Second STC CEO quits post in less than a year

Updated 18 March 2013

Second STC CEO quits post in less than a year

Dr. Khaled Abdulaziz Al-Ghoneim, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Telecom Company, resigned from his post yesterday.
It was the second resignation of a STC group chief executive officer in 10 months, and marks another high-level management shift over the past year.
Confirming the resignation, an official from the company told Arab News that the letter of resignation was submitted by Al-Ghoneim at 10 a.m. yesterday.
According to a statement on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange website, STC said it had accepted Ghoneim’s resignation, but did not name a replacement or say when Ghoneim would leave his position.
Al-Ghoneim was appointed as the group CEO of Saudi Telecom Company in June 2012. He succeeded Saud Al-Dawish, who had quit his post last year.
Last August, the company announced a number of changes within its management structure involving executive positions.
The STC Group earlier announced that it had accepted the resignation of Ghasan Hasbani from his position as Group CEO-international operations due to the end of the contractual period.
In September, Dr. Ziad Al-Otaibi, group CEO for technical operations, also resigned. Otaibi’s resignation was preceded by Dr. Saad Bin Dhafer, Al-Qahtani Group CEO for strategic affairs.
Last month, Jameel Al-Molhem, Saudi Telecom chief executive for Saudi Arabia operations, also resigned from his post.
Al-Ghoneim was previously a consultant for the defense and aviation ministries. He also serves on the boards of many local companies. Ghoneim joined STC from Riyadh-based Al Elm Information Security Company.
The STC is the second largest telecom operator, which serves more than 160 million subscribers in 11 countries.
In January, STC reported 6.7 percent increase in revenue. The increase in revenue is attributed to the growth in Broadband (fixed and mobile), Business and wholesales services domestically and from international operations.
STC has spent billions of dollars on foreign acquisitions in the past decade, according to Reuters calculations, buying into many markets including Turkey, Indonesia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Yet it remains reliant on home, with the Kingdom providing 68 percent of revenue in 2012.
The company’s shares have fallen 5.8 percent this year, underperforming the main Saudi index, which is up 3.7 percent.


Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

Updated 10 December 2019

Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

  • Wayakit leaves the clothes clean and fresh again

JEDDAH: Wayakit is a biotechnology start-up incubated by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

KAUST Ph.D students Sandra Medina and Luisa Javier are avid travelers who have come up with a pocket-sized product that deals with both odors and stains on fabrics, leaving the cloths clean and fresh again.

Wayakit is also gentler on fabrics because traditional laundry eventually damages them, said Javier, who first moved to Saudi Arabia from Mexico ten years ago.

Her business partner, Sandra Medina, who came from Colombia to study at KAUST, explained to Arab News how Wayakit works. “You just spray the smelly area twice and you’re good to go. In the case of stains, you spray twice and then pat dry it with a tissue and it will disappear,” she said.

The idea for the product came during a trip for a conference two years ago when the travelers realized their luggage was lost “We had to present with our dirty, seven-hours’ flight clothes,” Javier told Arab News.

“We started looking into the possibility then, because there’s not a proper solution to doing laundry while traveling,” she said.

 

They decided they needed to come up with a product that was not pricey, was easy to carry, and did the job by removing stains and bad odors “on-the-go.”

 

 

The duo began by interviewing more than 100 travelers of 23 different nationalities to find out if this was a common issue that travelers struggled with.

 

“From the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, we learned the importance of listening first to the customers before designing any product,” said Medina. From these interviews, Wayakit team got the product requirements and then moved into the lab to start working on the formulation of Wayakit. “The amazing facilities and labs in KAUST helped us to speed up the creation of our first prototype. After this, the same KAUST community was the people who first tried Wayakit and gave us feedback. “In KAUST we do not only have state-of-the-art labs, but also a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Medina added.

Wayakit is different from its competitors in that it contains no toxic chemicals, and covers a broader spectrum in covering stains — it is two products in one. It also contains anti-bacterial properties, acting as a sanitizer that “removes all the stains that occur on a day-to-day basis as well as being an odor remover,” Javier said.

The pair went for a biotechnology-based formula that excluded the usage of oxidizers and focused on more organic compounds. “Even the anti-bacterial properties are not toxic as we incorporated these in an environmentally friendly formulation,” she said.

The Wayakit founders had to rigorously test their product, dealing with different types of sweat and stains to perfect their spray. “We had to give testers to travelers to try it out and had to listen to their feedback, then went back to the lab to improve it, in order to make sure the product was as promised.”

Medina said KAUST’s mentorship had also helped their company to develop. “KAUST for us is a catalyst of entrepreneurship and has given us a lot of room to grow our start-up Wayakit,” she said.

KAUST helped Wayakit by giving the advice and support from the start. From entrepreneurial courses to teaching the concepts of building a brand, KAUST encouraged Wayakit to grow from a scientific outlook and helped the founders to better understand the customer.

“As foreigners, it was difficult for us to understand the logistics and procurement of shipping and importing here in Saudi Arabia. KAUST has helped us to face that hurdle in order to be able to reach all our clients in the MENA region and worldwide,” Medina said. “Beyond helping travellers, our mission is to change the way how laundry is commonly done. We found a way to effectively wash clothes reducing water and energy consumption,” Javier said. 

Wayakit has recently began selling in Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, chosen because it is “a Middle Eastern brand store with unique ambience,” said Medina.