Diriyah Gate Leadership Team
Group Chief Executive Officer
Group Chief Executive Officer, Diriyah Gate Development Authority
Vice Chairman, Forbes Travel Guide
Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo is a globally celebrated Forbes-cover visionary in the hospitality and tourism industry, with a deep aptitude for positioning strategies and iconic developments. Over the course of his five-decade career in the industry, he has been a champion for the sector and its people, and the creative and logistical mind behind some of the world’s most innovative luxury brand activations and spectacular development launches.
In recognition of his leadership and empathetic outreach to the tourism community during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was awarded the prestigious HOTELS magazine “Corporate Hotelier of the World Award” as well as the “Tourism for Peace Award” by the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO), the latter honoring Inzerillo’s unique contributions to world peace by bringing people together through travel and tourism.
In June 2018, Inzerillo was appointed by HRH The Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be the founding CEO of the newly created Diriyah Gate Development Authority, (DGDA), a USD $40 Billion giga-project aimed at restoring and reimagining the ancestral home of the original Saudi state. In this role, Inzerillo is charged with developing and implementing a master plan to turn 67 square kilometers of development area into one of the world’s greatest gathering places, encompassing world-class cultural, entertainment, retail, hospitality, educational, religious, office and residential assets, with the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif as its center-point.
At-Turaif was inaugurated by His Majesty The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in November 2019, followed by hosting the G20 in November 2020 – the first time that the G20 has had its Presidency held by a Middle Eastern country.
When complete, the development will add 27 billion Saudi riyals to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's GDP, attract 27 million visitors and employ more than 55,000 people.
Inzerillo also serves as Vice Chairman of the Forbes Travel Guide. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award is universally accepted as the Olympic gold medal of Global
Group Chief Operating Officer
Faisal Faruqi brings 24 years of Strategic Corporate and Financial Management experience to his position as Group Chief Operating Officer for Diriyah Gate Development Authority. As Group Chief Operating Officer, Faisal sets the strategic direction for managing overall operations of DGDA and contributes intensively to deliver on DGDA’s strategic mandate of “One Diriyah”.
Before taking on the position as Group COO, Faisal was the Chief Financial Officer at Diriyah Gate Development Authority. As CFO, he implemented robust and dynamic financial practices and reporting which became the backbone of DGDA’s governance structure.
Faisal was the Group CFO of Emaar, The Economic City, one of Saudi Arabia’s top real estate public listed companies. He used his extensive experience and understanding to expedite the development trajectory, which resulted in the development of King Abdullah Port, Royal Greens Golf Course and a significant residential footprint. Few of his major achievements include forming multiple subsidiaries and introducing holding structure, securing multi-billion riyals funding and structuring project financing deal for King Abdullah Port.
Faisal graduated from the University of California and attended several executive education programs at Harvard, Stanford, and the New York Institute of Finance.
President, Diriyah Development Company
Jonathan Timms is a global property business leader specializing in multifaceted mixed-use developments. An Australian national with over 30 years’ experience across APAC and the GCC, Jonathan currently leads a SAR 190 billion design and development pipeline for Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA). This includes Diriyah Gate, poised to become the world’s largest cultural and heritage development.
A track record of successful multi-asset class developments, Jonathan has delivered multiple projects across shopping malls, residential and leisure offerings as Head of Development for Majid Al Futtaim. Earlier, Jonathan led Vicinity Centres in Australia to successfully develop and manage an asset portfolio and mixed-use development pipeline of USD 20 billion. Furthermore, he led Tesco property China in the design and delivery of circa 30 mixed-use projects including over 30,000 residential units.
Jonathan has in-depth expertise of master planning, design and development, enabling him to lead and deliver on major complex mixed-used developments of the highest standard.
Diriyah Development Company (DevCo) is a subsidiary entity within DGDA with its own board, structure and team, which was created as part of DGDA’s accelerated growth plans.
Group CEO Advisor
Abdullah AlGhanim is the Group CEO Advisor, focused on establishing and managing strategic relationships with key stakeholders locally, regionally and globally.
Abdullah joined DGDA as Chief of Shared Services in 2018, overseeing the establishment and operations of the Human Capital, Information Technology and Admin Services functions. In his role, Abdullah led the design and implementation of the HR frameworks and practices at DGDA, in order to create a unique workplace culture and environment that attracts the Kingdom and the world’s best and brightest talent. He was also responsible for leading the development of the technology infrastructure of DGDA, ensuring it is adopting the best solutions to enable the success of the project, and ensuring the delivery of best-in-class administrative services to all DGDA employees.
