International trade body appoints new UAE chairs

The International Trade Council, one of the largest and oldest global business networking and trade promotion bodies, has appointed two new regional chairs for the UAE.
Updated 12 March 2018
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International trade body appoints new UAE chairs

LONDON: The International Trade Council, one of the largest and oldest global business networking and trade promotion bodies, has appointed two new regional chairs for the UAE as part of a bid to recruit more small- and medium-sized firms and boost trade in the area, particularly with Africa.
Michael Waechter, chairman of Dubai-based CRESCO Holding, a global company of professional services businesses and Jayanthi Cornelio, founder and CEO of Al-Shaiba Medical Supplies, also based in Dubai, have both been named as co-chairpersons to the council.
The International Trade Council (ITC) includes over 200 members across the UAE, including most of the largest corporations and state-owned groups. By encouraging more small- and medium-sized firms in the area to join, the ITC hopes to help generate more international trade and exports and exploit the UAE’s potential as an “economic gateway to Africa.” This in turn should help in reducing the area’s reliance on tourism and real estate, according to Chris Cook, a spokesman for the ITC, based in Washington.
Founded in 1956, the Brussels-based ITC is a non-profit organization with more than 29,000 members in some 76 countries and across all sectors. It helps members with trade opportunities, mentoring, as well as mediating trade disputes and dealing with technical trade barriers to trade, and works with government trade agencies, legislators and regional chambers.
Corporate members of the ITC (according to its website) include Al Hilal Group, Coral Deira Dubai, Sharjah Grand Hotel and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. European-based members include BMW, Bayer and KPMG.
New UAE regional chair Michael Waechter has organized networking and other events for entrepreneurs and international organizations visiting the Middle East and has helped several startups in the region. CRESCO Holding’s subsidiaries include businesses involved in compliance, legal, accounting, tech and a general trading firm, Al Malek Trading.
Born in the UAE, fellow regional chair Jayanthi Cornelio has a degree in electronics and telecoms and worked in the medical supply sector before founding Al Shaiba Medical Supplies. The company supplies medical equipment to hospitals and clinics across the Middle East and Africa.
Melanie Walker, board representative and member chairperson of the ITC, said: “Both of these remarkable individuals bring deep executive and operational experience to the council.
The regional chairpersons support local council members and represent them to improve services provided by the ITC as well as providing networking opportunities. As well as the UAE, new regional chairs have also recently been appointed to the council’s areas in the UK, Turkey and Kazakhstan as well as in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and San Francisco, three of the six regions it operates in the US. Other regional chairs for the council cover Canada, India and Singapore.
In a recent review of the outlook for trade credit in 2018, the ITC said that for small businesses and middle-market companies, it remains challenging to arrange loans and lines of credit from banks and other lenders. But large corporations could use their leverage to insist on longer payment terms putting pressure on supply chains.
With tensions high in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula, and other “hot zones” and US domestic strategy unclear, the council said that perhaps the greatest risks relating to credit were political.
Last year, the council flagged up to its members new regulations which came into force in Saudi Arabia requiring manufacturers, brand owners and importers to prove that their plastic products are oxo-biodegradable. It followed similar legislation in the UAE. The council also updates its members on petitions for the imposition of anti-dumping duties.


In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

In this file photo taken on March 26, 2018, Air France's Executive Vice President Customer Division Anne Rigail speaks during a press conference to announce the re-opening of direct flight between Paris and Nairobi, in Nairobi on March 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

  • As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group

PARIS: When the leaders of global airlines posed for a photo in June, there were 25 men in dark suits and a lone woman in the last seat on the far right.
That could be changing, but very slowly.
Air France announced Wednesday that Anne Rigail will take over as CEO next week. Rigail, a 27-year company veteran and currently an executive vice president, will be the first woman to lead the French carrier, which was formed in 1933. Parent company Air France-KLM Group will continue to be led by a man, however.
Few women have run large airlines. Carolyn McCall was CEO of British low-cost carrier EasyJet for seven years until leaving this year to run British broadcaster ITV. Christine Ourmieres-Widener, the woman in the June photo of CEOs, leads Flybe, a European regional airline that has fewer than 100 planes.
In the United States, Air Wisconsin, a regional airline that operates United Express flights, is led by CEO Christine Deister, and another regional, Cape Air, has a female president, Linda Markham.
But no major US carrier has ever had a female CEO, and only a few women hold other top jobs. In May, JetBlue Airways named Joanna Geraghty president and chief operating officer — the No. 2 job. Tammy Romo has been chief financial officer at Southwest Airlines since 2012, succeeding another woman. Elize Eberwein is an executive vice president at American Airlines.
As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group. That is unchanged from a 2010 survey.
Women in the industry have said airlines need to do more to recruit and promote women, provide better mentoring, and encourage those who take maternity leave to return to their careers.
The International Air Transport Association — that’s the group whose leaders were pictured in June — has declared gender equality a priority. The group reported in March that only 3 percent of aviation CEOs are women, compared with 12 percent in other industries.
It didn’t help, however, that the association’s new president, Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, suggested that women aren’t up to the job of running an airline.
“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” he said at a news conference. He later apologized.
As the new CEO at Air France, Rigail will certainly have her challenges. The airline faces contentious wage negotiations with pilots and flight attendants and has been hit by a series of damaging strikes. The last CEO quit after union employees rejected his offer of small pay raises for the next four years.
In a statement issued by Air France, Rigail said she is extremely honored by the promotion. Benjamin Smith, the CEO of parent Air France-KLM Group, said Rigail has always paid special attention to employees, and he expressed confidence that the airline can meet its challenges.