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Khalifa Al Mubarak

UAE, ABU DHABI - Economy

Innovating the Way Forward

Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Mubadala Investment Company


Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak is Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Mubadala Investment Company, responsible for ensuring that the business strategy is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification efforts. He is a member of the company’s Board Executive Committee and is Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority (EAA), which provides strategic policy advice to the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, of which he is also a member. In addition, he is a member of the UAE Supreme Petroleum Council of the government of Abu Dhabi. Al Mubarak’s other board positions include Chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), and Manchester City Football Club. He is also a member of the New York University Board of Trustees. He holds a degree in economics and finance from Tufts University, US.

TBY talks to Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Mubadala Investment Company, on the company's diversification strategy, its technology investments, and its focus on innovation.

How has Mubadala Investment Company benefited from its merger thus far?

Mubadala Development Company and IPIC were extremely successful companies in their own right, even before they joined forces. This was a merger of equals that has created a global investment powerhouse, providing increased scale and global reach to pursue a bold new strategy. Looking back at the merger, this has been one of the smoothest and most productive processes I have been involved in. Moreover, as the largest corporate merger in the history of the UAE, the synergies we have been able to realize and opportunities we can unlock have been sizable. Take our petroleum and petrochemicals platform, in which we hold world-leading positions across the value chain of the sector. Since the merger, we have set out a clear strategy to pursue investments that help us realize opportunities, especially in the strategically important downstream sector. For example, Nova Chemicals’ USD2.1 billion acquisition of one of the largest petrochemical facilities in the US, based in Geismar, Louisiana, will support the company as it embarks on its ambitious growth strategy. Mubadala Investment Company now can benefit from a stronger, more dynamic balance sheet and world-class expertise in industries vital to Abu Dhabi’s growth. As a result, we are even better positioned to deliver against our mandate and generate attractive financial returns for our shareholder. In doing so, we can continue to contribute to the ongoing diversification of the economy, in line with the Abu Dhabi Plan and the country’s long-term vision.

Mubadala Investment Company recently moved into a range of technology-related fields. What are the benefits of investing in industries that are heavily disrupted by innovation?

We have been involved in developing innovative technology companies since our inception, and our recent capital deployments in the sector are an extension of our strategy, rather than something new. Take the partnerships we have forged with world-leading tech companies such as our JV in Cognit, a collaboration with IBM’s Watson to bring cognitive computing to the MENA region; or Yahsat, our satellite communications technology company that has brought affordable internet access to more than 140 countries. These are just two examples, though when we look at the changes taking place across society and business it is clear that digital disruption, and the technologies that make that possible, enhances the prospects of economies across the world. It has, therefore, been important for us to gain further exposure. Part of our global investment strategy consists of ensuring we are an integral part of these trends and positioned to capitalize on the opportunities they present. Our USD15 billion commitment to the Softbank Vision Fund, which provides exposure to a wide range of highly innovative and disruptive companies in the tech sector, is one example. Furthermore, through our recently announced San Francisco office, we are getting closer to the venture capital community that provides exposure to some of the most exciting and game-changing investment opportunities in the world.

What are the major gaps in the country’s healthcare sector and how can the public and private sectors cooperate to meet the existing medical needs of the UAE?

When we initially looked at the healthcare system in Abu Dhabi, we aimed to identify the most pressing gaps across acute and critical care. Our goal was to deliver against a strategy of filling these gaps and introducing world-class healthcare, which we have largely achieved. We invested heavily to create a healthcare ecosystem in Abu Dhabi designed specifically to meet the needs of the local population. Take our Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), which advances patient care on one of the most pressing healthcare issues for UAE nationals. It has expanded significantly in recent years with two facilities in Abu Dhabi and one in Al Ain, all of which are at capacity. Our flagship asset, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, has also started to reshape the healthcare model in the Emirates with a series of regional and country-wide firsts, including the nation’s first multi-organ harvesting and transplant. This was possible because of the quality of clinical staff we have attracted and the world-class facility we have created to perform these procedures.

What are the main challenges and opportunities that Abu Dhabi might encounter in the full adoption of green energy resources to meet the sustainability standards in the next decade?

Mubadala is advancing the development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy solutions and clean technologies, helping to establish Abu Dhabi as a global center of excellence in the renewable energy and clean technology sector. Take the joint venture between Total and our renewable energy company, Masdar, to build the region’s largest concentrated solar power plant, the 100MW Shams 1 project in Abu Dhabi. This USD600-million solar power project is the world’s largest financing transaction for renewable energy and in March 2018, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of uninterrupted electricity supply. However, like all countries around the word, there are significant challenges in changing behaviors and improving adoption of green technologies, and while Masdar has led the way in driving the renewable and sustainability agenda, there is also a concerted effort at a policy level as well. The Environment Vision 2030 was developed to drive collaboration across key government entities, covering the environmental, social, and economic impact in areas such as agriculture, water resources, electricity consumption, air quality, and waste. If we get this right, there is also a significant commercial upside to add to the primary social and sustainability outcomes we are driving towards. Our Masdar wind farm projects, such as London Array, the largest offshore wind farm in the world, and Dudgeon offshore wind farm, which will generate the electricity equivalent for more than 410,000 UK homes, are just two examples. These investments not only have a major impact on sustainability but also generate attractive financial returns for our shareholder, the government of Abu Dhabi.

Looking at 2018, where does Mubadala Investment Company see the potential for highest returns on investments?

As a diversified global investment company, we are active in over 30 countries, from the large emerging markets such as China, Brazil, and Thailand to many of the world’s key developed economies, including the US and Europe. We will continue to explore and maintain our operations in high-growth emerging markets, having invested over time to build market-leading platforms that position us well for future investment opportunities. However, as we evolve, our geographical exposure will also change. In line with our clear mandate to deliver financial returns, we will see the international portfolio increasingly weighted towards more developed markets that enable us to de-risk our investments while securing attractive and stable income streams. Alongside this, with our increased exposure to the technology sector, we expect to deploy capital in high-potential sectors. We will make strategic investments to position ourselves at the leading edge of these sectors.



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