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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Aramex board appoints new chief executive replacing Hussein Hachem

Finance chief Bashar Obeid takes over from CEO who was in position for about five years

Aramex said its board has appointed Bashar Obeid as the new chief executive of the company. Reuters
Aramex said its board has appointed Bashar Obeid as the new chief executive of the company. Reuters

The board of Aramex, the largest courier company in the Middle East, appointed Bashar Obeid as chief executive, replacing Hussein Hachem, who led the company for almost five years.

“Mr. Obeid joined Aramex in 1993 and since then, has been playing a major role in the development and growth of the company’s business,” Aramex said in a short statement to Dubai Financial Market (DFM), where its shares are traded. It did not give the reasons for the management change, saying the board made the decision in a November 19 meeting.

"We don’t expect any changes in terms of strategy in the short term," Nabil Rantisi, general manager Brokerage at Menacorp said, adding that he expects to see "more clarity" from Aramex regarding the management change.

"The company has been following its plans and the numbers have been improving over the past few quarters," he noted.

Mr Obeid joined the company as an accountant and rose within Aramex management ranks to become group chief financial officer. He was part of the team that oversaw the company’s public offering into the Nasdaq stock exchange and later on the DFM.

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Mr Hussein, an industry veteran had been instrumental in Aramex's growth across the GCC and beyond. He joined Aramex when the company restarted operations in Kuwait following the 1991 Gulf War and became general manager in the country, a post he later held in Sri Lanka and the UAE as well. In January 2013, he was promoted to CEO of Aramex following the retirement of the company's co-founder Fadi Ghandour.

Mr Hachem could not be reached for a comment on his mobile phone.

Aramex, which was established in 1982, has gone through ownership change last year when Mr Ghandour sold his 9.9 per cent stake in the company to Boston Ventures Corporation. Gulf investors including Emaar Properties chairman Mohammad Alabbar, reportedly were the buyers of the stake in the company.

Mr Alabbar is expanding his business interests in rapidly growing e-commerce sector, to tap demand from the affluent and digitally savvy population of the region. He is a co-investor along with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in US$1 billion e-commerce platform, Noon.com.

Aramex has grown rapidly in the past three decades. The company ventured into e-commerce early on through its shop and ship service that contributes more than $100 million annually to its bottom line. The company has also expanded its freight businesses and is looking to widening its presence in emerging markets.

Aramex posted weaker-than-expected growth in third-quarter profit. The net income rose 13 per cent year-on-year to Dh81.6 million for the three-month period ended September 30. However, the profit increase came in below the forecast of Dh87.8m from the EFG-Hermes analyst Wafaa Baddour.

The company’s revenues rose 9 per cent to Dh1.14 billion, in line with EFG’s forecast, in spite of a hit from global currency fluctuations, especially with the Egyptian pound, which was devalued in November last year.