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


Karina Litvack

Advisory Board Member

Karina serves on the boards of Italian power grid operator Terna S.p.A., where she is on the Controls, Risks & Sustainability Committee and the Nominations, Governance & Scenarios Committee; and of UK independent oil & gas operator EnQuest plc, where she is Senior Independent Director and Chairman of the Remuneration & Social Responsibility 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


Stephen Davis


Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is a senior fellow at the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors and chair of the Independent Oversight Committee overseeing the global proxy voting industry’s Best Practices Principles for Shareholder Voting Research. He co-chairs the Advisory Board of Hawkamah, the corporate governance institute based in the UAE; serves on the founding supervisory board of Stewardship Professionals e.V. (StePs); and is a co-founder of the Capital+Constitution project sponsored by the Brookings Institution and States United Democracy Center.

Davis pioneered the field of international corporate governance in 1989 when he founded the Global Shareholder Services unit at the IRRC, in Washington, DC. His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. Davis has been a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution, 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 Lecturer on the SOM faculty. 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), an Amazon bestseller in the US and UK among books on financial services, 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. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Group on Active Investor Stewardship.

US SEC Chair Mary Schapiro named Davis to the Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee, and chair of its Investor as Owner Subcommittee. He has been nonexecutive chair of the board of Hermes EOS, the shareowner engagement arm of Hermes Pensions Management, the UK’s largest retirement fund, and a trustee of ShareAction, the London-based NGO focused on institutional investor accountability. Davis is a co-founder of many institutions that now comprise the global corporate governance architecture including the International Corporate Governance Network, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, Chairmen’s Forums in North America and South Africa, the Conference of Fund Leaders, the (US) Systemic Risk Council, GMI Ratings (now part of MSCI), and Global Proxy Watch newsletter, for more than 25 years the prime industry resource for ESG insights worldwide.

In the academic world, besides at Harvard and Yale, Davis has served as a visiting professor in corporate governance at the IAE business school of Aix-Marseille University, and was named a Distinguished Visiting Researcher at the American University in Cairo. He has been a member of the advisory boards of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at University of Stellenbosch Business School and the Center for Corporate Governance at Handelshochschule Leipzig; and he has been an advisor to the corporate governance project at Alfaisal University School of Business in Riyadh. Elsewhere, Davis has been a member of the Advisory Board of Arkadiko Partners in London; senior advisor on the European Commission’s ESG investor training project; member of the Advisory Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board; member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Long Term Investing; Member of the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International; Member of the advisory board of Cartica Capital; member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Global Corporate Governance Forum; and member of the MSCI Thought Leaders Council.

Winner of the 2011 ICGN Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Davis authored the seminal “Mobilizing Ownership: An Agenda for Corporate Renewal”, published by Brookings in May 2012. Davis contributed to Corporate Governance in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (UNCTAD, 2011), The Origins of Shareholder Advocacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and The Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His co-authored Are Institutional Investors Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? (Committee for Economic Development, Yale SOM Millstein Center, 2011) catalyzed Columbia Law School’s database Project on Investment, Ownership and Control in the Modern Firm.

Davis co-chaired The Conference Board’s Working Group on Hedge Funds and served on the US National Association of Corporate Directors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on board-shareholder communications. He has testified at US congressional hearings, been a columnist for the Financial Times and Compliance Week, and is a frequent media commentator on corporate governance. He has been named by Directorship as among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance and by Trust Across America as among the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Davis is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. Through Davis Global Advisors, Inc., Davis provides research and advice to capital market parties.

Dr. Davis earned his doctorate in international business and security studies 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.


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.


Yew Yee Tee

Advisory Board Member

Yew Yee Tee practised was a lawyer in one of the biggest firms in Malaysia before joining Bursa Malaysia Berhad, one of the largest bourses in ASEAN, which operates and regulates a fully integrated exchange offering a comprehensive range of exchange-related facilities including trading, clearing, depository and settlement.

She has held various positions in Bursa Malaysia including Head, Enforcement before being appointed as the Chief Regulatory Officer (CRO) from February 2017 to February 2020. As the CRO, she was responsible for leading, strategising, planning, supervising all regulatory matters of Bursa Malaysia group covering 1) Regulatory, Policy & Advisory, (2) Listing, (3) Corporate Surveillance & Governance, (4) Participants Supervision, (5) Market Surveillance, (6) Investigation, (7) Enforcement and (8) Regulatory Strategy and involving approximately 150 staff.

In her 20 years in Bursa Malaysia, she has been involved in various regulatory and compliance matters relating to capital markets including corporate governance and sustainability.


Chris Hodge

Advisory Board Member

Chris Hodge is an independent advisor on governance and regulation working with organisations including ICSA: The Governance Institute (the professional body for company secretaries) and the International Corporate Governance Network.

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 now chairs the Global Stewardship Codes Network, which brings together bodies from 18 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, and is a fellow of CPA Australia.

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 also served on the advisory panel which developed a code of governance for town councils in Singapore. 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.

Prof Mak conducts training in corporate governance for directors, regulators and industry professionals in both financial institutions and listed companies. He has led research projects focusing on corporate governance of large Asian banks, gender diversity on boards and senior management, role of CFOs, stakeholder communications and other areas of corporate governance. Since 2012, he has edited an annual collection of Singapore, Asia and international case studies, with several volumes translated to Chinese and Vietnamese. He 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.