Abdullah brings more than 28 years of experience in Technology and Human Resources, which includes 14 years at SABB Bank, handling various roles, more than 8 years as Chief Information Officer at NAS Holding (owner of Flynas), where he led the digitization of many of the airline’s services and activities and was part of the management team that led the group to become profitable and successful, and 1 year as VP of Shared Services at Saudi Railway Company
Abdullah graduated from King Saud University with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering.
Chief of Staff
Bader Binmaferij is the Chief of Staff at the Diriyah Gate Development Authority. He joined DGDA back in April 2018. He is amongst the founding members of the authority, working closely with the CEO to ensure DGDA's strategy and mandate delivery by ensuring alignment amongst DGDA's executive team and overseeing protocol international relations activities.
Bader has more than 11 years of experience, covering Human Resources, Administration and Government Relations working with leading companies in the Kingdom, and is highly experienced in dealing with and managing key senior stakeholders.
Bader holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Thompson Rivers University in Canada and a Diploma of Higher Education from Riyadh College of Technology.
Chief Corporate Finance Officer
Ahmed AlAmr, Chief Finance Officer, has extensive financial management experience. As CFO, Ahmed is responsible for strategic planning and overseeing the finance function for the entire Authority. His primary responsibilities include developing and managing the Authority’s financial planning and budgets, ensuring fiscal governance, driving statutory financial compliance, introducing spending efficiencies, supporting business growth, and providing adequate internal controls in place. In addition, he plays a pivotal role in ensuring financial viability of the project, representing DGDA to investors and financial institutions.
Ahmed joined Diriyah Gate Development Authority as Head of Treasury. He showcased his extraordinary skills of leadership and earned a well-deserved position of Chief Finance Officer.
Ahmed started his career in banking and investment at Saudi Hollandi capital and SAMBA Financial Group where he gained expertise in project financing, mergers, acquisitions, and portfolio management locally and internationally. Before joining DGDA, Ahmed was one of the founding team members of a multi-billion PPP transaction as part of the national transformation program. His role was essential in successfully planning, executing, implementing, delivering, and monitoring the project.
Chief Strategic Management Officer
Talal Kensara ensures that the strategic objectives and delivered according to plans.
Before joining DGDA, Talal was the Vice Deputy Minister for Shared Services at the Ministry of Economy and Planning. He was also the VP of Projects & Development at Waad Holding Company in Jeddah. He has over 16 years of experience in strategy and business development.
Talal earned a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Chief Heritage and Culture
Adam Wilkinson is an expert in the integrated approach to the management of cultural heritage. Having started his career at UNESCO, he led NGO SAVE Britain's Heritage (2001-8) campaigning alongside local communities for threatened heritage across the UK, from grand palaces to aerospace structures to workers houses to railway stations, articulating their concerns on the national stage. From 2012 to 2020 Adam was Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, an NGO dedicated to the management of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site, encompassing over 4000 buildings, 25,000 residents, the heart of the Scottish economy and political life, as well as up to 5m visitors a years. His work for EWH repairing buildings, interpreting the world heritage site and building capacity, brought focus to its community engagement, while turning to address larger issues around the integration of heritage management into local governance systems, and around the climate emergency.
Adam joined DGDA in July 2020 and is now Chief, Heritage and Culture, with responsibility for all aspects of cultural heritage within DGDA’s area from understanding the cultural landscape, to managing its precious cultural heritage, to reviving and reflecting on the culture of Diriyah. While working to build capacity within DGDA as relates to our shared heritage and culture, this work has wider benefits supporting Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary culture.
Chief of Urban Planning & Municipal Affairs
Ahmad Alsharif leads Urban Planning and Municipal Affairs (UMA) division mandated to serve as the Regulator of the complete Supervisory Area and facilitating Licensing and Permits within Diriyah Gate Project.
UMA’s role is to support timely delivery of Diriyah Gate projects through offering independent and efficient design review and permitting cycles. UMA’s role also extends to establishing required codes and planning approvals to elevate real estate developments and integrate the urban fabric within the entire Supervisory Area.
Ahmad previously worked with Saudi Aramco Company, and within the core leadership team of King Abdullah Financial District leading the design and development of the complete portfolio of all infrastructure packages and site-wide logistics. He has also been the Director General of the Real Estate and Municipal Affairs in the Economic Cities & Special Zones Authority, overseeing city and district level master planning and regulations, delivering the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh and Knowledge Economic City in Madinah.
Ahmad has a master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, in addition to several leadership and executive training and development programs.
