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Expat Power List - Gulf's Most Influential Expatriates
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Welcome to the Expat Power 50
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Welcome to the second annual Expat Power 50, the list of the most influential expatriates living and working in the Gulf today. Over the following pages we profile the 50 names making the biggest difference to the region they now call home - business leaders who have come to the Gulf and are playing a huge role in helping shape its future.

Before we start, let’s be absolutely clear what we mean by expats: our list is confined to people both living and working within the six GCC countries, and who do not qualify for our annual Arab Power List.

Looking at the new rankings nobody will be surprised to see fewer Westerners on this year’s list than made it in 2009. Nor can it be a shock that Dubai has less power players than it did twelve months ago – Dubai World’s $26bn debt default has set the emirate on the back foot and that is reflected in the diminished influence of some of its business leaders.

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The credit crisis has leveled the playing field for representatives from other Gulf countries that might otherwise have been overshadowed by Dubai’s dazzle – and these influential expats are writing cheques that they can actually cash.

Topping the table is Anthony Armstrong, head of M&A at Qatar Holding and the man with his finger on the button at the world’s most in-demand Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). Qatar has some $75bn of investments outside the country, from Porsche to Harrods via Barclays and Credit Suisse, and it’s Shen who has overseen that spending.

Running a close second is a man known more for saving money than spending it. Aiden Birkett is the accountant charged with sifting through the wreckage of Dubai World’s $26bn debt default, and coming up with a plan which will satisfy disgruntled creditors and rebuild international investor confidence in Dubai.

Jean Paul Villain, head of strategy at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is in third spot this year. Villain first joined the world’s second-largest SWF back in 1982, and in his time at the investment body the Frenchman has overseen the accumulation of an enviable global portfolio.

Our highest-ranked media mogul is sixth-placed Ed Borgerding, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Company and the man bringing the Gulf English Premier League football for the next three years (along with a varied slate of Hollywood movies). But the uncertainty hanging over the region’s banking sector means that its highest-placed representative, Emirates NBD boss Rick Pudner, only just makes it into the top 20.

Our top entry from the aviation sector is Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan, flying in at number eight. He scores higher than Tim Clark, his counterpart at Emirates Airline and number 10 on this list, because while Clark has a hands-on chairman in Sheikh Ahmed, the Australian pretty much runs the show at Etihad.

Last year we took a lot of criticism for overlooking such luminaries as Yussuff Ali MA and BR Shetty. Such feedback is always vital, and this year you’ll note that both are included in our 50, along with another 29 new entries. Our only disappointment is that for the second year running, there are no female representatives on the list. Again, it’s by accident and not design.

As well as being subjective, these lists are tricky to compile, so do forgive us if we’ve missed off a favourite or someone you think should be represented. It’s nothing personal and certainly not bias, but it is a tribute to the work of expats in the Gulf that the bar for entry is set so high. And as always, we welcome your suggestions for next year’s list.

Just don’t grumble that there are no Arabs featured – for the thousandth time, only those who don’t qualify for our annual Arab Power 100 are eligible for this list. Enjoy.Methodology

Our editorial team has spent the last six months compiling the Expat Power list, comparing and contrasting hundreds of expat power players across the Gulf.

We define power as influence. In simplest terms, it is how much impact the actions of one person can have on others — the more impact, the more influence.

We considered expats from across the globe in all walks of life — business, academia, media, law, entertainment, and more — and names from more than 20 different sectors were entered.

In March this year, our team of researchers began the first of a series of meetings to consider more than 500 names on the database.

By June, this was narrowed down to 50 names. The rankings from 11 – 50 were selected by the editorial team. For the top 10 names, we first agreed on who the top ten should be.

After this, the rankings were decided by a voting system. Each member of the editorial team ranked the 10 in order of personal preference. Position 1 = 10 points, Position 2 = 9 points — right down to Position 10 = 1 point.

The total number of points was then taken for each name in the top 10, with the individual with the highest points assigned top position, the expat with the second highest points assigned second position — and so on.

Expat Power researchers

Anil Bhoyrul, Andy Sambidge, Andrew White, Damian Reilly, Joanne Bladd, Elsa Baxter, Claire Ferris-Lay, Shane McGinley, Ed Attwood, Neeraj Gangal, Mona Ibellini, Edward Liamzon.

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