Two announcements recently for C-level positions in the GCC region, showcased how blockchain is helping to fast track appointments up the corporate ladder.

The first announcement was that of The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), the Arab world’s second-largest bourse by market value, who appointed Abdulla Al Nuaimi as its new chief executive. Al Nuaimi had previously held the position of COO at ADX.

In the announcement it stated, “ Al Nuaimi played a key role in the development of the ADX’s trading platform, helping establish the first application of blockchain technology in the UAE’s financial sector.” He will seek to further accelerate the range of products and services at the ADX, the statement added.

His appointment comes at a time of heightened market activity on the ADX. The exchange has experienced a rush of initial public offerings (IPOs) in recent years. Companies that listed on the bourse last year include Borouge, the Abu Dhabi Ports Group, Abu Dhabi healthcare provider Burjeel Holdings and Bayanat, a geospatial data products and services provider owned by artificial intelligence and cloud computing company G42.

Then another C-level announcement was made by Tata Steel for its appointment of Shuja Haque, a 23 year steel industry veteran, as Regional General Manager for the Middle East region. Once again in their announcement they mentioned his role in building and executing the first ever blockchain transaction in the steel industry.

As the press release stated, “ He has contributed tangibly to the detailed mapping of several countries including Saudi Arabia, resulting in the current order book being highly skewed to the Kingdom with some key wins including the Makkah Haram expansion and some of the largest malls, hotels, airports and parks in KSA. He also played a crucial role in executing the first ever Blockchain transaction in the steel industry, a testament to his forward-thinking mindset and approach.”

In his new role he will oversee the Middle East and North Africa business with responsibilities as varied as People’s Health & Safety (EHS), P&L growth, and plant operations. Current Tata Steel projects include a few upcoming museums in the UAE, various airport expansion projects across the GCC and unique projects like Sindalah Island at NEOM in Saudi Arabia.   

These two announcements show how important blockchain and having implemented blockchain projects are in the track to C-level positions.

On the LinkedIn page of Henson Orser, it states that he is the CEO (Chief executive Officer) of Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority better known as VARA as of January 2023. This comes as VARA reveals its final crypto framework in the next few weeks.  Previously Orser had held the position of President and Acting CEO of Komainu and was the Co Head of Global markets for Japanese digital bank Nomura.

As most know, VARA was created in March 2022 to regulate the virtual assets ecosystem and grant blockchain and crypto licenses in Dubai. A graduate of Princeton University, Orser is VARA’s first CEO.  Orser is well versed on digital assets, and custody solutions given his former role at Komainu. It is noteworthy that Komainu is one of the few Blockchain enabled DeFi custodians with a presence in Dubai that has been granted an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) license. The only other one is HEX Trust.

While VARA’s website has yet to note the new appointment, in an interview with the Block crypto, Orser stated, “VARA is the first purely virtual asset regulatory authority that is gold standard, tier one and even passportable to other jurisdictions.” He also notes it is compliant with the crypto regulation published by the Financial Action Task Force.

VARA is currently preparing for its MVP phase to allow for approved licensees to fulfill the pre-conditions required to operate. This means that MVP licensees are not allowed to provide any regulated services until VARA’s operationalization of the MVP Phase.

Orser clarified to LaraontheBlock, ” The provisional license during the MVP phase allows for firms to get office space and apply for VISAs etc. They won’t be able to commence operations until final rules and licensing.” 

Orser told The Block crypto that finalized rulebooks for crypto firms will be published on VARA’s website “within weeks.”

In December 2022, Laraontheblock wrote about an article on Pinsentmasons legal firm website which discussed Dubai VARA’s Full market product regulatory regime for virtual assets upcoming rollout. The legal expert Tom Bicknell stated in the piece that after VARA’s roll out of its minimum viable product license regime which allowed participants to undertake their activities within an agreed limited scope and specifically to their authorized market segment, VARA would soon be launching its FMP framework which will seek to monitor global trends of the virtual industry and where appropriate issue further rules and guidance

VARA had granted Binance, and FTX MVP licenses, however FTX’s license was later suspended and revoked after its downfall.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) was also the first regulator to enter the Metaverse with the establishment of its Metaverse HQ in  ‘The Sandbox’.

Born in the USA and raised in Beirut Lebanon until she was a teenager, Nadine Chakar, a US national of Lebanese origin, later attended university in the US. Her parent are both doctors yet Nadine is a well renowned financial and technology executive and is recognized as one of the most powerful women in finance. She has been a vocal champion for using tech to revolutionize financial services. 

Nadine Chakar will be joining Securrency, a leading developer of institutional-grade, blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology, as Chief Executive Officer effective January 9th, 2023.

Ms. Chakar brings over 30 years of experience in global wealth and asset management to Securrency. Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President and Head of State Street Digital, where she built and led the team that is helping State Street, institutional investors, and regulators successfully navigate the bank’s transition into a modern digital economy. Ms. Chakar also led State Street Global Markets, where she oversaw its trading, product, and operations platform, helping to drive successful client solutions. Prior to State Street, she served as global head of operations for Manulife’s Global Wealth and Asset Management Division and led the Global Asset Servicing teams for BNY Mellon.

In addition to her leadership at State Street Digital, Ms. Chakar has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Securrency since 2021. Her appointment as the CEO of Securrency highlights the growing importance of compliance aware tokenization, interoperability, and institutional DeFi to the future of global finance.

Ms. Chakar’s appointment will allow Dan Doney, Securrency’s founder, who has served as the company’s CEO and lead architect since its inception, to focus on innovation, technology delivery, and commercialization by continuing to serve as the Chief Technology Officer of Securrency. Mr. Doney is recognized as one of the preeminent thought leaders in the blockchain and decentralized finance space. This focus will accelerate the growth of Securrency’s blockchain-enabled financial services infrastructure market share.

Nadine Chakar, incoming CEO of Securrency stated,  “The financial services industry is at a critical tipping point as it tokenizes regulated real-world assets and automates legacy financial processes using the power of blockchain technology. The Securrency team has done a remarkable job of developing the most robust technology on the market. As the new CEO, my priority is to accelerate the commercialization of what is in essence the digital asset intelligence and interoperability foundation for major financial institutions and the global ecosystem. Dan Doney is a true visionary and innovator in the industry, and I look forward to working closely with him and the team to create the global digital assets marketplaces of the future.”

Jonathan Steinberg, CEO of WisdomTree, said: “The future of finance relies on regulation-forward and compliance-driven digital development and Nadine has long been a driver of this evolution. Working with Nadine as a client and industry leader, I have witnessed not only her tremendous expertise in the integration of RegTech and digital assets, but her steadfast belief that Securrency’s technology will pave the way for institutional DeFi. I congratulate Nadine, Dan, and the entire Securrency team on this bold move for the company.”

It is noteworthy that Securrency Capital, a blockchain-enabled brokerage that empowers global financial access received a license to operate in ADGM Abu Dhabi UAE in 2022. Securrency Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Securrency, Inc., a US-based global financial markets infrastructure technology company. Securrency Capital is a full-service regulated institutional DeFi brokerage firm that offers both traditional and digital financial services to retail and institutional clients via a single, accessible marketplace.