Wharton MENA Conference 2014

Destination MENA: Unlocking the Region’s Potential

Saturday, April 12, 2014 - Wharton Campus


Joe Saddi

Joe Saddi

Senior Vice President and Middle East Managing Director
Booz & Co.

Joe Saddi is the Chairman of Booz & Company. He is a Vice President and the Managing Director of the firm’s Middle East business. He has over 25 years of consulting experience in strategic, organizational, and restructuring services.

Over the years, he ‎has led major privatization programs in such sectors as oil and gas, mining, steel and electricity; advised Middle East governments on sector ‎deregulation and sector policy; and led the reorganization of national oil companies and large corporations. He also works closely with large family-owned ‎companies to help design governance and portfolio strategies.

Mr. Saddi holds an MBA from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from ESSEC in France.

Nassef Sawiris

Nassef Sawiris


Nassef Sawiris is the major shareholder and the Chief Executive Officer of OCI N.V. Mr. Sawiris is also a board member and shareholder in Lafarge S.A. He is also a Director of the BESIX Group.

Mr. Sawiris joined the Orascom Group in 1992, became the Chief Executive Officer of OCI N.V.’s predecessor, Orascom Construction Industries (OCI S.A.E.), in 1998 and was also appointed Chairman of OCI S.A.E. in 2009.

Nassef Sawiris holds a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago, USA.

Reem Asaad

Reem Asaad

Saudi Arabian Financial Advisor

Reem Mohammad Asaad is a Saudi Arabian financial advisor and writer based in Jeddah. She has 12 years of corporate experience in investment management and finance. In 2008, she added socio-economic welfare to her personal mission. Her first independent project was the “Lingerie” campaign calling for better employment opportunities for women and improved consumer rights. The campaign garnered international recognition and support stirring many underlying issues about women in the country and raising national awareness on women and consumer rights. The campaign ended successfully in 2011 when the Ministry of Labor enforced a law allowing women to work freely in the retail sectors, instantly creating thousands of jobs kingdomwide. As a result of her efforts, Reem was ranked the third most powerful Arab for 2012 by ArabianBusiness.com. Her work was documented in three international books in English, Italian and Swedish. Reem carries on her mission to improve financial awareness and women’s economic rights in Saudi Arabia. Reem also wrote the foreword to Knowledge@Wharton’s most recent eBook ‘Arab Women Rising’ co-authored by Nafeesa Syeed and Rahilla Zafar. She is an international guest speaker in a variety of academic institutions and conferences. A married mother of three daughters, Reem lives in Jeddah with her family and enjoys reading, languages and discovering new talents.

Reem Asaad’s keynote will be moderated by Kate Seelye

Kate Seelye

Kate Seelye is senior vice president of the Middle East Institute (MEI), where she oversees MEI’s programs and communications. Prior to joining MEI in 2009, Seelye worked as a radio and television journalist covering the Arab world from 2000-2009 from her base in Beirut, Lebanon. She reported on the region for National Public Radio, the PRI/BBC show, "The World," PBS TV’s "Frontline/World" and the renowned Channel Four British investigative television news series, "Unreported World." Prior to that she was a producer for the "PBS Newshour" in Los Angeles, CA, and also worked at Marketplace Radio. In 2004, Seelye was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to research the history of the early Arab-American relationship. That same year, she received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater Amherst College for her efforts to increase American understanding of the Middle East. She is the recipient of several journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for NPR’s team coverage of the war on Iraq. Seelye spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Syria, where her father served in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Dr. Freddie C. Baz

Dr. Freddie C. Baz

General Manager, Group Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Director
Bank Audi

Freddie Baz joined the Bank in 1991 as advisor to the Chairman and founded the Secretariat for Planning and Development at the Bank. As the Group Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Director of the Bank, he now has overall authority over the finance and accounting, MIS and budgeting functions throughout the Group, and is responsible for the development of the Group strategy.

He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Audi Saradar France sa, a fully owned subsidiary of Bank Audi, and is a member of the Board of Directors of several affiliates of Bank Audi.

Furthermore, Freddie Baz is the Managing Director of Bankdata Financial Services WLL which publishes Bilanbanques, the only reference in Lebanon that provides an extensive structural analysis of all banks located in Lebanon.

Freddie Baz holds a State PhD degree in Economics from the University of Paris I (Panthéon – Sorbonne).