Business as usual

Welcome to 2008! As the extended holiday season winds down and companies go back to ‘business as usual' so the magazine returns to a more regular format.

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By  Edward Poultney Published  December 31, 2007

Welcome to 2008! As the extended holiday season winds down and companies go back to ‘business as usual' so the magazine returns to a more regular format.

Leading the return of our monthly profile insights are the CEOs and regional heads of global brands; including Microsoft's MEA VP Ali Faramawy, Bonhams' Europe supremo Matthew Girling and Bang & Olufsen's Jakob Odgaard, as well as ‘home grown' talent in the form of the Maktoob Group's Samih Toukan. Glenn Price also takes time out to share his tips on finding the key to the ever-elusive work/life balance.

The common thread between each of the main profiles this issue is the passion which each of these executives displays for his chosen profession. This theme, although it may appear commonplace now, presents a marked contrast to the ideals that it was thought a CEO should adhere to even as recently as last generation. The boardrooms of the 1970s and early 1980s were mostly headed by executives for whom the financial bottom line and shareholder accountability was the be-all-and-end-all of the business - a passion for the particular field and the positive impact that it could have on the community was, at most, a useful by-product of the job.

Now the executives achieving success in the modern-day boardrooms are those that have brought a love of their subject, and a desire to see it impact the community - Corporate Social Responsibility by any other name, if you will - with them on their journey to the top. In his interview Faramawy explains the role that the global IT giant wants to increasingly pursue in "acting global, thinking local" and the way that technology can help boost the region forward. Toukan talks of the need for Maktoob's Arabic internet offerings and Girling tells us that passion is the only way to approach the art world.

As businesses, geographical regions and disparate cultures become ever more interlinked through increased ease of communications and ‘real-time' access to information perhaps passion is the quality that will serve to set the great leaders apart from the merely ‘good'.

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