Nazer.

El Sadat agrees. “My experience with AUC was a practical one full of flexibility. It gave me space to think what exactly it is I want to do in life,” he says.

All three had the opportunity to travel as AUC students: El Nazer to New York for the National Model United Nations, El Sadat to the University of Southern California for a summer course and Mashhour to Mcgill University for a summer course.

All three describe AUC as a great place to network. “AUC gave me the foundation I needed. It was like a lab where you learn, practice and share knowledge with different people,” says Mashhour.

Their advice to budding entrepreneurs at the University? “Learn inside of class as much as you learn outside of class. The more you do on campus and the more you do within the AUC domain — this will have a huge impact on your life later on,” says El Nazer.

“Don’t take things too seriously. It’s okay to not know exactly what to do in your business life. Be flexible with your approach,” advises El Sadat.

Hadeer Shalaby ’11

Business Administration

Having a mindset to innovate and inspire is what made Hadeer Shalaby the youngest regional director of Careem Bus, the region’s leading app-based car booking service.

Shalaby was the first to introduce a car reservation service at the North Coast, Taxi El Sa7el, in the summer of 2014. “It came out of a personal need to commute in the North Coast, and I couldn’t find anyone to take me,” she says.

Instead of waiting for someone to make it happen, she decided to start her own business, offering transportation using other people’s cars. “At the time, I hadn’t heard about Careem or other similar services,” she reflects. She started surveying people about their needs for such a project and investigating the best pricing strategies for the market. “At some point, our drivers decided to quit on us, so I went and drove myself and had my dad, friends and mothers of friends drive as well. It was so exciting to see your own idea become a reality and actually help people in their daily lives,” she says.

After graduating from AUC, Shalaby traveled to Lebanon and founded AIESEC Lebanon. She was unsure about the route to pursue her dreams but was definitely certain about the destination. AUC’s liberal arts education enabled her to explore different paths. “It helped me know what I don’t want to do before knowing what I want to do,” she says.

After the success of Taxi El Sa7el, the young entrepreneur was approached by the Dubai-based company Careem to start its operations in Cairo. “They had the technology, and I had the market knowledge in Egypt and experience in the industry,” says Shalaby, who was recognized by Amwal Al Ghad in 2017 as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Egypt.

“Dream big; be different; don’t listen to people telling you that your idea won’t succeed,” she advises.

Mostafa Kandil ’15

Petroleum Engineering

Mostafa Kandil co-founded the ride-sharing business Swvl and — with his partners — sold a stake to global competitor Careem, secured $8 million in venture capital, and began plans to expand from Egypt to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia and the Philippines. All of that within three years of graduating from AUC in 2015. Kandil is ambitious, and the education he received at AUC helped him focus that ambition, he says: “It opens your mind.” Studying with diverse students from Egypt and around the world changed him. “They kind of show you that your competition is not around you,” he says. “Everyone is competing globally, and you are part of AUC, which is competing globally. It opens your mind to beyond Egypt.”

Kandil sees a direct line from that lesson to the success of Swvl, which organizes privately owned, under-utilized buses to run set routes — building a new, affordable transportation infrastructure from existing resources. “It’s the reason why we’re here now,” he says. “We’re solving a global problem.” And he’s doing it using the skills and mentality — “doing and then letting the market teach you” — that he developed while working with the AUC Venture lab. Kandil believes the University is only just getting started in its role to inspire young innovators “to actually create and deviate out of the norm.” Expanding the work of the V-lab will help. “There is still a lot to do — not just for Egypt, but for the region.”

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