ADNOC has long been at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s economic growth as it is the main source of its prosperity. It is also one of the country’s largest employers and has played a crucial role in helping nurture Emirati talent over the years.
Since Dr Al Jaber, Minister of State and ADNOC’s chief executive, took the reins of Abu Dhabi’s treasured institution in February this year, he has set about bringing in a new corporate culture that will help ADNOC maintain its competitiveness in the current low oil price environment.
“ADNOC must evolve into a more agile organisation to maintain its competitive edge in today’s global economy. We have taken significant steps to ensure ADNOC enhances its commerciality by becoming more efficient and doing more with less," Al Jaber stated.
The ambitious new strategy being implemented at ADNOC is based on four key pillars that are intended to help drive a cultural shift within the national oil company and make it a more commercially-minded organisation. The pillars holding up the strategy are: Efficiency, Profitability, Performance and People.
To ensure ADNOC can remain competitive it is looking to improve its operational efficiency and optimise its resources all through a commercial lens. ADNOC is aiming to streamline its operations from upstream to downstream in an effort to bring down costs. It is looking at all aspects of its operations, even down to the procurement level.
Underlying the strategy is an attempt to bring in a new corporate regime that will move the company away from an over-bureaucratic system to a more business-orientated model that in turn will make it more effective.
The first step was to revamp the ADNOC leadership which saw a new top executive level introduced under Dr Al Jaber that will be responsible for ensuring the new strategy is implemented across the whole group.
“These new appointments will help enhance our focus on the key pillars of performance, profitability, efficiency and people," said Dr Al Jaber.
The new directors include Abdulaziz Abdulla Alhajri, who had been chief executive of Borouge and is now the head of ADNOC's Refining and Petrochemicals division. Omar Suwaina Al Suwaid, who will lead the Gas Management Directorate, moving from his role as deputy director of Planning and Strategy. The previous CEO of ADCO, Abdul Munim Saif Al Kindy who is now in charge of Exploration, Development and Production. Finally, Abdulla Al Dhaheri, former head of ADNOC Distribution, is now looking after Sales and Marketing.
The new leadership “will play a fundamental role in executing our strategic imperatives of creating a more profitable upstream business and a more valuable downstream business, ensuring more sustainable and economical gas supply, and developing world-class talent," Dr Al Jaber said.
The change in leadership at ADNOC has deliberately been promoted from within its ranks and all of them had proved themselves at running other divisions or projects within the group.
ADNOC has also named new chiefs for six of its 18 operating units with a younger generation of technocratic managers coming in. Saif Ahmed Al Ghafli took over the reins of ADCO, the main onshore oil company. Yasser Saeed Al Mazrouei was named as the new chief of ADMA-OPCO, which runs a large portion of the offshore oil production, with international partners.
With the new leadership in place ADNOC has started a new performance-based approach that will see operating company chiefs account for meeting specific operational and financial targets. They will be accountable against a set of key performance indicators (KPI) and profit and loss statement (P&L) to ensure the efficiency and probability goals are met on a set schedule.
People the core
ADNOC hopes a new corporate culture will help foster young talent and create business-minded leaders for the future.
All the management changes over the last few months were made by advancing people within ADNOC and it was clearly a conscious approach to delivering a progression of ADNOC people.
One of ADNOC’s core strengths has always been the wealth of talent at its disposal and over the years it has been a great incubator of the UAE’s top talent. A large number of the UAE’s top business leaders, both inside and outside ADNOC, have at one point in their employment history worked at the national oil company. Dr Jaber himself worked at GASCO early on in his career.
There is a real desire to develop world-class talent within ADNOC and it is a key reason why so much emphasis has been put on people in the new strategy.
“Nurturing and developing the talent within ADNOC is a fundamental building block of the company’s future growth. ADNOC will promote the best and the brightest employees to develop the next generation of leaders," said Dr Jaber.
He added: “Our people are the past, present and future of ADNOC and our most valuable resource. So we are identifying and bringing along the next generation of the company’s leadership. We have a responsibility to develop ADNOC’s potential from within and to forge a forward-looking organisation underpinned by a performance-led culture.”
There will be a real emphasis on developing UAE nationals at ADNOC who will use best-in-class tools and have a clear path for progression that will foster the right environment to create the next generation of leaders within Abu Dhabi’s national oil company.
Al Jaber said: “To have any success with these goals, we need to continue investing in our people to strengthen their capabilities.”