About Hawkamah

Who We Are

To be the advisor of choice and the reference of good governance for all enterprises in the public and private arena throughout the MENA region.


Our Mission

Our mission is to assist companies to develop sound and globally recognised corporate governance frameworks. Hawkamah helps also in building qualified directors and top executives who are able to apply corporate governance in their organisations.

Our Strength

Our strength lies in our research and years of experience in the region, our world-class experts, and proximity to the countries and companies of the MENA region. Hawkamah has partnerships with most of the leading corporate governance institutions regionally and globally.

Dr Ashraf Gamal El Din


It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the website of Hawkamah. Since 2006, we have been working with government, companies, regulators, and financial institutions in the region to improve the level of governance understanding and application.

Because of our commitment and high professional and ethical standards, we are proud to say that Hawkamah has been a key player affecting governance practices in the region. We nonetheless know that there is still a lot to be done, and because we were established by the region, in the region and for the region, we are up to it. For we believe that only through good governance, societies can achieve prosperity and sustainable development.

We call upon everyone who believes in the value of governance, to be a change agent in their organisations, small or large, public or private, family owned or state owned. Only then, the pace of reform will match what we all hope for.

Hawkamah was founded in


Owned by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority

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    Hawkamah’s Social Impact

    Our ESG Index covers yearly the top 150 companies of the S&P Pan ARAB Composite Index.

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    Hawkamah’s Publications

    Publications on Governance

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    Hawkamah’s Talents


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    Hawkamah’s Total Clients

    Governance Assignments

Meet the Board


Dr. Ahmad Bin Hassan Al Shaikh


H. E. Dr. Ahmad Bin Al Shaikh, Managing Director of the Hassan Bin Al Shaikh Industries, joined the family printing business at the ground-level in 1984, and through excellence, leadership and demonstrated successes he quickly rose to lead the entire business group, which operates in printing, manufacturing, and real estate sectors:

·        Modern Printing Press

·        Hassan Bin Al Shaikh Food Industries

·        Hassan Bin Al Shaikh Paper Converting Industries

·        Real Estate Groups: Souq Al Wasl, Dubai Shopping Center, and others

An avid reader and academic, Dr. Ahmad holds a PhD in Economy from Coventry University (UK), MSc in Economics from Dundee University (UK), and a BSc in Political Science from the UAE University, and as a natural leader has become a sought-after speaker and thought leader on social and business issues in local newspapers and social media.

Dr. Ahmad has taken a leadership role in many business and industry associations in the fields of academia, finance, printing, food processing, and others. His hard work, determination, and commitment to excel in all his endeavors brought with it increased responsibilities in governmental and corporate sectors.

He is actively involved in many governmental and publicly-traded entities:

·        Member - DIFCA Board

·        Member - Advisory Council of Dubai Chamber

·        Chairman - Institute for Corporate Governance (Hawkama), at the Dubai International Financial Centre

·        Chairman - Emarati Industries Cooperative

He is an emeritus (former) member in other Public and Private bodies:

·        Chairman/ Vice-Chairman- Dubai Cable Company (DUCAB)

·        Chairman, Dubai International Arbitration Centre

·        Board Member, Mawarid Finance

·        Board Member, General Pension & Social Security Authority

·        Chairman, Advisory Committee, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

·        Vice Chairman, Emirates Islamic Bank

·        Hearing Session Chairman, Rental Dispute Settlement Committee, Dubai Municipal Council

·        Board Member, Dubai Economic Council

·        Chairman, Printing & Publishing Group, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

·        Chairman, Dubai Print Award

·        Chairman, Success Forum

·        Chairman, Food and Beverages Manufacturing Group, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

·        Chair, Advisory Council, College of Business Administration, University of Dubai

·        Member, Advisory Board, School of Business, American University of Dubai

·        Member, Dubai Export Development Corporation

Dr. Ahmad lives in Dubai with his family. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT Dr. Ahmad Bin Hassan Al Shaikh

H. E. Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi


H. E Maryam Al Suwaidi is Deputy CEO at the Securities & Commodities Authority for Licensing, Supervision & Enforcement, a holder of a Licence (Sharia and Law) Honor, a Master's Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Wales (U.K), a registered Lawyer (Non-Practicing List) at the UAE Ministry of Justice, and a graduate of the UAE Government Leaders Program – Executive Leaders organised by the Prime Minister Office/ the Federal Authority For Government Human Resources (FAHR) 2010-2011.

