The Makhzoumi family setup the Rami Fouad Makhzoumi Chair in Corporate Governance at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon
The American University of Beirut (AUB) held a seminar on the evening of October 31, 2011 to inaugurate the Rami Fouad Makhzoumi Chair in Corporate Governance at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
The ceremony, entitled “From Family to Public Governance: Lessons from the Arab Spring,” started with speeches by OSB Dean George K. Najjar and AUB President Peter Dorman who highlighted OSB’s preparedness and suitability to absorb and excel in the timely development of corporate governance in the region.
Although still a relatively new concept in the Middle East, corporate governance is rapidly being imposed in large, public companies, by market authorities in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Globally, there has been renewed interest in the corporate governance practices of modern corporations since 2001. According to Assem Safieddine, director of the corporate governance program in OSB and professor of finance at AUB, “due to rising regional and international market pressures, the years to come are expected to bring along a surge in companies wishing to draw their practices and mechanisms nearer to the best practices.” He added, “in the region, and specifically amidst the financial crisis, companies face an urgent need to regain investors’, shareholders’, and creditors’ confidence. Corporate governance in all its components emerges as a key pillar in rebuilding trust.”
The Rami Fouad Makhzoumi Chair was endowed by Fouad Makhzoumi and his wife, May Naamani, in memory of their son, Rami Makhzoumi, who passed away at the age of 33 in April, 2011. As an entrepreneur in the business world, Rami was known for having prioritized ethics, such as accountability and governance in his work. In his speech at the ceremony, Fouad Makhzoumi said that “Rami flourished with responsibility, bringing passion, vision, ambition and great humanity to his administration.”
Fouad Makhzoumi has since 1988 been an active donor to AUB where his wife got her degree in pharmacy in 1975. Founder of two charitable and humanitarian foundations, The Future Millennium Foundation in the United States and The Makhzoumi Foundation in Lebanon, Makhzoumi the father is a firm believer in free education for all. He is the executive chairman and chief executive officer of Future Pipe Group “FPI”, a conglomerate with specialized subsidiaries throughout the world. Mr. Makhzoumi said that he was “immediately taken by the idea of setting up a Chair in Corporate Governance” and expressed his “trust that this chair will serve to promote and develop Rami’s beliefs” and leadership “principles of listening, selfishness for selflessness, and clarity of goals.” In addition to overseeing the realization of this vision into best ethical practices, the Chair will supervise the publishing of a book which commemorates Rami Makhzoumi’s vision and outlook.
Like his father, Rami Makhzoumi strongly believed in justice and equality and the rehabilitation of the Lebanese youth nationally, civically, and professionally. He played a key role in developing governance practices at his family business. “He had a vision and a forward-looking strategy to build a better and a more efficient world,” according to his mother, May Naamani who is a 1975 AUB graduate, a life member of the President’s Club, and is on the Club’s administrative board.
Chief Economist of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Executive Director of Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, and the driving force behind the idea of setting up a Chair in Corporate Governance, former Minister Nasser Saidi, presented a keynote speech that highlighted the importance of the establishment of the Rami Fouad Makhzoumi Chair in Corporate Governance within AUB as a support to the governance movement in the region where there is a marked shortage of corporate governance research as well as a need for building institutions. At a time when corporate governance is starting to take root in the region but is faced with key challenges, Saidi asserted that “we need to strengthen transparency, disclosure, and accountability, which have proved to be the highest virtues in governance.” Read Saidi’s full speech
With confidence that the Makhzoumi Chair at AUB will be devoted to promoting those virtues and so that Rami’s legacy may continue, the Makhzoumis decided to endow a chair in his name at AUB which, in Fouad Makhzoumi’s words, is “certainly the most appropriate house to welcome the chair.” AUB has many scholars who are considered major contributors to this field and is the premier institution to establish a corporate governance program in the Middle East.
As early as 2005, at the launch of its corporate governance program, AUB had declared that “corporate governance is simply at the heart of business leadership,” as in the words of OSB Dean George Najjar.
Fouad Makhzoumi’s speech video[Link to external website – YouTube]
Fouad Makhzoumi’s speech transcript[PDF 161KB]
Dr. Nasser Saidi’s speech video[Link to external website – YouTube]
Dr. Nasser Saidi’s speech transcript[PDF 219KB]
Peter Dorman’s speech video[Link to external website – YouTube]
Steven Sonsino’s speech video[Link to external website – YouTube]
AUB Press Release[Link to external website – AUB]
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