Ramez T. Shehadi (Dubai)
Ramez T. Shehadi is an internationally seasoned transformational leader, an industry and technology strategist, thought leader, venture capitalist, and community builder. He is at the growth helm of a global proximity- and quick-commerce giant, and over the years, has started, scaled, and led regional and global lines of business and cross-industry portfolios for several top-tier consulting firms and among the largest digital innovation and social media platforms. He has advised leading public and private sector institutions on topics ranging from digital strategy to technology-driven socio-economic growth and the digital economy at large, sectoral digitization, and next-generation smart services, systems, and infrastructure. Ramez has also built and led social responsibility and diversity programs and actively participates in community leadership initiatives with the aim to deliver positive change on essential themes such as empowerment of women, environmental preservation, and social entrepreneurship, among various other socio-economic issues. A sought-after voice at regional and international conferences and forums, he has been written about, quoted, and interviewed extensively in global media in relation to his expertise, including Christopher Schroeder’s “Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East” in 2013 and more recently in 2020, in Amir Hegazi’s (best-selling author of “Start-up Arabia”) deep analysis of global leaders influencing the digital landscape in “Ecosystem Arabia.” In 2021, Gulf Business ranked Ramez among the region’s “Game-Changers: Top 10 Tech Execs Across MENA”. In 2020, Forbes ranked Ramez among the top 20 of the ‘Top 50 Regional Executives Heading International Companies, while Gulf News ranked Ramez among the ‘Top 10 Tech Executives in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Region’, building on Forbes 2019 ranking of Ramez among the ‘Top 30 Business Executives’.
Today, Ramez serves as President and Global Chief Growth Officer of REEF, a Mubadala– and SoftBank-backed Miami-based technology platform transforming urban spaces into community hubs that bring relevant goods, services, and experiences across industry sectors (food, retail, grocery, health, wellness, energy, etc.) to local neighborhoods everywhere. He leads the global commercial expansion and growth of REEF, harnessing ‘proximity as a service’ and prioritizing personalization, convenience, and speed.
Ramez was formerly Managing Director of Facebook (now Meta) for the MENA region, leading all services and platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Workplace, Oculus, etc.) to drive and magnify a mobile-first philosophy while ensuring that the hundreds of millions of people, businesses and groups on the platforms are able to build meaningful and viable social and commercial communities; Senior Partner and Managing Director of Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading business and technology strategy consultancy, where he was tasked with driving the international expansion of the firm’s general management and strategy consulting services portfolio for public and private sector clients across all major industry verticals; Lead Partner, MENA Digital Practice Leader and Global Booz Digital Co-Leader at Booz & Company (now Strategy&), a leading business and technology strategy consultancy; Senior Director of Product Development at eBreviate, an early e-sourcing solutions unicorn in San Francisco; Senior Associate in the Strategic IT Practice at A.T.Kearney (now Kearney), a leading business and technology strategy consultancy; Research Associate at the Centre for Management of Technology & Entrepreneurship, a leading operations think-tank housed within the University of Toronto; Mechanical Engineer at Stone & Webster, a leading engineering consultancy; Co-Founder of R&R Ventures, a boutique venture capital firm focused on US and MENA digital innovation investment.
Ramez is a former Board of Directors Member of Aramex, a publicly-traded global logistics provider, where he also served as Chairman of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee; a current Advisory Board Member of Gro Intelligence, a New York-based AI company that has created the world’s most extensive data platform to tackle food security and climate change globally; a current Board of Trustees Member of BeMA (Beirut Museum of Art), the leading multidisciplinary platform dedicated to Levantine art and culture, where he also serves as the Chairman of the Communication Committee; a current Global Board of Directors Member of Equality Now, a New York-based global NGO that advocates for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world; a current Jury Board Member of the TAKREEM Foundation, a global philanthropic institution aimed at honoring Arab cultural, educational, and socio-economic accomplishments and bringing Arab achievers to the global stage; a current and Founding Member of Middle East Diversity & Inclusion Council, an NGO aimed at rallying like-minded organisations across the Middle East region to advance inclusion and diversity within the workplace by working together and committing to change; a former Advisory Board Member of the Stony Brook School, a college preparatory boarding school in New York where he graduated Cum Laude; a former Board of Directors Member of MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) in MENA, a global trade association dedicated to enlightening, empowering and enabling marketers while propelling business growth; a former Board of Directors Member of Young Arab Leaders, a regional NGO with the mission to catalyse the entrepreneurial and professional development of Arab youth and prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow; a current Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Network, organizations aimed at bringing transformational leaders together to address challenges and needs in businesses, communities and societies at large and serves as a Moderator to both; and an active Member of YPO (Young Presidents Organization) in both the Emirates and Lebanon chapters.
Ramez is an avid sailor and an 8m class amateur medalist in the 1997 and 1998 North American Championships and the 1999 World Championships. In 2018, he completed a 30-day 500km hiking expedition from the southern tip to the northern tip of Lebanon while charitably raising funds for nature preservation.
Ramez holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University and an M.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto and has invested in continuing education programs at Oxford, INSEAD and the University of St. Gallen.
Ramez and his wife, Dr. Nada Afeiche, are blessed with four children (between the ages of 9 and 18) and a dog.