Chief Audit Officer
Osama Alkalthami has been the CAO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) since April 2020. His 23 years’ experience in internal auditing and finance have helped him in establishing the Internal Audit Divisions in five of the Kingdom’s top banks, listed companies and Giga-project under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030.
Prior to joining DGDA, he served as the Assistant General Manager (AGM) of the Saudi Chemical Group with its 5 subsidiaries as well as its Group CAO and the General Secretary of the Board Audit Committee. He was also the CAO and the General Secretary of the Board Audit Committee in 2 of the top Insurance Companies which are Saudi Arabian Cooperative Insurance Co. (SAICO), and the Arabia Insurance Cooperative Co.
Having served in the Banking industry for 14 years as Kingdom-wide Retail Banking Audit Manager at Bank Albilad, and Senior Audit team leader of Arab National Bank (ANB), Osama has been responsible for covering all the Internal Audit Services Kingdom-wide, and also in Riyad Bank.
Osama holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King Abdul Aziz University. He also graduated from a Business School in the UK studying Banking and Business Program. Moreover, Osama has attended over 100 training programs around the world, obtaining 40 Internal Audit certificates from Global Internal Audit institutes such as the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in the US, MIS London, IIR Dubai, Moody’s Corporation, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Chief, General Counsel
Tala AlJahlan is the General Counsel at Diriyah Gate Development Authority, where she leads the legal department covering multiple divisions. The legal, land management, compliance and other departments report to her. The General Counsel provides an on-going legal support to all departments, ensuring the smooth operation of business within the proper and required legal framework. Additionally, the General Counsel ensures compliance with laws and regulations. The role also includes management of land and real estate processes handling owners’ affairs and other land operations.
Tala AlJahlan has been the Executive Director heading Legal Affairs & Compliance at the G20 Saudi Secretariat. She has successfully accomplished her G20 mission and she has since been awarded with the King Abdulaziz Badge of Honor. Prior to her work with the G20, she was a partner at an international law firm for more than 9 years. AlJahlan has represented international and Saudi Arabian corporations and families in transactions connected to corporate restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, shareholder agreements, foreign direct investment, facility agreements, agency, and distributorship matters and other related to commercial law.
Tala has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Commercial Law from Prince Sultan University.
Jean Lahoud Rodriguez
Chief of Asset Management
Jean Lahoud Rodriguez is the Chief Asset Management Officer for Diriyah Gate Development Authority. Jean leads operations across all DGDA assets and the public realm with the objective of providing quality of life to its residents, and customer journey excellence to its visitors.
He has 25 years of experience in finance, operations, and business development. Before joining DGDA, Jean led the Quality of Life and Tourism Sector at the Royal Commission of Riyadh City. Prior to that he was Executive Director at Emaar Economic City for 6 years and CFO for Middle East and Africa for PepsiCo International, with an extensive 14 year career there.
Jean holds an MBA from the University of Denver and did his bachelor studies in Madrid, Spain. He is a licensed professional by the Ministry of Tourism in Spain and speaks fluently four languages, Arabic, French, English, and Spanish.
Chief Development Officer
Mohamed Saad is a time-proven development professional with 20 years’ experience running major retail-focused infrastructure projects across the Middle East. A renowned development visionary who, over the course of his two-decade career, has been the logistical mind behind some of the region’s most innovative retail, residential and interiors companies.
Today, Mohamed is part of the leadership team at DGDA, a USD $40 Billion giga-project aimed at restoring and reimagining the ancestral home of the original Saudi state. The development is nestled around the UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif, the ‘Jewel of the Kingdom,’ and upon completion will become the world’s largest cultural and heritage site.
Mohamed leads DGDA’s Phase One masterplan development, which includes what will become the largest retail district in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Diriyah Square.
Prior to joining DGDA in 2019, Mohamed held positions as Development Director of the Mall of Oman and Development Director of the City Center Almaza, Egypt, for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, and prior to that was General Manager for Living in Interiors, based in Cairo, where he lead the transformation of a family owned business into a corporate enterprise. Mohamed additionally has former professional experience working as a structural design engineer and head of business development for a portfolio of Dubai and Egypt based companies.
His academic foundation in civil and structural engineering combined with his hands-on understanding of the technical intricacies of major projects, make Mohamed perfectly placed to grasp the strategic picture of the development in addition to real time asset delivery in a fast-paced environment and pipeline towards the realisation of Vision 2030.
Mohamed is originally from Cairo, Egypt, and holds a BSc in Civil & Structural Engineering from Cairo University and a PMP certification. He is fluent in both Arabic and English.
