Our people's local knowledge helps us better understand the markets in which we operate. The team comprises more than 170 investment and operating professionals, all with strong transactional track records and good connections on the ground.
Founder and Group Chief Executive
Arif Naqvi established The Abraaj Group in 2002 and has served as its Group Chief Executive since inception, building it into one of the leading private equity firms in the world. Abraaj is widely recognized as a pioneer of global growth markets private equity with over 20 country offices including 5 regional hubs in Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Nairobi and Singapore. Mr. Naqvi has over three decades of experience of investing in public and private companies and has led the Group’s investment strategy, resulting in some of the most notable private equity transactions across global growth markets over the last decade.
Mr. Naqvi is a Trustee of the Interpol Foundation and is on the Board of the United Nations Global Compact. He is also a Columbia Global Leadership Council member and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
Mr. Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the highest form of recognition given to individual private sector leaders for fostering peace and stability through business, and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, Private Equity International named him as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry.
In 2008, Mr. Naqvi and his family established the Aman Foundation, the largest private social sector enterprise in Pakistan, which supports sustainable development in healthcare, nutrition and education.
Mr. Naqvi is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Ahmed Badreldin is responsible for and oversees The Abraaj Group’s investments in the Middle East and North Africa.
He joined The Abraaj Group in 2008 after eight years at Barclays Capital in London. Previously, he was with the oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
Mr Badreldin graduated in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from the American University in Cairo and holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management in the UK.
He serves as Director of Integrated Diagnostics Holdings, Spinneys, Stanford Marine Group, Viking and OMS, and is a Board Member of Endeavor Egypt.
Carsten Jorgensen is a Partner at The Abraaj Group and heads up the firm's Credit Business, as well as the Real Estate Business. He is also a member of the firm’s Management Executive Committee.
Prior to joining Abraaj, Mr. Jorgensen was the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of LK Advisers, the MITTAL Family Investment office. He was previously the Head of Investments at IKANO Fund Management, owned by the KAMPRAD family.
Mr. Jorgensen started his career in banking in Denmark before moving to London. He holds a Certification in Business-Economics from the International Business College in Denmark.
Huda Al Lawati
Huda Al Lawati is Partner and Chief Investment Officer for the Middle East and North Africa region. She has more than twelve years of experience in private equity and finance.
Ms. Al Lawati joined The Abraaj Group in 2004 and has worked on several transactions at the Group, developing strong experience in deal execution, structuring and execution, portfolio management and exits across several industries including oil and gas, education, F&B, retail, insurance and healthcare. She has been leading the Group’s oil and gas initiatives in addition to the Group’s investments across the GCC including investments in Kudu, Acibadem and Kuwait Energy. She is also responsible for monitoring the Group’s investments across the MENA region, fund portfolio management and reporting. She serves on the Group’s Global Investment Committee.
Ms. Al Lawati started her career in 2001 with Schlumberger in Muscat, Oman, where she managed the fiscal accounts and tax audits of its subsidiaries and branches in Oman. She joined ABQ Zawya in 2003, where she developed and implemented the business plan and strategy for a regionally focused online financial portal.
Ms. Al Lawati is a member of the Young Arab Leaders, serves as a mentor under the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and is a member of the Steering Committee for the MENA Private Equity Association. She sits on several boards and audit committees across the Group's investments.
Ms. Al Lawati holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics (Honors) from Brown University.
Jacob Kholi is a Partner with The Abraaj Group and the regional Chief Investment Officer for Sub‐Saharan Africa. Mr. Kholi is a rotating member of the Firm’s Investment Committee and a member of the Regional Investment Screening Team in Sub‐Saharan Africa.
Mr. Kholi has over 18 years of venture capital and private equity experience, which he gained in West Africa with the CDC Group, Aureos and The Abraaj Group since 1995. Prior to this, Mr. Kholi worked for Shell in Ghana as a Financial and Management Accountant. He has also trained with KPMG in Ghana.
