Creating synergies. 5 April 2021 | Virtual Conference | 10:00 am - 02:00 pm GST Strengthening business cores. ATTEND AS A DELEGATE partner with us
The region’s 1st event bringing core business functions together!

Strategic Functions Forward is a first-of-its-kind initiative which brings together professionals from different, yet inter-connected functions of an organisation under one roof to create synergies, discuss collaborative ideas, solve function-level challenges and create a digital and innovation-backed ecosystem where functions complement and support one another.

Join us from the comfort of your screens and safety on 5 April 2021 from 10:00 am – 02:00 pm GST, as we bring four core functions at one platform.


4 Departments. 1 Mission.
Plenary opening followed by function-focused sessions
Finance chiefs of tomorrow – Working towards reshaping the face of the organisation ahead the digital shift
Revisiting procurement frameworks to navigate through chaos while ensuring governance and agility in the digital age
Innovating strategy with business excellence – Bringing efficiency at the forefront
Risk to reward - Creating a competitive advantage out of sound risk policies
Meet Our Speakers
The best-of-the-best in their respective functions

Paolo Lo Monaco

Group CFO, Chalhoub Group

Venkatesh Kallur

Chief Risk Officer Commercial Bank International (CBI)

Yousuf Abbas

Assistant Vice President - Strategy & Transformation, Riyad Bank

Shakti Arora

Chief Procurement Officer, RAK Ceramics

Dr. Arafat El Mourad

Vice President - Head of Strategic Sourcing, Emirates NBD

Tanu Goel

Chief Internal Auditor, Emirates Development Bank

Mahmoud Al Alawi

Director – Procurement, Higher College of Technology (HCT)

Frederik Bisbjerg

Executive Director, Digitisation, Daman National Health Insurance Company
Event Schedule
Event Schedule
An action-packed two-day agenda
Shared Opening
(Mon, 5 April)
(Mon, 5 April)
(Mon, 5 April)
(Mon, 5 April)
(Mon, 5 April)
10.00 am - 10.15 am
Registrations and networking
10.15 am - 10.20 am
Opening remarks from MS Events
10.20 am - 10.25 am
Opening remarks from the show chair
10:25 am - 11:05 am
Opening keynote panel: Culture eats strategy for lunch

  • Do you have a sound, risk-proof organisational strategy?
  • Do you have the right people, talent and culture in place to fulfil your strategy?
  • Are you confident in your team adopting to change?
  • Do you have a resilient, agile and capable leadership and human capital?

Moderator: Jaydeep Anand, CFO and COO, Five Hotels and Resorts

Frederik Bisbjerg, Executive Director - Digitalisation, National Health Insurance Company – Daman
Werner Flaig, CFO and COO, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group
Hussein Wehbe, CEO, Fetchr

11.05 am - 11:25 am
Tech talk: Powering digital transformation with Automation 360

  • Unleash your business through the power of automation
  • Leave no process or employee behind with end-to-end automation
  • Unify your front office and back office
  • To be more data-driven, agile, secure, efficient and digital-backed organisation
  • A capable, resilient, competent and intelligent system

Sumeet Pathak, Digital Evangelist – IMEA, Automation Anywhere

11.25 am - 11:55 am
360 degree view of risks: Paradigm shift in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) – a Chief Risk Officer’s perspective

  • Importance of an ERM framework
  • Role of risk appetite - CRO perspective
  • Importance of risk analytics - a collaborative partner with business
  • How to let the business own the risk
  • Finally, what automation means to a CRO?

Venkatesh Kallur, Chief Risk Officer, Commercial Bank International

11:55 am - 12:00 pm
Networking break and splitting for the individual streams: Finance, Procurement, Operations, Risk
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm
Opening remarks by FinanceForward stream chair
12:05 pm - 12:30 pm
CFO panel discussion: The ‘new normal’ already seems old. What is next for finance?

  • How did the CFOs keep their business relevant amidst the global economic slowdown?
  • Strategies and innovations to prepare for ‘black swan’ scenarios
  • Transforming the DNA of finance functions one step at a time – no longer playing it safe

Anand Soni, Group CFO , AAB Tools Group of Companies,
Global Speaker, Strategic Writer

Muralikrishnan R, Chief Financial Officer, Al Wathba National Insurance Co.
Nauman Mian, CFO, Bayt
Sudip Ghosh, Group CFO, AKI Group

12:30 pm - 12.55 pm
Channelling through digital waters: The Chalhoub Finance Journey

  • How to generate value from a digitised finance function?
  • Understanding the perks of digital for a sustainable and persistent business model

Paolo LoMonaco, Chief Financial Officer, Chalhoub Group
Anand Bhandari, Senior Group Finance Manager, Chalhoub Group

12:55 pm - 13:15 pm
Going beyond the usual norm

  • How are financers pushing their organisations to gain the competitive edge?
  • Looking into the new role of finance; the need for new competencies and skills
  • How to prepare for increased scope of work in disguise of a mini-CEO?

