Feb 25, 2021

People Moves EMEA: Blackstone, HSBC, Bain, Huawei

Kate Birch
4 min
From senior sustainability hires at three firms, to internal promotions at two, here’s Business Chief’s weekly round-up of big executive moves in EMEA
From senior sustainability hires at three firms, to internal promotions at two, here’s Business Chief’s weekly round-up of big executive moves in EM...

In a week where a trio of top executives at HSBC were transferred from London to Hong Kong, to head up the APAC region, there has been plenty of C-suite movements within and to the EMEA region. 

While Bain & Company has strengthened its Financial Services consulting team in London with four senior hires, three financial firms – Blackstone, HSBC and Capitals Partners – have appointed senior sustainability/ESG roles, and Huawei has hired its first-ever CEO for Jordan and Lebanon. 

Here is Business Chief’s weekly round-up of the big executive moves in EMEA.

Iain Conn joins Blackstone to lead sustainability investment

Former chief executive of energy firm Centrica Iain Conn has joined one of the world’s leading investment firms Blackstone as a senior advisor for energy and sustainability investing. 

Having spent nearly three decades with oil and gas firm BP, most recently as CEO Downstream, and having advised governments on energy and climate policy, Conn “will invaluable as we invest in infrastructure that supports the energy transition toward more sustainable, decarbonised future”, states Sean Klimczak, Global Head of Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. 

Conn brings 34 years of executive experience in the energy sector to this role where he will be advising the firm’s infrastructure and energy businesses. 


Climate change leader Dr Celine Herweijer snapped up by HSBC

Climate scientist and NASA Fellow, Dr Celine Herweijer, is set to join HSBC Holdings plc in July as the bank’s first-ever chief sustainability officer. 

Having been at the forefront of PwC’s global work on sustainability and climate change for over a decade, where she was a partner advising corporate boards industry-wide on net zero and sustainable business transformation, Herweijer’s expertise makes “her the ideal candicate to accelerate our progress as we work to deliver our ambitious net zero strategy”, says Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive

Following HSBC’s ambitious commitments to climate risk and sustainability, Herweijer will be tasked with leading the Bank’s climate innovation agenda, including further establishing the bank’s global leadership on climate change. 


Diversity pioneer Nishma Gosrani OBE joins Bain as partner

With 17 years of Big Four consulting experience in designing and deploying strategic human capital initiatives under her belt, most recently at Deloitte as Director in Financial Services consulting, Nishma Gosrani OBE has joined Bain & Company’s European Financial Services team in London as an expert partner. 

Passionate about diversity, Gosrani secured an OBE in Her Majesty’s 2020 New Years Honours List for services to Diversity and Inclusion and for pioneering gender pay gap reporting and subsequent changes to the Equality Act and was listed in the Financial Times’ Top 35 Future Leader List. 

Her extensive expertise across all areas of human capital transformation, future of work, workforce strategies, capital markets and asset management will support Bain’s priority in helping clients “achieve lasting and impactful results”, says Justin Snyder, head of Bain’s UK Financial Services practice. 

Kristen Eshak Weldon joins Partners Capital as ESG head

Kristen Eshak Weldon has taken up a brand-new role, Global head of ESG and Impact Investing, at asset managers Partners Capital

Having been responsible for steering Louis Dreyfus Company’s sustainability-focused investment activities, including leading the launch of the firm’s investment fund management group, Kristen has been brought on board to further integrate ESG considerations into the firm’s decision-making and lead targeted engagements with asset managers to ensure they full incorporate ESG drivers into their investment decision. 

With ESG and Impact Investment continuing to grow fast in the years ahead, Kristen’s role will be key in “ensuring Partners Capital’s clients benefit from this historic mega-trend, while contributing to improving our world”, says Sir Ronald Cohen, Chiarman of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment. 

Amine Bel Hadj Soulami becomes Head of BNP Paribas, ME & Africa

Having held a 32-year strong career at BNP Paribas, with executive positions in Paris, New York, London and Toyko, Amine Bel Hadj Soulami has been appointed as Head of BNP Paribas, Middle East & Africa (MEA), and will be located in Bahrain. 

Three decades of banking experience and a track record of accomplishment in global markets and sustainable finance makes Soulami “perfectly suited to uphold our status as a leading banking the Middle East and Africa” and he will bring “the full spectrum of our expertise in energy transition to the region”, says Yannick Jung, Head of Global Banking for EMEA

In his new role at BNP Paribas, which is one of the leading foreign banks in the MEA region, operating there for 45 years, Soulami will oversee seven geographies and more than 600 staff. 


Jian Wang named new Huawei CEO for Jordan and Lebanon

Huawei veteran Jian Wang has been internally promoted to CEO for Jordan and Lebanon. Having worked for Huawei since 2007, and with a number of leadership roles under his belt, including as Director of the Huawei China Unicorn Accounts Department, Wang is now set to lead Huawei’s expansion in Jordan and Lebanon. 

Having “achieved great success over his long tenure at Huawei”, says Huawei President Middle East, Charles Yang, and having “proved his competence in leading employees and completing projects with the utmost sincerity and dedication”, Wang is now responsible for providing industry-leading solutions to the telecommunications carriers and enterprises and contributing to the development of the two countries’ ICT industry. 

Share article

Jun 20, 2021

5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 min
As the world embraces Men’s Health Week, five experts advise how leaders can create a healthy workplace culture for employees

This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.


Know the early signs of burnout 

Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels. 

Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”

“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.Karen suggests.


Encourage professional self-reflection 

Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor


Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.


Manage your stress and resilience too

As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.


“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.” 


“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.


Instil a sense of purpose for your team

The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni. 


“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand. 


Promote well-being from the top down

Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.


‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company. 


A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever. 


Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’

Share article