The Business Year

Ziad Mortaja

SAUDI ARABIA - Energy & Mining

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Country President, KSA and Yemen of Schneider Electric


Ziad Mortaja was appointed as Country President in August of 2014. Before joining Schneider Electric, he served in a number of senior sales, business development, and general management roles with leading companies including HP and Cisco.

TBY talks to Ziad Mortaja, Country President of KSA and Yemen of Schneider Electric, on opportunities in the market, energy demand, and the outlook for the market.

What opportunities are there in the Saudi market for Schneider Electric?

Schneider Electric has been in Saudi Arabia for the last 30 years through a joint venture with a local Saudi business. For us, Saudi Arabia represents a major opportunity for many reasons. We are in electrical distribution and power, building management, and industrial automation, in addition to our IT business. We have a portfolio of products that is relevant to what is happening in Saudi Arabia today. There are many areas that have attracted FDI and benefited the Kingdom. All of these areas require infrastructure projects, which Schneider Electric can be a part of. We also have a strategic relationship with the electrical company here, namely Saudi Electric. There are many infrastructure developments happening currently, which means more opportunities for distribution. This has created significant prospects for Schneider Electric, as well as opened up the market for us. Today, we operate with a vision to bring the best of Schneider Electric to the Kingdom and bring the best of the Kingdom to Schneider Electric. If you look at the historic vision of the leaders in the Kingdom regarding the country’s place in the world, many opportunities emerge that have accelerated openings for Schneider Electric.

How do you see the Kingdom balancing its rapidly rising energy demand with sustainable solutions?

The leaders of the Kingdom have recognized the tremendous need for energy efficiency. We need this partnership and collaboration between the private and public sector. If you look at the power generation profile today, oil is the main source. The consumption of oil-generated power is actually on the increase. Utility companies have opened this sector up to private companies, and we are seeing new capacity being installed. The growth that has been projected for the economy suggests that the energy sector’s consumption of oil will increase rapidly if it continues to use oil as an energy source. Now is the right time for sustainable energy consumption, which should be encouraged. We know that the price of electricity today is lower than that in other GCC countries; however, we should focus efforts on raising awareness among those who do not make conscious efforts to conserve energy. The creation of the Saudi Arabian Energy Commission is a step in the right direction, as is the introduction of a standard on imported energy goods with an efficiency rating of five stars. We are an active member of this committee and bring products in that are in compliance with this push. That is a great step in the right direction, but more can be done. Schneider Electric helps in so many areas, and we are actually one of the leading solutions providers for energy consumption. Part of our strategy is to label ourselves as a global energy management solutions provider. Most of the new products we have are targeted toward more efficient energy consumption. We not only promote this type of energy-efficient solution outside of our company, but inside as well. Globally, there has to be collaboration between governments, the private sector, and the people to promote the energy efficiency campaign and get its message out there. Through this, we have seen improvement in waste water management, too, which has been a major issue for the Kingdom since it relies so heavily on desalination.

What are your expectations for the short term?

We have been here for 34 years, and have continued to make plans for future contribution to the Kingdom’s economic growth. We are working toward gaining government support as Saudi Arabia becomes a regional hub for our activities. This is all part of our strategy and business plan. For Schneider Electric, one thing is clear: we want to do more. That is something that we will never lose sight of or lose passion for. Not only do we want to grow the business, but we also want to be the best operation for Schneider Electric globally in terms of customer retention and satisfaction. We aim to position Schneider Electric as one of the best in our industry across the world and raise the bar high on solutions and effectiveness. We also want to be the employer of choice and set the standard for engagement in the energy market. This will take a lot of passion and hard work and Schneider Electric is determined.



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