Tariq Sanad, CFO, Pure Harvest Smart Farms

13:15 pm - 13:35 pm
Tech talk: Transforming financial services with intelligent automation

  • Bobby Thomas, Delivery Head – Emerging Technologies, Finesse

13:35 pm - 13:55 pm
Question of the hour: How to make sure your business is sustainable in the coming times?

  • Why focusing on customer centricity is critical?
  • Irrespective of current circumstances, holding to the principles (laws) of business is how we win
  • Business relevance now needs to be unscored by an entrepreneurial mindset

William Anwana, Chief Financial Officer - Corporate & Investment Banking, Sterling Bank Plc

13:55 pm - 14:00
Closing remarks and end of conference
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Registrations and shared opening sessions
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm
Opening remarks by ProcureForward stream chair
Sid Dhamija, Director Enterprise Business MEA, Moglix
12:05 pm - 12:30 pm
CPO panel discussion: Time to lead the change – the new role of procurement post-covid – how procurement rose during the pandemic and lessons learnt

  • A wake-up call for those who were still sleeping – How COVID accelerated the push for procurement excellence
  • Breaking away from reactivity to proactivity
  • Transforming procurement using data-driven intelligence
  • Building resilience through agility


Dr. Arafat El Mourad, Vice President - Head of Strategic Sourcing, Emirates NBD
Mahmoud Al Alawi, Director – Procurement, Higher College of Technology
Mina Hakim, Chief Procurement & Supply Chain Officer, Yas Holding
Sulaiman Abdulla, Manager – Procurement, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, UAE

12:30 pm - 12:50 pm
Inspiration talk: It is procurement’s time to be seen – no more hiding behind!

  • Procurement on the C-suite table – getting procurement in the limelight for their role
  • From buyers to business partners – changing the mindset across the organisation
  • A leader within. Why every single employee matters?
  • Harnessing the mavericks – challenging the traditional norms into building new innovations

Dr. Arafat El Mourad, Vice President - Head of Strategic Sourcing, Emirates NBD

12:50 pm - 13:10 pm
Low risk, high value, ethical, sustainable – revisiting your supply chain

  • Working together with suppliers to support the broader ecosystem and build trust
  • Maximising resiliency and minimising risk by overcoming supply chain disruption
  • Educating suppliers on the increasing importance of ESG practices to ensure ethical and sustainable ecosystems
  • Balancing local and global suppliers to diversify and minimise risks
  • Tech-driven supply and risk mitigation for a good night sleep


Sid Dhamija, Director Enterprise Business MEA, Moglix

Kunal Gupta, Director – Supply Chain, Bateel
Shakti Arora, Chief Procurement Officer, RAK Ceramics
Vishal Noronha, Group Head - Procurement & Logistics, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group
Nita Nair, Acting Head of Procurement and Admin (KSA), Emirates NBD

13:10 pm - 13.30 pm
Tech talk: Suppliers’ Risk Management

    What are companies doing to manage and evaluate supplier risk? The global pandemic has proven that most companies were not ready for this kind of an unprecedented situation. It is important for organisations to understand the risk appetite and maturity in risk management while facing uncertainties. This session explores supplier risk assessments in today’s business climate and shares the critical factors for evaluating source partners for risk vs reward.

Suha El Sherbiny, Regional Corporate Solutions Manager, Bureau van Dijk - a Moody's Analytics Company

13:30 pm - 13.55 pm
Panel discussion: Decomplexifying procurement – a shift in strategy

  • How procurement and its functions can enable a more efficient organisation
  • Taking each function as its own to get the most out of each function – supply chain, logistics, tenders etc
  • Working in a centralised, yet uncentralised manner to get the maximum benefit

Yasir Rizvi, Regional Procurement Manager, Agthia Group PJSC

Arakkal Vedhus, Supply Chain Manager, Agthia Group PJSC
Rasif Abdul Rahim, Regional Procurement Manager, Noon
Faizan Shahzad, Procurement Lead, Philip Morris International
Ananthapadmanabhan Ramesh, Head of Finance, Sharaf Cargo (Sharaf Group)

Closing remarks and end of conference
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Registrations and shared opening sessions
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm
Opening remarks by OpsForward stream chair
12:05 pam - 12:30 pm
#NeedforSpeed: Scale up your business transformation

