2019 CEO Outlook - Henadi Al-Saleh, Agility - KPMG | PE
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Agility, which has grown from a warehouse provider in Kuwait to one of the world’s largest integrated logistics providers, personifies what it takes to be resilient – driving accelerated growth and innovation while remaining true to its core.

For Henadi Al-Saleh, Chairperson, resilience is important for two reasons. First, it has allowed the company to navigate the risks that come with accelerated growth. Second, it has allowed Agility to prosper in a disrupted environment, with significant change and uncertainty in both the technology and global economic environment.

Al-Saleh traces the company’s resilience down to a number of factors, with leadership and culture particularly influential. “In order to be resilient, a company has to have the right leadership with the right mindset,” she says. “And, most of all, to build the right culture, with the people and the organization structure to support that culture.”

Critical to that culture is a set of core values that provides stability and continuity in an environment where so much is changing. “Even if you are growing fast, you still need to be true to your core values and ensure people stick to that,” she explains. “Core values today – and at all times – matter the most. They matter the most not simply for the organization, but, at the end of the day, for your customers.”

While it has a strong, stable core united around intrinsic values, Agility is also on the front-foot when it comes to being agile and driving innovation and change. For Al-Saleh, finding inspiration is critical to challenging established thinking and seeking new ideas. “In order to be agile, I think it's also important to find an inspiration,” she says. “The way we do it is we invest in various startups. We also look to their leadership and their co-founders to inspire us. We look at the way they grow and the way they tackle their value proposition, customer acquisition and customer journey. That provides key insights for us as a multi-national and big organization as we look for inspiration.”

To be resilient in the face of further change, and to drive its growth agenda, Agility is firmly focused on its talent agenda. The company is putting significant effort into both internal training and new hires. “We train internally because it's very important to take care of our own people and to make sure they stay relevant,” says Al-Saleh. “At the same time, it’s also important to invest in and acquire new talent.” 

And, at a personal level, Al-Saleh believes that resilient, successful leaders need to be humble and true to their core values. “In order for me to stay not just resilient but also relevant, it's important for me to stay humble and keep things down to core values and basics.”

Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.

Henadi Al-Saleh