Last updated: January 10, 2013 10:02 am

Honours for servants of Gulf industry

Four Gulf-based British businessmen were honoured in Queen Elizabeth II’s new year’s list.

Two of the most senior expatriates in the UAE received MBEs for their service to industry, the British community and charitable work.

David Spearing, a retired engineer, arrived in the UAE in 1968, when the region was still a British protectorate. “Originally I came out for three months to help someone out until they found a permanent replacement,” he says. “Now, nearly 45 years later, here I am.”

With stints in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London, Mr Spearing has been based permanently in the capital since 1979, where he has become a pillar of the British expatriate community.

The consultant engineer had a role in the construction of many buildings of that period, including the Al Ain Hilton and St Andrew’s church.

He helped found the local British business group in 1983; was the longest serving warden at the UK embassy; and for two decades has sat on the civil engineering committee at the higher colleges of technology.

Since 2005, he has run the Oxford and Cambridge alumni society. Having his own engineering consultancy has also allowed Mr Spearing to travel annually to the tennis tournament at Wimbledon, where this year will be his 40th as a steward.

“By chance I got the opportunity in 1974, and I realised that this was an excuse to make sure I got a break and came back and make sure I wasn’t full time in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.”

Another long-term resident, Nick Cochrane-Dyet, also received an MBE, for services to industry and charitable work.

A special adviser to BP, Mr Cochrane-Dyet’s ties to the capital also extend back to pre-independence, when his father served with the Trucial Scouts, a British military force.

Moving to Abu Dhabi after school in 1975, Mr Cochrane-Dyet then pursued his own military training at Sandhurst and served with the Gurkhas for five years, before returning as Citigroup’s representative.

He is now better known as BP’s man in the capital, having served the British oil major since 1990.

BP last year was excluded from pre-qualification for the extension of Abu Dhabi’s 75-year-old oil concessions. The move came amid a rise in tensions with the UK and UAE over regional politics.

A flurry of diplomacy appears to have smoothed out the issue, however, with BP now back in the running for the renewal, which is expected in 2014.

Jeffrey Larkin, director of power and water in the Middle East for Parsons Brinckerhoff, received an OBE for services to reconstruction in Iraq.

In Bahrain, Philip Bowell, the former chief executive of Bahrain Airport Services received an MBE for services to British industry and the community in Bahrain.


Back in the world of corporate moves, Kuwaiti telecommunications giant Zain has appointed Hani El Kukhun as chief operating officer.

A graduate of Notre Dame in the US, Mr Kukhun has also worked for Xerox and Cisco in the Middle East during his 17 years’ experience in the industry.

Sheikha Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa has been named as the new chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Bahrain.

Replacing Ebrahim Zainal, the pioneering lawyer has been appointed to a four-year term at the branch of the global body with thousands of member companies across 120 countries that was formed in the aftermath of the first world war to foster global economic growth

Bahrain’s first female ambassador, Sheikha Haya was also one of the first female lawyers to practise in Bahrain. She is chair of ICC Bahrain’s lawyers’ committee and represented Bahrain at the ICC’s International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

Mondelez International, the snack company formerly known as Kraft Foods, has appointed James Cordahi as director of government relations in the Middle East and Africa. The former journalist and communications executive joins from BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion, where he was director of government relations in the Middle East and north Africa. Renamed Mondelez since the spin-off last year of Kraft’s North American grocery operations, the company distributes brands such as Cadbury chocolates and Tang powdered beverages.

People on the Move is a column by the FT Middle East team. Contributions can be sent to

This article has been changed to reflect the new corporate identity of Mondelez International.

Related Topics

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.