She has worked at the Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA) since 2002 and to date occupies the position of deputy CEO for Licensing, Supervision & Enforcement.

She has held several positions in the SCA where she worked as the Manager of Legal Affairs and Acting Legal Advisor, the Director of Issuance and Disclosure, then the Deputy CEO for Legal Affairs, Issuance & Research 2008/2010. She also previously worked at the Ministry of Education and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Al Suwaidi is a member of various entities, associations, and committees; the Insurance Authority Boards in the current term 2012-2015, Women Corporate Directors (WCD) in the United States of America, and the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee.

In the domain of SCA, Al Suwaidi is a member of SCA Registry & Licensing Committee; and is Head of the Technical Committee in SCA that overlooks all laws, regulations, and technical matters related to the financial sector and companies working in the financial services; Head Team of Services Development of the Licensing, Supervision & Enforcement Sector; Head of SCA Female Group; Head Team of Oversight and Supervision on Financial Markets of the GCC Countries – and Secretariat General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

She was a lecturer at the Institute of Training & Judicial Studies -- Abu Dhabi in 2003, and she has also participated in many events as a featured a lecturer, a keynote speaker, and a moderator at events such as the Arab Women Leadership Forum 'Board Leadership & the Case for Diversity' organised by Dubai Women Establishment, the Commodities Week Middle East, and the SMARTS 7th Surveillance conference, held by SMARTS/NASDAQ in New York.

Al Suwaidi was granted the Sheikh Rashid Awards for Academic Excellence for the Licence degree and the Master degree, two appraisal letters from the Minister of Economy & Planning and the Minister of Finance & Industry for the distinguished efforts in the Second and Fourth Rounds of negotiation of the free trade agreement between the UAE and the United States that were held in Washington 2005 and in London 2006; and also was granted an appraisal and appreciation certificate for the effective participation and distinguished efforts in the rewarding of the Legal Affairs, Issuance & Research Sector of SCA the ISO BS EN ISO 9001:2008 in 2009. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT H. E. Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi

Philip Armstrong

Board Member

Philip Armstrong is an internationally acknowledged expert on corporate governance. He has worked extensively with governments, regulators and policy makers, institutions and organisations, companies and boards on issues of corporate governance in some 70 countries around the world. His wide depth of experience and expertise covers policies, standards, best practices and their implementation. Philip has extensive knowledge and experience of the inner workings of complex board room situations in both the private and public sectors.

He was closely associated with the earlier King Reports in South Africa, notably as one of the architects of the 2002 edition known as “King II” which brought together a comprehensive package of globally-acclaimed corporate governance best practices and standards calibrated and integrated with stakeholder-focused issues and priorities. Among his involvement in many other internationally significant initiatives, he was an adviser to the Commonwealth Association on Corporate Governance (CACG) and was instrumental in developing the CACG Corporate Governance Principles adopted by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1999.

Philip retired in 2020 as Director: Governance at the Gavi Alliance based in Geneva, Switzerland which is an internationally important multi-stakeholder public-private partnership in the global health sector comprising representation across key players in public health, including but not limited to governments from developed and emerging market countries, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, business sector, etc.  Prior to that he headed the Global Corporate Governance Forum (GCGF), a joint World Bank/OECD initiative, from 2005 through 2012 which led several initiatives around the world seeking to develop the capacity of director and corporate governance institutes and was at the forefront of producing capacity building tools for the training of directors and corporate secretaries supported by a Private Sector Advisory Group made up of prominent business leaders from around the world. With the GCGF being absorbed into the Corporate Governance Group (CGG) of the International Finance Corporation, he took on the role of Senior Adviser from 2012 through 2015.

