Get to know – Khalaf Al Otaiba

Al Otaiba Communications, a distributor for brands such as SiteCom and Sweex, has become an established name in the market. We thought it was time to get to know the company's CEO...

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  April 22, 2009

Al Otaiba Communications, a distributor for brands such as SiteCom and Sweex, has become an established name in the market. We thought it was time to get to know the company's CEO...

What's your career history in the industry to date?

It was my passion to get into business by venturing into multi-segment activities. As a fulfillment to my innate ambition, Al Otaiba Real Estate became a reality in 1993, which really laid the foundation for the establishment of Al Otaiba Group. In 1996, another strategic business unit was launched - Al Otaiba Communications - which is a star in our organisational portfolio. Now Al Otaiba Group is the parent organisation of four diversified entities.

How would you describe your management style?

Management is a psychological and social process. We need only to manage people in a straightforward way. I believe in people to accomplish the task through empowerment and pro-active management.

What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?

The market is getting highly volatile and the life-cycles of many products have become very short. The recession has really ravaged all the economies in the world now, including our country. In the light of this, it is advisable to focus sharply on cost-cutting and a low-cost strategy for the time being.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?

It is one of the fastest emerging markets and poses major challenges to all market players. To operate in this market effectively, we have to be proactive. As the government has been promoting technology wholeheartedly, viable opportunities evolve through technological development, which gives ample opportunities to fill niche markets.

Which individual in the IT industry do you most admire?

From a global perspective, I really admire the special skills and capabilities displayed by the founding fathers of Microsoft, Apple, Cisco Systems and many more. The founding fathers of all the leading companies started their initiatives and ventures without any precedence and practice. They laid the foundation through intellectual activity, which is admirable.

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?

The thing that I dislike most is the unprofessional approach of a business partner and a lack of proper co-ordination in the supply chain system due to logistics issues and customs in different GCC countries. There is a single tax system for all of Europe whereas in this part of the world there are different types of taxation, multifarious cultures, business practices and ethical levels. These are the real constraints in developing strong business relationships between different countries.

What is the most valuable business lesson you've learnt?

That a company should always have an effective crisis management wing that constantly takes a telescopic view of the activities taking place in the market.

How do you relax outside of the work environment?

I really relax well when I get out of this country and visit Europe. If you are in Dubai, you will be constantly harassed by tension and uncertainties, which are quite high, even compared to what an astute businessman might comprehend.

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