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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Eyewear retailer MAGRABi is reworking its board structure by introducing industry professionals with diverse backgrounds and global experience.
The company aims to meet international standards and reshape the region’s corporate governance landscape, highlighted a top official.
The firm revealed to Arab News that the newly appointed board members, recognized for their “deep sector expertise and caliber” within their respective industries, have been selected to advance the goals outlined by the retail group.
“They have been carefully chosen to align with the group’s strategic objectives. These specialisms include luxury retail, corporate finance, retail real estate, vertical integration including supply chain, mainstream retail, and ESG,” Yasser Taher, CEO of MAGRABi Retail Group, said.
He added: “We also partnered with Spencer Stuart, the renowned global executive search firm, to ensure that the newly appointed board members align with the group’s overall strategy and with Harvard Business School’s Fortune 500 best practice recommendations for corporate governance.”
This board formation follows the recent appointment of Taher as the MAGRABi Retail Group’s first non-family CEO. Notably, it includes a lead independent director aligning with the standard practice for publicly listed companies worldwide.
The group is appointing six new board members, reflecting the C-suite leadership composition and supporting the firm’s broader restructuring objectives.
“Additionally, an important dynamic of this unique board structure is equal voting rights irrespective of shareholding,” Taher said.
He also underlined that the new board will help foster company drive, leveraging their individual expertise and experience.
“These plans include new store openings and the possibility of expansion into new markets in the coming years. The new board announced today will drive the group’s transformation to position it as a world-class leader in its category and into the next phase of its journey,” he continued.
Furthermore, MAGRABi Retail Group aspires to become the Middle East's first corporation to achieve an equal gender balance across all organizational levels.
“Another key driver is our commitment to achieving a 50/50 gender balance across all levels of the organization by 2025, which is reflected in the structure of the board that also respects this ratio,” Taher commented.
He added that, at the moment, “Our key focus is on consolidating our leadership position in the Middle East and growing our omnichannel presence, with a view to international expansion in the future.”
The goal is to ensure equal representation and opportunities for both genders throughout the company’s hierarchy, promoting diversity and inclusivity in its workforce.
“Saudi Arabia is fundamental to our growth strategy, being a key market for MAGRABi and also where we first launched our lifestyle banner, Doctor M, in 2021, along with our MAGRABi female-only store,” Taher said.
The restructuring represents the group’s commitment to additional transparency and a departure from the company’s traditional family-led management.
MAGRABi’s new nine-member board, which was effective Jan. 1, 2023, emphasizes independence, with six seats held by independent directors aligned with the company’s strategic goals.
“If you look at the biographies of the board members, it is clear we have greatly widened the skillset and sector expertise. Leveraging this expertise and talent is another key aspect for developing this board and achieving our ambitions,” he commented.
The newly appointed directors include Huda Al-Lawati, founder and CEO of Aliph Capital, Hisham El-Khazindar, co-founder and managing director of Qalaa Holdings, and Pierre Fayard, CEO of Middle East, India and Africa region at Richemont.
Additional directors include Dee Sarai, CEO of Al-Tayer Insignia, Nisreen Shocair, group chief transformation officer at Beyond One and group CEO for Showcase Luxury Consultancy, and Hanife Ymer, senior vice president and head of environmental, social and governance at Sohar International.
“Achieving world-class governance standards for publicly listed companies and role modeling best practices is one of the primary objectives of my tenure as chair, and I am delighted to lead a high-caliber board with such diverse backgrounds and international expertise, as we prepare for the future,” Amin Magrabi, chair of MAGRABi Retail Group said.
MAGRABi Retail Group, operating across five markets, has outlined a comprehensive strategy aimed at significant expansion and investment. The focal point of their plan involves a clear trajectory to increase the number of Doctor M stores to 300.
This goal is underscored by a significant financial commitment, with a $100 million investment allocated for the group to open 200 stores within the next three years.
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