Philip Armstrong has also served on various governing bodies of professional institutions and policy initiatives in South Africa and internationally, including on the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network (representing over US$50 trillion in AUM) from 2012 through 2017 and as Board Vice Chair in his final two years on the Board. He is a Chartered Secretary by profession and served as President of The Chartered Governance Institute of Southern Africa in 2001. He has received numerous accolades and awards from around the world for his work on corporate governance, specifically in emerging markets, and was conferred with an Honorary PhD in Business Administration from the Oxford Brookes University in 2006.

In his earlier career, he has held executive and senior management positions in some of South Africa’s prominent listed companies including as Corporate Secretary of Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited. Philip continues to be associated with a number of potentially path breaking initiatives associated with good corporate governance, as an adviser, in South Africa and the United States and is an independent non-executive director of Hawkamah – The Institute for Corporate Governance in the United Arab Emirates.

LEARN MORE ABOUT Philip Armstrong

Alya Al Zarouni

Board Member

In her role as Executive Vice President of Operations at Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, Alya Al Zarouni oversees a number of internal functions, including Information Technology, Procurement, Administration, Corporate Development, Government Relations, Government and Registry Services. Her prime objective is to ensure DIFC Authority’s internal operations are well aligned to support the delivery of the 2024 Strategy and objectives.

Prior to this role, Ms. Al Zarouni held the position of Senior Vice President – Operations at DIFC Authority, and before that was Senior Vice President - Government & Registry Services for five years. In this capacity, she was responsible for driving the strategic direction across the organisations Government Services, Registrar of Companies and Registrar of Properties offices.

Before this, Ms. Al Zarouni worked with the Programme Management Office at DIFC Authority, where she rose from Assistant Manager to Director of Government Services Office. During her tenure, she partly managed and assisted project managers in handling a number of complex projects in the Centre.

Ms. Al Zarouni earned both her BSc in Computer Science and MBA from the American University of Sharjah. She is a PMI Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), an LRQA certified ISO 9000:2000 Series Auditor/ Lead, and an LRQA Certified Internal QMS Auditor. Ms. Al Zarouni has also successfully completed the Young Leaders Program from the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Leadership Development.


Mohamed Saleh Al-Shaikh

Board Member

Mohamed Saleh Al-Shaikh is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Watan HR Company. He also served as deputy minister of the Ministry of Economy & Planning.

LEARN MORE ABOUT Mohamed Saleh Al-Shaikh

What We Do

Developing governance frameworks

Working with national and regional task forces, we assist with the development of regionally relevant corporate governance frameworks and help foster home-grown communication and policy dialogue, ultimately becoming the natural bridge for institutions promoting corporate governance in the region.

Governance tailored to MENA

At Hawkamah, we recognise that countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are positioned at different stages and dissimilar phases of developing a corporate governance framework. To address these disparity, we have developed a range of flexible products and services centered on the focal points of good governance, all of which can also be tailored to suit organisations specific needs. Our aim is to create a national environment that promotes and sustains corporate governance in the region.

Raising Awareness
We champion good governance. Raising awareness of best practices and latest trends.
Policy Development
We guide governments, companies and boards with solutions that are uniquely tailored to your type of business.
Capacity Building
Assisting companies with expanding their governance capacity, as they grow.
We pride ourselves on being the regional advisors of choice to nations, multinationals and corporations.
Where we came from Where we came from

Where We Came From

The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance was set up in 2006 to help bridge the corporate governance gap in the region.

The Institute was founded by international organisations including the OECD, the IFC, and the World Bank, and regional organisations such as the Union of Arab Banks and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority. The Institute grew out of the recognition of a growing need for a regional organisation working on the ground, and since then Hawkamah has been at the forefront of the corporate governance debate in the region.

Our goal: improving regional governance

Hawkamah's primary goal is to provide the region's companies and boards with practical tools on how to improve corporate governance. The Institute's work also involves engaging governments and industry, conducting surveys and studies, and creating regional benchmarks which often act as catalysts for reform.

