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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Industry

Widad Haddad

Vice President & General Manager, UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Lebanon, Emerson Process Management

Bio

Widad Haddad heads the overall business for Emerson Automation Solutions in the UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Lebanon. She joined Emerson as a marketing engineer in 2008 and has been steadily promoted since, to the point where she was marketing director from 2014-2018 before assuming her current role in 2018 and becoming the first female vice president & GM for Emerson in MEA. She is also a member of the diversity and inclusion Executive Council for Emerson MEA. Before joining Emerson, Haddad held various roles in engineering, marketing and sales. She is a graduate of McMaster University in Canada and has a BEng in mechanical engineering. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in organization and business psychology from the University of Liverpool.

"Emerson has had a presence in the UAE since the 2000s."
Emerson is a key player in the UAE’s economy, contributing through local manufacturing and offering process automation technology to various industries while also prioritizing workforce development.
What role does Emerson play in the local economy and which solutions does it offer?

Emerson has had a presence in the UAE since the 2000s. We established our own massive footprint back in Jebel Ali Free Zone in 2008. The company started the localization efforts in the country by investing multi-million-dollars in local manufacturing long before the UAE started driving in-country programs to encourage companies to invest. By doing so, we started manufacturing locally, while UAE exports delivered products to the surrounding regions. In addition to that we have employed around 700 people in the UAE. Our contribution to the economy as a local investor has been long-lasting. Moreover, we also contribute to the local economy through the technology we provide. Emerson is a process automation company that has the broadest and most diverse portfolio of automation technologies. We can play a fundamental role in digitizing and improving the process environment of almost any industry in the UAE, whether it is mining and metals such as Emirates Global Aluminum or oil and gas such as ADNOC and ENOC. We will also play more of a role in pharmaceuticals when the sector takes hold in the UAE. We also play a pivotal role in factory automation as well as the production of food and beverages. Our technology has the capability to improve operational efficiency, safety and performance across process, hybrid, and discrete industries.

Which steps is Emerson taking to achieve its net-zero ambition and build a more sustainable business?

We have established a framework called Greening with Emerson, Greening by Emerson and the Greening of Emerson. Greening of Emerson concerns the greening of our own operations and footprint. As much as half of our power needs at the manufacturing facility in the UAE are met by our rooftop solar project. Greening with is working across industry academia, government and semi-government bodies in shaping regulations and industry thought around decarbonization and sustainability. And Greening by Emerson is focused on how we use our technology to help organizations such as ADNOC to be greener in their operations. Throughout this transition that everybody is set to undergo, technology is a key accelerator as we shift towards decarbonization. It is either a matter of shifting to cleaner energy, reducing energy usage, or emission control, and our technology enables this. We recently signed a pledge with the Ministry of Climate Change, with which we are in close cooperation with.

How relevant is workforce development in the UAE for Emerson and which initiatives have been deployed to this end?

Emerson has a strong global talent management process that focuses on intentional development and succession planning. Both at a local and global level, there is a drive toward diversity, equity, and inclusion. We aim to hire more women in the industry in senior positions and help them develop, coach and mentor. The compensation structure of executives at Emerson takes into account our progress in this regard. We have made fundamental changes to our hiring processes to ensure we progress on our goals—for example, the interview slate for our candidates must be a mix of both male and female candidates. Development of local talent in the UAE is also vital, specifically given the Emiratization drive. We run several related programs from high school all the way to graduate level. We tend to work more with specialized schools that base their curriculum on STEM. We provide them shadow opportunities, transfer of career information and help them decide what they want to do later in life. We also operate an internship program that recruits students who are working for their bachelor’s degree, and a more elaborate graduate program for students who have graduated but have yet to find employment.

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