The Business Year

Ibrahim Al Alwan, CEO of Al Akaria

SAUDI ARABIA - Real Estate & Construction

Ibrahim Al Alwan

CEO, Al Akaria

Bio

Ibrahim Al Alwan has more than 20 years of experience in the finance, investment banking, and real estate industries. He is Managing Director and CEO of Al Akaria Real Estate Co. (listed on Tadawul) and the Executive Partner of Watheeq Financial Services Co. He was one of the team who established Kasb Capital Group (2007), and held the position of CEO there for three years and was Head of Asset Management for five years. Before he established Watheeq Financial Services Co. at the beginning of 2018, Alalwan was CEO of alOula Real Estate Company. During this time, alOula was the leading real estate developer with more than SAR10 billion in projects spread over five countries (GCC & Egypt). He has established and managed 15 mutual Funds (12 of them real estate funds) regulated by the Capital Market Authority (CMA). He holds a bachelor degree in Accounting from King Saud University in Riyadh, and he has passed the CHASE CREDIT program (Chase Manhattan Bank) in New York, USA.

“The real estate industry is a key driver to the economy’s prosperity with direct and indirect impacts on GDP.”

Ibrahim Al Alwan, CEO of Al Akaria, talks to TBY about COVID-19, “proptech”, and the goals of Vision 2030.

What are your current priorities as CEO of Al Akaria?

Ibrahim Al Alwan: Whilst the pandemic posed many unprecedented challenges and enormous costs at the corporate level, nonetheless it has encouraged us to think and operate differently. Every challenge, whether workforce safety, short-term shutdowns, operational disruptions, or supply chain and construction delays, all created an opportunity for us to revise the company’s operating model to ensure agility and sustainability. Adopting international best-practices with technology was key in our operations to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. In regard to Al Akaria’s key priorities, Al Akaria is one of the leading real estate development companies in Saudi and possesses long track record of developing and operating commercial and residential properties. During the pandemic and upon my appointment as CEO, we rearranged our goals and strategic objectives to maintain our distinguished role in the local market. Among our new priorities is to tap into iconic mixed-use destinations to be able to differentiate our new product offering from the local developers, and this market positioning requires different set of development skills and capabilities. Presently, we are recruiting and maintain the right talents—both locals and non-Saudis—and contracting with top-tier architectural and engineering firms to deliver unparalleled projects that contribute to Vision 2030 generally and to the company, including its stakeholders in particular.

What are the implications of Proptech for the real estate industry?

Ibrahim Al Alwan: Proptech and its implications for the real estate industry are significant, and can range from listings all the way to customer service management including facility/property management. The idea of adopting proptech in our real estate operational business allows us to be customer centric, i.e., residents and office occupiers demand more services and not only in real estate space, whereby the traditional way of conducting business is no longer appreciated by end users. Additionally, proptech, if fully implemented, can optimize operations from all aspects, time, quality, and cost.

How has Al Akaria positively contributed to the Vision 2030 in terms of green, tourism, sustainability, and entertainment?

Ibrahim Al Alwan: Al Akaria new corporate strategy has been developed around the Kingdom Vision 2030 and the company’s newly devised vision and mission. New projects of Al Akaria adhere to the core principles of the Kingdom Vision 2030 in terms of sustainability and modernity. Al Akaria pipeline projects are challenging but contemporary at the same time, adopting live-work-play design spirit in every project, based on their respective positioning. Intensive green development and landscaping combined with contemporary lifestyle designs are key elements of our new and pipeline projects.

How is Al Akaria contributing to the real estate sector in Riyadh?

The real estate industry is a key driver to the economy’s prosperity with direct and indirect impacts on GDP, as it makes up a large portion of individual and business wealth across different economic sub-sectors including construction, leisure and hospitality, retail & F&B, labor market, service-oriented businesses, and the financial sector.

What is Al Akaria’s new vision in terms of its stakeholders, the objectives of Vision 2030, and so on?

Ibrahim Al Alwan: Al Akaria is focused on delivering value to the overall economy generally and Al Akaria’s stakeholders in the real estate industry. We are committed to maximize the value creation cycle to our stakeholders including: the local community by offering contemporary sustainable real estate projects; our shareholders by delivering sustainable yet growing profits and dividends; our employees by creating a vibrant work environment full of energy, enthusiasm, and career growth; end users by offering quality real estate products that are value for money; financial institutions by structuring financing programs for our real estate projects with efficient capital structure; and finally relevant stakeholders the like of Wafi (off-plan sales) of the Ministry of Housing by offering reasonably priced housing solutions that support Vision 2030 to increasing home ownership among Saudis.

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