Meet the advisory board


Nadia Zainuddin

Advisory Board Member

Nadia Zainuddin is currently the General Manager and Head of Corporate Governance at the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC). She focuses on raising the corporate governance practices and standards of listed companies as well as capital market intermediaries in Malaysia, working closely with local and international corporate governance stakeholders. Nadia leads the formulation and implementation of the SC’s immediate and long-term corporate governance measures which include, enhancements to the Listing Requirements, Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance, spearheading the use of AI by the SC to monitor corporate governance disclosures by listed companies, advocating for board diversity particularly the participation of women on boards and putting in place the framework for sustainability reporting by listed companies. Nadia also represents the SC and Malaysia in local and global policy making platforms on corporate governance.

In 2014, Nadia was seconded to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France as a Consultant at the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Corporate Affairs Division. She was involved in efforts to promote corporate governance in Asia; including the development of the OECD Southeast Asia Corporate Governance Initiative to establish effective corporate governance frameworks and support ASEAN capital market integration in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Nadia graduated from the International Islamic University Malaysia with a Bachelor of Economics in 2004, and a Master of Economics in 2006, where she was also an active debater. In 2009 she was awarded a Chevening Scholarship by the Foreign Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom to pursue an MSc in Corporate and International Finance at Durham University, UK.


Karina Litvack

Advisory Board Member

Karina serves on the board of Italian power grid operator Terna S.p.A., where she is on the Controls, Risks & Sustainability Committee and the Nominations, Governance & Scenarios Committee. She also serves as Ambassador & Founding Chairman of the Climate Governance Initiative. Until recently, she served on the boards of Oil & Gas major Eni S.p.A., where she chaired the Sustainability & Scenarios Committee, and was a member of the Remuneration and Controls & Risk Committees; of the CFA Institute, home of the professional qualification for investment management professionals; of Viridor, a KKR portfolio company active in the waste management sector; and of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a consulting firm specialising in sustainable business management. 

Since the passage of the Paris Agreement at CoP21 in 2015, Karina has been working to build a global network for fellow board directors to share experiences, engage with technical experts and stakeholders, access specialised training, and help to drive the adoption of effective Paris-aligned climate transition strategies in the boardroom. Under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, she co-founded the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI), home of the WEF Principles for Effective Climate Governance for Non-Executive Directors.  The CGI operates in over 70 countries through a network of 30 national and regional Chapters in APAC, EMEA, the Americas and Africa, often in collaboration with local institutes of directors.  

Previously, Karina had a 25-year career in Finance, latterly running the Governance and Sustainable Investment activities of UK asset manager F&C Investments*. 

* now Columbia Threadneedle Investments


Sandra Guerra

Advisory Board Member

One of the forerunners of corporate governance in Brazil, Sandra Guerra has served as a board member and chairperson of boards of directors since 1995. Her experience includes acting on the boards of listed, closed, family-controlled and state-controlled companies as well as of non-profit organizations both in Brazil and abroad. With more than 26 year's experience in corporate governance, she was one of the founding members of the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC), where for four years, from 2012 to 2016, she was the chair of the board. On two occasions, she was also a member of the board of directors of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN). She was also board director of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), from 2017 to 2019. Ever since she completed her Master's degree in Business Administration at FEA-USP (2009), her research has been focused on the board of directors. Certified as a Board Member by the IBGC and as a Mediator by the CEDR-Center for Effective Dispute Resolution (United Kingdom). In 2017 she published the book “A Caixa-Preta da Governança. Conselhos de Administração Revelados por Quem Vive Dentro Deles”, published by Editora Best Business in Brazil and which is now in its 4th edition. The book – The Black Box of Governance. Boards of Directors Revealed by Those Who Inhabit Them - was updated and translated to English and published by Routledge in September 2021.