  • Creating the right roadmap and leadership to enhance organisational efficiency
  • Cloud tech and agile transformation to sustain with the changing landscape of opportunities
  • Establishing the required transformation strategy plan to revisit lean processes

Frederik Bisbjerg, Executive Director - Digitalisation, National Health Insurance Company – Daman

12:30 pm - 13:00 pm
Panel discussion: #DigitalOpsModel; enduring workforce strategies

  • How are organisations dealing with the impact of transformation across operations?
  • Aligning preparedness and awareness for the next level of human and machine co-existent collaboration
  • Working on conducting and creating a ‘no risk’ world

Bobby Thomas, Delivery Head, Emerging Technologies, Finesse

Mohammed Al Shobani, VP - Digital Transformation, Al Rajhi Takaful
Chetan Shah, Regional Operations Manager – MEIA, Jotun UAE
Shafique R Ibrahim, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Al Fardan Group

13:00 pm - 13:20 pm
A glance at the transformation and its implementation within the organization

  • What does it mean for the organizational culture?
  • Deep dive into the strategic focus
  • How do you decide and chose the right implementation tools?

Yousuf Abbas, Assistant Vice President - Strategy & Transformation, Riyad Bank

13:20 pm - 13:50 pm
The excellence leaders of tomorrow – Sailing through unchartered waters

  • Change is now reorganising strategies and people excellence
  • Shedding light on the how-to for budgets in unstable conditions and maintaining efficiency whilst dealing with rising costs and decreased sales
  • Focusing on new models to seek organisational growth and cost effectiveness

Tiago Costa, COO – Permanent Placements and Recruitments, Dulsco

13:55pm - 14:00pm
Closing remarks and end of conference
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Registrations and shared opening sessions
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm
Opening remarks by RiskForward stream chair
12:05 pm - 12:30 pm
CRO panel discussion: COVID-19 – The pandemic to highlight risk strategies and preparedness – How did your organisation do?

  • Being caught off-guard – proactive vs. reactive risk management
  • Work cultures and the changing dynamics of infrastructure, communication, security, and risk
  • Risk as a shared responsibility – did every department oblige and support?
  • Revisiting infrastructure – effective and collaborative remote work

Alexander Larsen, President, Baldwin Global Risk Services Ltd.

Amna Mohamed Faridoon, Chief Audit Executive, Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, UAE
Venkatesh Kallur, Chief Risk Officer, Commercial Bank International CBI
Karem Obeid, Executive Director, Internal Audit, Modon Properties
Dr. Yousef Padganeh, Risk Leader

12:30 pm - 12:50 pm
The Route to a strong Risk Culture: From Theory to Execution

  • Risk Culture is an integral element in the Integrated Risk Management Framework
  • How a strong Risk culture looks like
  • Risk should be embedded in everyone – how to create the mindset

Khaleda Bander, Manager, Risk Management, Kuwait National Petroleum Company

12:50 pm - 13:10 pm
Tech talk: Digital Risk in a post-coved world

  • Digital Transformation as a result of Covid
  • How should Risk be integrated into Digital Transformation Projects
  • Importance of Risk Management in future Strategy (Horizon Scanning, Scenario Planning and Risk-Based plans)

Alexander Larsen, President, Baldwin Global Risk Services Ltd.

13:10 pm - 13:30 pm
Fireside chat: Aligning compliance, audit and risk – now more than ever

  • Working in harmony – the ever-changing demand of businesses
  • Ensuring audit, compliance and risk are on top of their games at all times
  • How to enhance preparedness by aligning these components

Dr. Sadar Abdul Rasheed, Risk Manager, Al Ghurair

Abhishek Nayak, Head – Risk, HDFC International Life and Re Company Limited
Tanu Gopal Krishna Goel, Chief Internal Audit, Emirates Development Bank
Ozge Gurgur, Head of ERM, Petrofac

13:30 pm - 13:50 pm
Investing in risk = business! How certifications, compliances, ethics, and culture create a competitive edge

  • Sound risk strategy wins business, trust and $$
  • How can organisations increase value, trust and credibility by being compliant and ethical
  • The growing competitive angle surrounding ESG

Sergey, Konov, Ethics & Compliance Director, Middle East & Africa, GSK

14:15pm - 14:20pm
Closing remarks and end of conference
Business speakers
Interactive, interconnected sessions
Event rooms
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Want to have conversations with all relevant influencers and decision makers? Want exposure in front of inter-connected departments and their heads to help you in convincing the organisation?
Meet peers from 4 different departments/functions, each function being an influencer to one another. Get your message across to one or all four departments.
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