SASREF nurtures Saudi talent with Aon program

SASREF (Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company) is a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Shell International.
Updated 04 March 2019

SASREF nurtures Saudi talent with Aon program

SASREF (Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Company), the joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Shell International, has completed a comprehensive leadership development program that aims to nurture the skills and competencies of its senior professionals with the support of Aon, a global professional services firm providing a range of risk, retirement and health solutions.

Executed over a period of four months, the Leadership Development Program covered more than 90 SASREF staff in managerial positions. Aon leveraged a suite of innovative assessment tools to determine the current leadership capabilities of the group and helped develop their leadership skills further to support the growth of the organization for the long term. Aon also provided executive coaching for senior leaders, to strengthen their long-term impact on the business. 

Mohammad A. Jurais, talent development manager, SASREF, said: “As an employer of choice, we invest significantly in people development. Our employees are our primary assets and by developing their skills, we are further contributing to a key goal of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to nurture professional Saudi talent. We identified the need for a modern and scientific leadership development program that will equip our leaders with the required level of competency to support the strategic growth of our organization. QAED was clearly aligned with our objectives and we look forward to a highly rewarding and interactive program that will boost the competencies of our team.”

Robin Ullrich, QAED lead, SASREF, said: “Leaders who participated in the QAED evaluation are now much more well-positioned to embark upon a structured developmental pathway through professional training and educational programs, where they are in a position to develop a broad and deep understanding of issues affecting their organizations to achieve excellence.”

Following the review of the leadership abilities, Aon delivered a bespoke training program suited to individual needs and aspirations. A team of executive coaches supported the training activities, and the outcomes of the sessions were provided as a comprehensive organizational report to the executive management and the Leadership Development Committee of SASREF, highlighting the strengths, opportunities and moving-forward plan. 

Mina Morris, associate partner, Aon Middle East and Africa, said: “The opportunity to support SASREF with a truly comprehensive leadership development program underlines our strength in talent assessment and development solutions. With the focus of Saudi Arabia, under its Vision 2030 to invest and develop future leaders, our holistic approach to leadership development served as an ideal fit to the needs of SASREF and the Kingdom.”

“The program brought several advantages to SASREF staff, as it increased self-awareness and underscored their stronger career prospects. It will lead to a cascade effect in leadership where better leaders will be instrumental in creating more effective future leaders within the organization,” Morris added.


Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

An international team of KAUST researchers studied whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for ‘Rope Reef’), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea on the Saudi Arabian coast.
Updated 18 November 2019

Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whale sharks are considered endangered, which means the species has suffered a population decline of more than 50 percent in the past three generations. The whale shark is only two classifications from being extinct. Improvements and conservation efforts are in place, but there is still a long way to
go to protect these gentle underwater giants.
An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency using a combination of three scientific techniques: Visual census, acoustic monitoring and satellite telemetry.
Their six-year study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, tracked long-term whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for “Rope Reef”), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea. The team monitored a total of 84 different sharks over a six-year period, and their results shed light on whale shark behaviors,
which could help to inform conservation efforts.
“The study takes years of passive acoustic monitoring data and combines it with previously published visual census and satellite telemetry data from the same individual sharks. The combined dataset is used to characterize the aggregation’s seasonality, spatial distribution, and patterns of dispersal,” said Dr. Michael Berumen, director of the Red Sea Research Center and professor of marine science at KAUST.

HIGHLIGHT

An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency.

They found the aggregation to be highly seasonal, with sharks being most abundant in April and May, and that many of the sharks returned to the hot spot regularly year after year. The study also shows roughly equal numbers of male and female sharks using the site, something that could be unique to Shib Habil. These characteristics indicate that this site may serve an important function for the wider Indian Ocean population of this rare and endangered species.
“Using the combined dataset, we can show somewhat conclusively that the aggregation meets all of the criteria of a shark nursery. This is particularly relevant given that Shib Habil is the only site in the Indian Ocean to regularly attract large numbers of juvenile females. Growing late-stage adolescents of both sexes into full adulthood is critical for sustaining a species. Management of critical habitats like Shib Habil and other aggregations will likely be vital for future whale shark conservation,” said KAUST graduate Dr. Jesse Cochran, lead author of the study.
There is a combination of factors contributing to the decrease of whale shark populations world-wide, including targeted fishing, bycatch losses due to fisheries, vessel strikes from boat traffic, marine debris, and pollution.