Mr. Kholi holds a MSc. in Finance and Financial Law degree from the University of London, an Executive MBA in International Business from the Paris Graduate School of Management (PGSM) and a BSc. in Administration (Accounting) degree from the University of Ghana Business School. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana.
Miguel Ángel Olea
Miguel Ángel Olea is responsible for the Group's activities in Latin America.
His international experience includes posts as Director of International Finance at Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and as Chief of Staff for the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA). During his time with the MFA, Mr Olea reached the rank of Ambassador and was Deputy Chief Negotiator in the group that negotiated Mexico’s accession to the World Trade Organization. From 1991 to 2001, he was one of the two Managing Partners at OPCAP, a private equity fund for SMCs in Mexico City.
Mr Olea holds Master’s degrees in Engineering Management and in Operations Research, both from Stanford University.
Mustafa Abdel‐Wadood is a Partner and Global Head of Abraaj’s Regional Fund Businesses, responsible for the Firm’s performance in relation to all of its regional Funds. He is a Board Member of The Abraaj Group, a member of the Firm’s Investment Committee, and a member of the Management Executive Committee.
Mr. Abdel‐Wadood joined The Abraaj Group from EFG‐Hermes, where he was Chief Executive Officer for the UAE. Before this, he co‐founded Sigma Capital and served as its Managing Director. Prior to that role, he spent eight years at Orascom Group as Director of Development and Investments.
Mr. Abdel‐Wadood has served on the Boards of several publicly listed and private companies. In 2002, the World Economic Forum named Mr. Abdel‐Wadood a 'Global Leader for Tomorrow' and in 2007 named him a ‘Young Global Leader’. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
He graduated in Business Administration from American University and holds an MBA from Georgetown University.
Narayanan Rajagopalan is Partner and Chief Financial Officer at The Abraaj Group. He joined the firm in 2005 and has held a number of roles at the Group, including Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Risk.
Prior to joining the Group, Mr Rajagopalan worked for more than 15 years at international and regional companies, including Unilever, Inchcape, Cupola and Dubai Holding, where he held roles in financial management, taxation, governance and corporate planning.
Mr Rajagopalan graduated in Commerce from Calcutta University. He is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Omar Lodhi heads Asia for The Abraaj Group, a global growth markets private equity investor with US$9 billion under management.
With over 20 years of investing experience, Mr. Lodhi joined Abraaj in 2005 and has since led the Firm's investments into several underlying businesses spanning a wide variety of sectors including consumer downstream, education, healthcare, industrials and oil & gas services.
Prior to joining Abraaj, Mr. Lodhi spent several years with UBS in both Hong Kong and London. He is based out of Singapore and is a graduate of both the London School of Economics and the Harvard Business School.
Selcuk Yorgancioglu oversees and sits on the Board of the Group’s investments in Turkey and Central Asian markets. He led the acquisition and the exit of four recent Turkish investments, including Acibadem Healthcare.
He joined The Abraaj Group in 2008 from Deutsche Bank, where he was the Chief Executive Officer for the operations in Turkey and before was a Managing Director for the emerging markets investment banking team in London for seven years. Previously, he held senior leadership positions in investment banking with Turkey’s Finansbank Group and ABN AMRO-Rothschilds in Amsterdam and London.
Mr Yorgancioglu graduated in Economics from Istanbul University and holds an MBA in Finance from the University of New Haven.
Sev Vettivetpillai is a Partner at The Abraaj Group and Global Head of Thematic Fund Businesses, responsible for the Group’s Healthcare, Real Estate and Energy Infrastructure investments, as well as leading the efforts on launching new products and strategies.
Mr. Vettivetpillai is one of four permanent members of the Investment Committee responsible for approval of all Abraaj investments across the platform. In addition, he is Chairman of the Abraaj Partners Council and a Member of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Vettivetpillai has more than 20 years of experience within the growth markets private equity arena, with extensive experience in the areas of strategic investment management, fundraising, deal structuring, valuation, due diligence and portfolio management.
