Middle East / Africa

“Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.”

John Stott, Author, Evangelist, Speaker

Middle East / Africa

The MEA Region is not for the “tepid” Executive – even in the cosmopolitan cities of Alexandria, Casablanca, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, or Tehran.

The Middle East and Africa are very different regions made up of very different countries. While there are similarities across and within both regions, the differences are fantastic. Many people from outside of these regions see the Middle East and Africa (MEA) as very unique regions somewhat on their own in an almost entirely-different world. But there is no denying that most see both regions as critically-important to the world. Typically, people see these regions through the lens of a few cities (e.g. Johannesburg, Dubai, Rabat, Riyadh, Cairo, Jerusalem) that are scattered about very wild, rugged, and radically-different terrains (spanning from arid deserts to tropical jungles) that are narrowly-dispersed and widely populated. But that’s not the Middle East and Africa at all and Maccabeus understands that from the inside-out having worked in the MEA Region for almost 30 years.

The Middle East encompasses Arabia, Asia Minor, East Thrace, Egypt, Iran, Levant, Mesopotamia, and the Socotra Archipelago and is subdivided into eighteen (18) Countries (including Egypt and Iran). The Middle East Region is most known for it’s Petrochemical and Oil and Gas Industry(s), but other top industries include Banking and Finance, IT, Electronics, Communications, Utilities, and Academia Industry(s). Africa is the second-largest and second-most-populated continent in the world. Africa is subdivided into five (5) Regions; including North Africa (consisting of ten (10) Countries), East Africa (consisting of twenty-three (23) Countries), Central Africa (consisting of nine (9) Countries), West Africa (consisting of seventeen (17) Countries), and Southern Africa (consisting of five (5) Countries). The African Region includes top industries like AutoMobility, Petrochemicals, Oil and Gas, IT, Agriculture and Agro-Processing, Manufacturing, Electronics, Tourism, and Textiles Industry(s). Recruiting to Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very different than recruiting to Cape Town in South Africa. It is critically-important for Executives considering roles in one of the Cities, Countries, and/or Regions to understand the cultural differences. And it’s even more critical for the Executive Recruiting Firm to get this “right” from the beginning (to avoid hiring “misfires”, search “re-do’s”, etc.).

Maccabeus has been working in the Middle East and Africa for over thirty (30) years for both domestic and international Clients and Companies. For example, Maccabeus has recruited both local and international Executives into Clients like Abdul Latif Jameel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Al-Futtaim Group in the United Arab Emirates, the Volvo Group in South Africa, the Volkswagen Group in Sub-Saharan Africa – just to name a few.

Culture, Culture, Culture

Realtors and related real estate investors will regularly talk about the most important decision for making an real estate investment is “location, location, location”. At Maccabeus, we say Executive recruiting comes down to three (3) words, as well – “culture, culture, culture”. Specifically, the culture of the Company (or the Client), the Executive, and the City, Country, Region, etc.

Recruiting, while common in many ways, varies greatly by City, Country, Region, etc.

While it’s true that corporate vs. individual cultural fit is very important, what often gets missed is the “regional cultural fit”. It’s important to remember how widely-dispersed the MEA populations can be – as well as the legacy and Genesis of each Country’s Cities, Regions, etc. Anyone who’s lived and/or worked in the Middle East and/or Africa understands full-well how hard-working, tough, and loyal the people in both countries can be. The MEA Region is not for the “tepid” Executive – even in the cosmopolitan cities of Alexandria, Casablanca, Doha, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, or Tehran.

At Maccabeus, we understand the MEA Regional differences (for Cities and Countries) and how to apply those unique qualities across the cultural aspects of both Companies (Clients) and Executives (and their Families). We have recruited to just about all kinds of geographically-different Regions from very rural, low-population areas to densely-populated city centers and surrounding suburbs. We know the differences across the MEA Region (both regionally and from an industry perspective) not just from an Executive Recruitment Firm’s perspective, but also as Executives who have considered relocations and/or new career challenges directly for ourselves and our Families. While we have counseled hundreds of Executives to not take an opportunity based on their concerns around cultural differences (based on location and/or the company), our Partners and Staff have also declined offers ourselves as Industry Executives – opportunities that just weren’t the right “fit” for either ourselves and/or our Families. We get it.

Finding the right Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. To get to know the companies, clients, Executives, Families, etc. behind the search project. Maccabeus is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing Executives across a diverse landscape of industries and locations.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.

The Middle East has 18 Countries and is most known for it’s Petrochemical and O&G Industry(s), but other top industries include Banking and Finance, IT, Electronics, Communications, Utilities, and Academia. Africa has 5 Regions encompassing 64 Countries; and top industries like AutoMobility, Petrochemicals, Oil and Gas, IT, Agriculture and Agro-Processing, Manufacturing, Electronics, Tourism, and Textiles.


To be a servant of Christ is to be truly free.

St. Agatha

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