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ALEC elevates Barry Lewis to CEO

The CEO transition plan has been in place for over four years, during which Lewis played a vital role in enabling ALEC’s ongoing successes

Two major organisational changes have been announced by ALEC Engineering and Contracting (ALEC), a part of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). Barry Lewis has been appointed the firm’s new CEO, while former-CEO, Kez Taylor who led the firm for 22 years, transitions into an advisory position on the board as Non-Executive Director of ALEC.

In his new role, Lewis is tasked with leading ALEC’s ambitious growth strategy, with a focus on diversification into construction-adjacent lines of business, further penetration across the GCC, including into Saudi Arabia, and expansion into new geographies.

In the months ahead, Lewis will focus on overseeing three company-defining initiatives currently in progress — ALEC’s focused expansion into Saudi Arabia; the continued diversification and growth of its business in areas such as modular and data centre solutions; and enhancing activities at TARGET, the recently acquired subsidiary, as a leader in the Energy, Oil & Gas and Marine Industries.

Speaking exclusively to Big Project Middle East, Lewis says that ALEC has been working to create a robust ESG framework that outlines its sustainable principles and objectives, and expects that COP28 will be significant for the UAE in terms of its Net Zero ambitions.

“COP28 is set to be a significant milestone in the UAE’s journey towards achieving its Net Zero target by 2050. We expect that government entities are currently in the process of drafting legislation and regulations that will in all likelihood be unveiled at COP28. Having frameworks in place is of course essential to progress as it mandates the accountability needed to effect tangible change.”

He adds, “At ALEC, we have been working to create a robust ESG framework that clearly outlines our principles and objectives. In line with this, this year, we are set to unveil our first ever sustainability report, providing a comprehensive overview of our commitments to environmental, social and governance topics. In preparing this report, we have aimed to align with industry best practices and standards such as the Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) Standards, Dubai Financial Market’s ESG reporting guidelines, and the United Nations Global Compact’s 10 principles. While we recognise that there is still work to be done, by introducing this annual report, we have set in place the processes to quantify the impact of the sustainability initiatives that we have been implementing.”

Lewis is also quick to point out that his firm recognises that achieving sustainable outcomes calls for collaboration along the supply chain. “Any project has a number of stakeholders who must all be committed to sustainable development principles for an optimal end result. ALEC is championing this change in the industry and working together with developers, designers, sub-contractors, facilities management teams and more, to advance the sector as a whole,” he explains.

Commenting on his short- and long-term goals for the Saudi market, Lewis states, “Our entry into Saudi Arabia is a natural progression for the long-term, sustainable growth of our business. Our strategy therefore isn’t built around capitalising just on the current boom in mega and giga projects. Rather, our short-term goals are developed to serve our long-term ambition of being the leading contractor and provider of construction-adjacent services and solutions to the Kingdom for decades to come.”

Outlining his longer-term strategies, Barry outlined his plans to develop greater synergies between the group’s multiple lines of business to create highly comprehensive and compelling value for clients. He also aims to nurture the company’s culture and make further investments into its people development, innovation and the adoption of digital technologies — three areas which he believes give ALEC the definitive edge when it comes to attracting the industry’s best talent, and delivering some of the most iconic projects in the region.

Lewis is also keen to tackle the challenge of attracting future talent to the built environment. He highlights, “Despite being a pillar of the economy, relative to other industries, the regional construction sector isn’t necessarily perceived to be as appealing to young professionals. The future of the industry hinges on the inflow of fresh, passionate talent who bring with them new skills, and ideas.”

He adds, “Contractors, along with other stakeholders, have a major role to play in making the profession more attractive – whether by compensation, opportunities for growth, working hours, or other means that today’s young professionals most value in their employer.”

ALEC has been on a steady upwards growth trajectory in recent years. The company has recently been awarded major projects including the Wynn Resort Ras Al Khaimah and has achieved a year-to-date growth in revenue of 25%. The current work on hand is at a record level of over $5.4bn. To effectively deliver its impressive pipeline of projects, the company continues to expand its workforce of over 22,000 employees. The CEO transition plan has been in place for over four years, during which Lewis has played a vital role in enabling these successes and will now lead the company through its ‘next golden phase’.

“Under Kez’s leadership, ALEC has firmly established itself as one of the leading players in the region’s construction sector. With Barry Lewis as CEO, ALEC will be led through its next phase of growth, marking a new and significant milestone in ALEC’s journey,” said Khalifa Al Daboos, Deputy CEO at ICD.

“Having worked closely with Kez for over two decades, and having expertly led ALEC’s operations, Barry has proven himself as a highly capable leader with a strong reputation in the industry. As CEO, I am confident that Barry will take the company from strength to strength, maximising ALEC’s value proposition to our clients, and distinguishing the group as the leading provider of world-class construction and related services in the region.”

Lewis concludes, “We firmly believe that it is our people, company values and culture, willingness to embrace technology and push the boundaries of what’s possible, and relentless pursuit of excellence that have earned us a reputation as the industry’s trusted partner in delivering complex mega projects. As clients in the region continue to commission ambitious mega projects, that are establishing the Middle East as the epicentre of global tourism, culture and innovation, ALEC stands ready to turn these visions into reality.”

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