Stephen Davis


Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is a senior fellow at the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance and chairs the Advisory Board of Hawkamah, based in the UAE. He was founding chair of the international Oversight Committee, which monitors the global proxy voting industry’s Best Practices Principles for Shareholder Voting Research, and he co-founded Stewardship Professionals e.V. (StePs). Davis is a co-organizer of the Capital+Constitution project sponsored by the Brookings Institution and States United Democracy Center. He pioneered the field of international corporate governance in 1989 when he created the Global Shareholder Services unit at the IRRC, in Washington, DC. Davis has been a nonresident senior fellow in governance at Brookings, where he co-directed the World Forum on Governance; a senior advisor on governance at Teneo; and outside advisor to the Nissan Special Committee on Improving Governance. From 2007-2012 he was executive director of the Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance, and from 2012-2022 was associate director of Harvard Law School’s Program on Corporate Governance. He has served as an advisor to the corporate governance project at Alfaisal University School of Business in Riyadh and a Distinguished Visiting Researcher at the American University in Cairo. Davis is co-author of What They Do With Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us, and How to Fix It (Yale University Press, 2016), and The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. US SEC Chair Mary Schapiro named Davis to the Commission’s first Investor Advisory Committee. He has been chair of the board of Hermes EOS and a trustee of ShareAction. Davis is a co-founder of the International Corporate Governance Network, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, GMI Ratings (now part of MSCI), and Global Proxy Watch newsletter. Davis earned his doctorate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and completed undergraduate studies at Tufts and the London School of Economics. Other books include Apartheid’s Rebels: Inside South Africa’s Hidden War (Yale University Press, 1987), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Chris Hodge

Advisory Board Member

Chris Hodge is an independent advisor on governance and regulation who has worked with organisations including The Chartered Governance Institute (the professional body for company secretaries), the Institute of Directors in the UK and the International Corporate Governance Network. Chris also advises regulators and stock exchanges in emerging markets on corporate governance standards and reporting.

He is a member of Hawkamah’s Advisory Board. For ten years, Chris was Director of Corporate Governance at the Financial Reporting Council in the UK. In that capacity he was responsible for developing and promoting the UK Corporate Governance Code, and for introducing the first national stewardship code for investors in the UK. Chris established, and chaired until 2015, the European Corporate Governance Codes Network which shares information and good practice among the bodies responsible for codes in 28 European countries. Chris Hodge also chaired the Global Stewardship Codes Network, which brings together bodies from 20 markets.


Mak Yuen Teen

Advisory Board Member

Mak Yuen Teen is Associate Professor of Accounting at the National University of Singapore, where he specialises in corporate governance. He holds first class honours, master and PhD degrees in accounting and finance.

Prof Mak has served on key corporate governance committees which developed and revised the code of corporate governance for listed companies in Singapore. He is currently a member of the Corporate Governance Advisory Committee established by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Prof Mak also served on the Charity Council in Singapore and chaired the subcommittee which developed and revised the code of governance for Singapore charities. He was also the Singapore expert in the development of the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard and Ranking, an initiative of the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum.

Prof Mak served as a member of the audit advisory committee of the UN Population Fund and as a member of the audit advisory committee of the UN Women for consecutive six-year terms. He was a former member of the Governing Council of the Singapore Institute of Directors and is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the Vietnam Independent Directors Association.

Prof Mak conducts training in corporate governance for directors, regulators and industry professionals in both financial institutions and listed companies. He has led numerous research projects focusing on corporate governance in Singapore and Asia, and more recently on sustainability-related topics such as integration of ESG factors into executive remuneration, sustainability governance structures, board oversight of climate risks and opportunities, and materiality assessment of ESG factors. He has edited 11 annual volumes of Singapore, Asia and international case studies on corporate governance, and is a regular commentator on  corporate governance in the local and international media.

He was recognised by the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) with the Corporate Governance Excellence Award and as a CG Pioneer by the Singapore Institute of Directors for his contributions to corporate governance in Singapore, and by the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group (Malaysia) for his contributions to corporate governance in the region.



We are proud to partner with a wide range of organisations on a variety of programmes.