ILA Group

Dr. Saad Al Barrak currently leads ILA Group which invests and manages a group of telecommunications and ICT companies around the world. A quote from Dr. Saad Al-Barrak: “Be First, Be Daring and Be Different... This is the motto that guided Zain from our beginnings from a small regional player to an international leader, and it will guide us to global player, to global leader. You are as large as your dream and as able as the capabilities you build." Dr. Al-Barrak is a distinguished engineer and businessman of international repute. Since his appointment in mid 2002 (to his recent exit from Zain Group in February 2010), and through the implementation of his vision of the “3x3x3” profitable expansion strategy, Zain’s customer base has increased from 600,000 as a single operator in Kuwait to having a commercial presence in 23 countries with over 70 million active customers across the Middle East and Africa (Sept 30, 2009). Additionally during this period, the company’s market capitalization has multiplied many times to reach the Financial Times’ Global 500 Index which ranks the world’s largest companies based on market capitalization. Notably, company revenues for the year ending December 31, 2008 reached US$7.44 billion with net income of US$1.2 billion. For 2009, which will be announced in the last week of March 2010, the company revenue are expected to exceed US$8 billion. Dr. Al-Barrak holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Systems Engineering from Ohio University, and a PhD in Information Systems & Technology Management from the University of London. He is also an alumnus of Harvard University. Prior to his current role, Dr. Al-Barrak was served Zain at various management positions and as Managing Director of International Turnkey Systems (ITS), one of the leading IT companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Under Dr. Al-Barrak, ITS’s revenues grew from $5 million in 1985 to exceed $100 million in 2000. Dr. Al-Barrak has served as Vice-Chairman of the Social Development Office (SDO) of the Amiri Diwan in Kuwait; Chairman of Egyptian Software Developer IT Soft; Chairman of Arab Telecom; and a non-executive Director of Arab Management Association in Cairo as well as a number of other senior positions. Notable Awards to date: "Outstanding Contribution to Business Award" at the 2012 CEO Middle East Awards In October 2009, Global Telecoms Business magazine ranked Dr. Saad Al-Barrak in 20th position among most influential telecom executive over the century in its top 100 survey, first among his Middle East & African peers. In October 2008, Dr. Saad Al-Barrak scooped up three prized awards, winning Africa Investor’s International Business Leader award, CEO Middle East magazine’s Telecom CEO of the Year award and Bespoke magazine’s 2008 Visionary Award In February 2008, Dr. Al-Barrak was honored as Man of the Year by Arab Ad, the Middle East’s leading media and advertising magazine in recognition of the brave and successful launch of the new Zain brand as well as for Zain efforts in community support programs. In September 2007, Dr. Al-Barrak received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from leading industry magazine COMMSMEA for his pioneering efforts in the Middle East and African Telecom industry. At the 2005 Arab Economic Forum, Dr. Al-Barrak was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering efforts in the regional Telecom industry. In 2003 he received the ‘E-businessman of the Year’ award in the region and in 2005 he received the Middle East’s ‘CEO of the Year’ award in the Information Communication Technology sector.