Mr. Vettivetpillai was Founder of the Aureos Group, where he held the position of Chief Executive Officer from 2003 until 2012, and Chief Investment Officer from 2001. He led the transaction for the acquisition of Aureos by The Abraaj Group in 2012.
Prior to joining Aureos, Mr. Vettivetpillai was a Senior Investment Executive at CDC Group plc between 1996-2001, after having served three years in CDC’s fund management company in Sri Lanka (Ayojana Fund Management) as an Investment Manager.
Mr. Vettivetpillai is a CFA Charter holder and completed a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, UK.
Tom Speechley is a Partner at The Abraaj Group and Head of Global Markets, responsible for stakeholder engagement, capital raising and investor relations. He is a member of the Group Management Executive Committee and is based in New York where he serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj North America, LLC.
Mr. Speechley joined the Group in 2006 as an Investment Director and since then has been responsible for several investments in a number of countries across growth markets. In addition to overseeing various parts of the Group’s investment activities, Mr. Speechley has sat on the Group Investment Committee and led the expansion of Abraaj into several new growth markets.
Mr. Speechley is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), a member of the Global Board of Junior Achievement (JA Worldwide), an organization which invests in young people to help them develop essential workplace skills, and a senior advisor to Endeavor, an organization dedicated to supporting high impact entrepreneurs across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Mr. Speechley is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the United Kingdom, a global network of people committed to enriching society through ideas and action.
Mr. Speechley has a First Class Honors degree in Law from the University of Sheffield, UK, where he was a Falconer Prizeman.
Wahid Hamid leads the Abraaj Performance Acceleration Group (APAG), which is responsible for the commercial and operational evaluation of new investment opportunities as well as sustainable post-investment value creation alongside the investment teams. The APAG team is central to The Abraaj Group’s active involvement in driving the growth agenda and ensuring scalability of our partner companies. Mr. Hamid is a Board Member of The Abraaj Group, the Chairman of the ParCo Review Committee, a member of the Firm’s Investment Committee, and a member of the Management Executive Committee.
Before joining Abraaj, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development at PepsiCo and a member of the firm’s Executive Management Committee. At PepsiCo, he led close to US$ 5 billion of acquisitions across global growth markets and critical strategy initiatives, including resetting PepsiCo’s strategy in China. He was a Board Member of PepsiCo Americas and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, a US$ 20 billion business segment with operations stretching from Canada to Argentina, and including the Frito-Lay and Quaker brands.
Previously, Mr. Hamid spent 15 years with Boston Consulting Group, where his last role was Senior Partner and Managing Director in New York. During his tenure at BCG, he led the firm’s consumer goods and retail practice across Asia Pacific.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Asia Society and various partner company boards, including Fan Milk International and Network International.
Waqar Siddique is responsible for global risk management, compliance, internal audit and governance across The Abraaj Group. He is a Board Member of Abraaj Holdings, Chairman of the Management Risk and Compliance Committee, and serves on various management committees of the Group, including the Executive Committee.
Mr. Siddique is Chairman of the Board of Directors of K-Electric, a Member of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi and IMD’s Executive Education Advisory Council. He is a Trustee of the Aman Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established by Arif Naqvi, the Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group. He also represents The Abraaj Group on the Boards of a number of companies including as the Chairman of Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Company (JorAMCo) and Stanford Marine Group (SMG).
Mr. Siddique previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Cupola Group which concluded a landmark private equity deal when it acquired Inchcape Plc’s marketing interests in the Middle East. Prior to that role, he worked with the Treasury of Mawarid Holding Company, one of the leading business conglomerates based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and PwC in Pakistan as a Senior Consultant.
Mr. Siddique started his career in 1982 after earning his MBA degree and has developed a specialization in Operations, Risk Management and Governance over the last 30 years.