Evolving for a More Promising Tomorrow
In April 2018, Hasan Al Jabri was appointed CEO of SEDCO Holding Group after being a pivotal member, occupying other important managerial positions throughout his 10-year period of service in the SEDCO Group. With over 30 years of banking experience in his pocket, Al Jabri discovered his passion for Islamic banking, financial inclusion, financial literacy, and responsible investing early on. Being an agricultural engineer initially, his career transitioned when the agricultural industry boomed and banks were interested in investing in that sector, hence teaming up with engineers and exchanging knowledge and benefits.
Multiple crashes in the stock market, with the last financial crisis dating back to 2008, were alarming. In the past, many banks put money into Collateral Debt Obligation (CDO) – investments backed by a pool of debt and built on excessive leverage. CDOs were an integral reason behind the plummeting of the market.
The Shari’ah-compliant system emerged as a more stable and meaningful financial alternative. Pillared by responsible, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), emphasizing overall added value, long-term sustainability, and ethical impact, it engines the heart of SEDCO Holding. Delivering more than 40 years of excellence in investment management, SEDCO continues to demonstrate resilience, prosperity, and a readiness for evolution.
Focus 2025 is SEDCO’s new business strategy that concentrates on sector-specific investments. Sectors of interest are those targeted by Vision 2030, including healthcare, education and hospitality. Clustered companies within a sector will create depth and integrated value chains. This approach will allow SEDCO to become a leading expert and global competitor in its focused fields of investment.
The past period witnessed the launch of several exciting projects. In terms of hospitality, Elaf group deepened its imprint, annexing Hotel Elaf Galleria in Jeddah, and renovating Hotel Elaf Grand Al Majeedi with views of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. The launch of Red Sea Mall’s cinema expansion was one-of-a-kind on a regional level, and prompted 25 percent increase in footfall. Tarfeeh restaurants, Applebee’s and Ocean Basket, gained strong marketplace thanks to new repositioning; while Auto World focused on fleet leasing for large corporate and government entities. In Education, two new campuses for Yusr International School in Jeddah are intended to cater to 4,000 students, doubling current capacity.
Reflecting SEDCO’s high standards in corporate governance, we regularly strengthen our processes and procedures and enhance the relationship between the holding company and operating companies through establishing committees and sharing services. We also created a new corporate governance function in SEDCO Holding assigned to help guide various processes.
All group companies are currently focusing on digital transformation to improve productivity and enhance transparency. We have formed a new Digital Transformation Committee and already have two initiatives up and running. We are including digital transformation in our training programs and to date we have had two session, one on monetization and the other on digital transformation trends.
Riyali, SEDCO’s financial literacy CSR program, has been growing exponentially since its inception in 2012 and managed to achieve great successes and establish strong strategic partnerships with multiple entities. In 2019, Riyali continued its strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education and SABB Bank. Total number of trained students exceeded 1.2 million through direct training in schools as well as online training, reaching 16 cities across the Kingdom through more than 5,000 ambassadors.
Giving back to the community has always been a culture embedded in the organization’s value set. We have mandated around 20 volunteering hours for employees, and that has a 5% weight in their annual Key Performance Indices. During 2019, we achieved 2,423 volunteering. We take this very seriously, where we design initiatives, mandate them, and hold people accountable for them.
On a final note, I thank all employees for their dedication and hard work during the past year, which saw SEDCO, certified as a Great Place to Work, and encourage everyone to embrace this new era as we prepare to move forward into the next decade. Times are changing and the competition is tough, but with a clear strategy set in place we need to reinforce our team spirit and be one step ahead of the game. Anything new is challenging at first, but there is nothing that we cannot handle working together in the spirit of evolving for a more promising tomorrow.