Who’s Who: Mohammed Aldhalaan, CEO of Noon Academy

Who’s Who: Mohammed Aldhalaan, CEO of Noon Academy
Mohammed Aldhalaan
Short Url
Updated 23 February 2021

Who’s Who: Mohammed Aldhalaan, CEO of Noon Academy

Who’s Who: Mohammed Aldhalaan, CEO of Noon Academy

Mohammed Aldhalaan is the co-founder and CEO of the educational technology (edtech) startup, Noon Academy.

Noon Academy was founded in 2013 and became one of the fastest-growing edtech startups in the Kingdom. It began as a test preparation website but has grown into a comprehensive online learning platform with over 6 million registered students.

The platform incorporates social and gamification features that enable students to have a collaborative learning experience with fellow pupils and teachers through study groups, peer-to-peer learning, and contests.

As of June last year the academy had raised a Pre-B fund of $13 million. It aims to bring together 50 million students and tutors from around the world by 2023.

Prior to founding Noon, Aldhalaan spent almost five years at the Saudi information security company Elm, first as a strategy team leader and then as strategic alliances executive manager.

Before Elm, he co-founded and was a general manager at CloudTech, a startup providing turnkey solutions in the education and training industry.

Aldhalaan began his career as a senior credit analyst at the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.

He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and has completed postgraduate programs from the Queen’s School of Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, and the Kellogg School of Management.


Saudi women welcome World Bank recognition of advances in empowerment

Saudi women welcome World Bank recognition of advances in empowerment
Updated 25 February 2021

Saudi women welcome World Bank recognition of advances in empowerment

Saudi women welcome World Bank recognition of advances in empowerment
  • Annual Women, Business and the Law report ranks Kingdom in the top tier among 190 nations
  • Saudi Arabia scored 80 out of 100

RIYADH: The findings of a World Bank report about recent advances in the economic inclusion and empowerment of females in Saudi Arabia came as little surprise to the many women in the country already thriving in a wide range of jobs.
The Kingdom once again made significant progress compared with the previous year and ranks favorably alongside many advanced economies.
Women in the Kingdom who are benefiting from recent radical reforms designed to boost their participation in the workplace warmly welcomed the recognition of the country’s efforts by the World Bank’s annual Women, Business and the Law report, which this year ranked Saudi Arabia in its top tier.
“Legal reforms for women are a big part of the 2030 (Saudi) Vision and when you look at these reforms from an economic perspective, women now are moving freely, working freely, and they are now in fact likely to join the workforce more easily than before,” Kholood Khaled Althekri, a public relations manager with Pamas Group in Riyadh, told Arab News.
“These reforms will help strengthen the Kingdom’s economy for sure.”
The report places Saudi Arabia in the top tier of the 190 ranked nations with a score of 80 out of 100, compared with 70.6 last year. In allocating a score, researchers consider eight main factors: mobility, workplace, pay, entrepreneurship, pension, marriage, parenthood and assets. The Kingdom received full marks for the first five of these.
Empowering women is one of the key objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reforms plan, which aims to ensure they flourish and become active leaders and innovators who can contribute fully to the growth of the economy.
“In the outlined plans of Vision 2030 to develop the economy, the same vision will provide opportunities for everyone,” Althekri said. “Saudi women are the greatest assets to these plans, with more than half of university graduates now females.”
Wafa Alghamdi, director of life improvements with Mukatafah advocacy group in Riyadh, told Arab News that women in Saudi Arabia not only now have equal economic opportunities but are increasingly playing a significant role in the financial development of the country.
“Our religion and culture gives women a special place,” she said. “Women in our society are treated and considered as an asset to their households and families — and now as an asset to our country.
“We have something called ‘feminization,’ which is the new initiative by the government to increase the participation of women in work and business to encourage them and drive the force of the economy to the fullest.”
Alghamdi said that the support of Vision 2030 has helped her make strides in her career after she entered the hospitality industry and advanced through “hard work, dedication and government support” to reach the position of head of department in a relatively short time.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without the guidance of Allah, first, and our beloved country’s push and support to be on top,” she added.
Saudi Arabia has not only introduced legal reforms to promote female empowerment but also funded projects and initiatives in a number of sectors, including tourism, investment and culture, that have created opportunities for women. Along with these initiatives, government sectors are committed to guaranteeing and protecting women’s rights in the workplace. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, for example, has worked to reduce gender-based discrimination and find ways to create safe work environments that foster growth and innovation.
Women have also played their part in creating legislation, opening businesses, and taking a leading role in private-sector investment. In addition, Saudi Arabia now has its first female professional racing driver, award-winning female film producers and female judges.
It has been less than five years since Vision 2030 was announced, but already many women have become leaders in the Saudi economy, own successful businesses, manage departments in a variety of businesses, and have even attained the rank of sergeant in the military.
The World Bank report also noted Saudi initiatives that have eliminated barriers to women entering industrial jobs such as “mining, construction, manufacturing and the water sector, setting men and women on equal terms in choice of employment opportunities.”
Maha S. Albalawi, a legal counselor with Pamas Group told Arab News: “The year 2020 is considered one of the most important years in the history of Saudi women. The decisions of (the Kingdom) to empower women in a number of sectors were remarkable and very important.
“This development of empowering Saudi women took place on several levels and fields, including economically and in the field of entrepreneurship, so we find a number of Saudi businesswomen whose names are (now known) locally and internationally.”
Albalawi said legal reforms ensure the rights of women will be protected and have resulted in funding for legal action in marital disputes.
“Several court rulings have also been issued in favor of Saudi women, such as the law on protection from violence, and for Saudi women to become judges for the first time in the history of the Kingdom,” she added.
All of the women Arab News spoke with said they have had personal experience of how the changes being implemented across the Kingdom have improved their lives and career prospects.
“I still remember when I first entered the private sector, as a coordinator, and I was afraid that I could not be as good as my male colleagues,” said Alghamdi.
“As time passed I discovered that I was even better — and now I am director of life improvements, working with a group of amazing ladies who are also heads of their departments and giving their best for our community to grow.”


Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 25 February 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 367,323
  • A total of 6,480 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced five deaths from COVID-19 and 356 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 180 were recorded in Riyadh, 80 in the Eastern Province, 37 in Makkah, eight in Asir, six in Madinah, four in Hail, three in Najran and two in Jazan.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 367,323 after 308 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,480 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties
Updated 25 February 2021

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

RIYADH: Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev recently held a meeting with the joint Saudi-Azerbaijani Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shoura Council in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Faiz Al-Shehri, member of the Shoura Council and head of the committee, and examined various ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially at the level of parliamentary relations between the Shoura Council and the Azerbaijani parliament.
Abdullayev wished the council success in its new session and expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s policies to enhance security, peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
Al-Shehri ran through the Shoura Council’s organizational structure, and highlighted the importance of the diplomatic role played by parliamentary friendship committees.
Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan celebrated the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in February 2017.
The then-Azeri Ambassador in Riyadh Rasim Rzayev said at the time: “Azerbaijan and the Kingdom, two brotherly Muslim countries, have unique commonalities of a historical, religious and political nature.”


Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 February 2021

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Dammam on Wednesday.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Alberda highlighted the development that the Eastern Province has been witnessing, and wished further progress and prosperity for the Kingdom.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Sulaiman Al-Suhaimi.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Saud received the regional director of Al Arabiya channel, Mohammed Al-Hekmi, accompanied by a number of employees.
Prince Saud praised the role of the media in highlighting the societal and development accomplishments of the Kingdom in general and the Eastern Province in particular.
The media played an influential role and was an important means of communication, he said.
Earlier, Prince Saud met the US consul general in Dhahran, Nicholle Manz-Baazaoui. Issues of common interest and ways to promote relationships between the two countries were discussed.
Prince Saud stressed the solid ties between the two countries and their common vision on various topics.
He also highlighted the two countries’ joint work toward achieving security and peace in the region and the world, as well as their economic and cultural cooperation.
 


Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank
Updated 25 February 2021

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Tareq Al-Sadhan has been president and CEO of Riyad Bank since April 2019. Before that, he served as the bank’s senior executive vice president from January 2018 to March 2019.
Al-Sadhan worked with KPMG Saudi Arabia, where he spent 18 years rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history.
He was CEO/managing partner and chairman of the advisory committee during his last five years at the company.
Before his current position, Al-Sadhan worked in the Kingdom’s public sector in roles such as adviser to the chairman in the Saudi Fund for Development, acting director general at the General Authority for Zakat and Tax, and deputy governor for supervision at the Saudi Central Bank.
Al-Sadhan holds a bachelor’s degree in administration science from King Saud University, majoring in accounting (1997), and a master’s degree in business management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, France (2007).
He gained a diploma in international business from the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and a diploma in leadership development and strategy from INSEAD in 2010.
Al-Sadhan is a member of the 2020 World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board for the Middle East and North Africa, and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.
He has been an audit committee member at the Public Investment Fund since March 2019, and an advisory board member at Mastercard since March 2018.