Ali Al-Khalifa: Reforming the Art of Leadership

By avidly exhibiting the determination to redefine the project management ecosystem, possession of reformative, liberal and compassionate leadership qualities, and efficient management capabilities, Ali Al- Khalifa has been recognized as one of the most profound and influential personalities in the League of Extraordinary CEOs.

Ali Al-Khalifa is a prominent executive at the forefront of the project management business in the Middle East. He has an evident track record, being the CEO at ASTAD, where he has led the delivery of complex mega-projects with international partners across a broad range of sectors. He has developed ASTAD’s dynamic and visionary approach to corporate management, which has resulted in the company becoming one of the largest project management consultancies in the region.

Ali studied mechanical engineering in the United States, followed by an MBA, before embarking on a career spanning almost two decades working in Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia and China. In 2017 he ranked number one in Construction Week Magazine’s annual Power 100 list.

Establishing Benchmarks 

Founded in 2008, ASTAD provides consultancy in project and asset management, encompassing the design and construction of building and infrastructure projects. It manages all details every step of the way from project conception, through to the completion and ongoing management.

ASTAD’s teams work across a myriad of sectors from universities and world cup stadiums, to transportation systems and even entire cities. No matter the size or complexity of a project, the organization aims to ensure that it is delivered on time and within budget.

“We always aim to deliver projects to the highest quality, while maintaining the overall efficiency from initiation to completion. This approach ensures a stable operation, and strikes the perfect balance between time and quality,” states Ali.

ASTAD establishes priorities and coordinates activities with all stakeholders to ensure that projects are delivered safely and to the highest international standards, working closely with its clients along the way, turning their vision into reality.

Possessing Distinctive Proficiency 

In Qatar, ASTAD’s local expertise gives it the competitive edge. It is well versed with the processes, systems, culture and traditions, being a Qatari company. Over the years this has helped the organization successfully delivery mega projects in Qatar, and these mega projects in its portfolio have prepared it for any type of project in a large spectrum of sectors.

ASTAD was one of the first local project management consultancies in Qatar and thus did not have a great deal of local competition. However, many international firms were and are in Qatar, with years of international experience behind them, so the company knew that it had to establish a highly skilled team from all parts of the world, and it accomplished the same. The organization’s international team coupled with its local expertise pushed it through and clients began recognizing its attention to detail and quality, throughout the development of projects and programs.

ASTAD currently has more than 800 employees from 62 nationalities and also has extensive experience in sectors such as sports, transportation, residential, education, hospitality, infrastructure, culture, and commercial. The company has delivered over 250 projects and holds over a decade of experience within this industry locally and internationally.

ASTAD holds a proportionate blend of skills and a deep understanding of Qatar’s construction industry in terms of what the authorities need, what might be acceptable, and what will not work in Qatar. It fully understands contractors and collaborates with them accordingly.

“Oil is a major source of income for Qatar, and the citizens seek to invest this resource in the most efficient way possible to guarantee the future generations’ wellbeing,” Ali expresses. Pertaining to this, he advises that all parties in a construction project need to fully understand how a project fits into the future of the country, adding value and reducing risks.

Envisioning a Global Ascension 

ASTAD recently completed a five-year business strategy and identified strategic partnerships as the way forward with operations abroad. It has signed an agreement with a theme park consultancy firm in the US and has done the same with several real estate and construction stakeholders in Korea, Oman, Kuwait, Tunisia, France, Turkey, and the UK as well as in Russia, which will allow it to penetrate new markets.

As ASTAD grows internationally, it wants to strengthen its collaboration with the existing market operators that share the same values. It is investing a lot of time in research and market analysis before collaborating with firms worldwide. The company currently has offices and projects in Oman, Kuwait, UK, Albania, Sudan, Somalia and Burkina Faso. It helps suitable and carefully selected international partners enter the Qatari market, which has led it to work with leading firms that have worked with the likes of Disney on projects in Qatar.

To date, ASTAD has acquired several major projects in more than 6 countries which will keep it engaged in the upcoming year. It has been the organization’s goal to enter the transportation sector over the last few years and currently, ASTAD is involved with all rail-related projects in Qatar.

ASTAD aims to work in rail projects in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and across the Silk Road. Additionally, it looks forward to accomplishing more projects in the aviation sector. It sees aviation as a strategic sector for its business and, pertaining to this, Africa is a region with huge potential, while keeping in mind that infrastructure will remain its core business. Regionally, Oman and Qatar also present great business opportunities to ASTAD’s progress graph.

Source: The League of Extraordinary CEOs

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