With a repertoire of first-class work for globally-renowned organisations, Mohamed is uniquely qualified to fuse the cultural context of the Middle East with the highest global standards in retail developments.
Chief Development Officer
John W. Murphy joined DGDA as Chief Development Officer in August 2021, and comes to DGDA with extensive development leadership experience across the US and was instrumental in some of the most successful and iconic retail, commercial, lifestyle, leisure, and mixed-use projects developed in the last 25 years.
Prior to joining DGDA, John´s focus has been the leadership of the $500M redevelopment of Costa Verde Center in La Jolla, California. The reimaging of Costa Verde Center into a TOD mixed-use project includes expansion of the retail opportunities, 400K of Lab Office with his partner Alexandria Real Estate Equities and a 200-room hotel with adjacent multi-family and senior housing, as well as, a direct link to the new elevated $3B SANDAG Mid-Coast trolley system that will create the “heart of the community” by offering a unique work and lifestyle environment conveniently located as a destination within the UCSD/Life Science neighborhood that has evolved into a world-class research and educational hub with a dynamic business center and a vibrant residential population in San Diego.
Murphy has enjoyed great success within the retail and resort industry during a 30-year career that has featured signature hotel developments with the Ian Schrager Company in New York City and the design and implementation of cutting-edge attractions, retail and performance environments for Walt Disney Imagineering earlier in his career. Formerly with Caruso Affiliated Holdings based in Santa Monica, Murphy was a member of the core team responsible for the development of the mixed-use retail center called the Grove in Los Angeles.
For nearly a decade, Murphy served as the SVP of the Irvine Company’s Retail Division based in Newport Beach, California. In this role, Murphy oversaw nearly 10 million square feet of retail development across California, including the redevelopment of Fashion Island in Newport Beach, expansion of the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, additional SQFT added to The Market Place masterplan in Tustin, development of 3 Whole Food anchored developments, as well as the enhancement of 38 neighborhood centers on the ranch in Orange County, San Diego and the Silicon Valley.
Murphy holds a bachelor's degree in History from Columbia University in New York City.
Chief Design Officer, Diriyah Development Company
Roland Wong joined DGDA as Chief Design Officer, Diriyah Development Company in July 2021.
Roland is overseeing multiple asset classes from cultural to hospitality, residential, educational, retail, events facilities as well as commercial and public assets to deliver on the Diriyah vision.
Previously, Roland was General Manager Creative Design at Westfield for over 30 years where he was instrumental in the success of some of the world's most successful and iconic retail, commercial, lifestyle, leisure and mixed-use projects. He was responsible for conceptual master planning, architecture, interior design, creating design proposals for both internal and external joint venture consideration.
Roland holds a Bachelor´s degree in Architecture from the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Acting Chief Human Capital Officer
Abdullah AlOthman joined DGDA in 2021 as Human Capital Senior Director and has recently been appointed Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO).
Abdullah is a seasoned management leader with extensive experience working for large corporations across a variety of sectors such as Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Telecommunication, Higher Education, private sector. His expertise is on Human Capital and Corporate Strategy including HR policies, HR best practices, strategic workforce planning, organization development, performance management, compensation and benefits, succession planning, work culture and employee engagement and retention. Additionally, he has experience in overseeing the organization's strategic and long-term goal planning function, responsible for organizational reviews, communicating results to top management and developing strategies.
Abdullah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information System (MIS) from King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals and has earned his MBA in Strategic Human Resource Management from University of Technology (Sydney). He is currently doing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) at one of UK’s universities. He attended some executive and leadership programs at Harvard, Oxford (Said Business School) and IMD Business School.
RIYADH: A group of Arab superstars will feature at concerts in three Saudi cities in celebration of the kingdom’s 90th National Day.
A five-day program from Sept. 22 - 26 will feature concerts in the cities of Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah.
The General Entertainment Authority announced that the first concert, to be held under the motto “mettle to the top,” will feature superstars Rashid Al-Majed and Aseel Abu Bakr in Green Halls in Dammam.
The same day, Emirati singer Ahlam will perform at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah.
On Sept. 23, Saudi singers Abadi Al-Johar and Dalia Mubarak will perform at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, while Iraqi star Majid Al-Mohandes will regale an audience at King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh in a night titled “Home”.
Egyptian stars Angham and Tamer Ashour will perform in Jeddah on Sept. 24.
On Sept. 25, the audience will watch the performance of Rabih Saqr at King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh and Mohammad Hamaki at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.
Egyptian pop star Amr Diab will also perform on the last day of concerts on Sept. 26.
All concerts and events are organized by the General Entertainment Authority with strict safety measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.