Committee and Focus Chairs


David J Burns MBE
Chairman & CEO

David J. Burns MBE first came to the UAE in 1967 and since 1976 has been in and out of the UAE and GCC. In the UAE David has worked in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai and in the wider GCC in KSA, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.  As a globally experienced Director, David's passions lie in advising and assisting regional entities, start up commercial projects or turnaround operations. David is a Director of UHY Saxena, responsible for Business Development and Marketing and now heads up the firms Consulting division. He also set up Baker and Burns and Arabian Gulf Sub Sahara Group in 2013 to facilitate trade between the UK and the Arabian Gulf and the Sub Sahara region.

David has founded and developed companies in numerous industries including commercial property, project management, logistics, publishing, HR Consultancy and recruitment. David has also been an associate at the Institute of Traffic Administration, the Institute of Environment Management & Assessment, and the Energy Institute. He is a past member of the Institute of Hospitality, the British Institute of Facilities Management, the Cookery and Food Association and a Fellow of the British Institute of Inn keeping. He is a CSR Practitioner and a Lead Verifier for Green House gas emissions (ISO 14064).

David maintains a keen interest in philanthropy through the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and other charities. In June 2014 he was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to British business, community and charity in Dubai.

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Jonathan MacPherson
Deputy Chairman & COO

Jonathan is a regional director with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, providing clients across the Middle East with senior counsel, insightful research and strategic communications to help their brands and the public communicate.
 
Prior to taking on the role of Deputy Chairman, Jonathan was BBG Communications Director for four years and brought a fresh impetus to the way the BBG engages with members and its partner organisations.
 
As Deputy Chairman, Jonathan will continue to support the BBG committee in driving its engagement strategy to ensure the Group remains a robust, efficient member-centric organisation that is the region's foremost business to business networking group.

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Graham Martins
Director, Finance

A Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Managing Partner of the UAE practice of PKF, a major global network of accountants, auditors and business advisers. Having been with PKF, London since 1981, he joined the UAE firm in 1992.
 
A BBG member since 1992 and BBG Director, Finance since 2011.

Vice Chair on the Board of Governors of Dubai English Speaking School and College and a Director of British Centres for Business, a joint venture between BBGs Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Graham provides financial oversight to the Board in all these roles. 

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Helen Barrett
Director, Legal & Secretariat

Helen Barrett is a UK qualified solicitor who has been living and working in Dubai since 1998.  Before establishing CBD Consultancy in 2014, Helen worked as a lawyer for two top international law firms specializing in advising foreign investors on their business operations throughout the GCC.  
 
Helen regularly supports British businesses with market entry and subsequent growth in the UAE by providing practical and commercial solutions to structuring issues.  Helen has published articles in the 2015 Middle East Global Opportunities Magazine and has also participated in BBG panel discussions on doing business in the UAE. 

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Matthew Lewis
Director, Business Development

Matthew is a senior executive search and executive coach with over 22 year's global expertise in identifying and assessing talent and developing senior executives.  Matthew graduated with a BSc (Hons) and worked in the UK, Hong Kong before moving to Dubai in 2007.He has hired senior Board executives into 45 countries across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific for the world's leading companies. Since 2010 he has been Partner for the Middle East and Africa region with Boyden, the world's oldest and largest private executive search firm, founded in 1946, with over 70 offices in 40 countries.
 
 
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Lara Khouri
Director, Communications

Lara moved to Dubai in 2004 and, since 2007, have worked with local branches of British organisations. Her external communications experience encompasses above- and below-the-line activities for various audiences (e.g.: giving presentations; relationship building; creating brochures, flyers, e-newsletters, online and offline campaigns; giving interviews; organising PR). Internal communications initiatives she had worked on comprise an 'internal Facebook', intranet re-vamp, and staff communications training. Lara holds degrees in Media & Communications and Human Services. She is a certified Co-Active® Coach, and a Cherie Blair Foundation for Women mentor.

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Camilla Wilcox
Director, Events

Confident, energetic and outgoing professional with a passion for networking. Camilla's drive and energy has enabled her to build a large business network and become very well connected in Dubai commercial circles. With over five years of experience delivering corporate events for both the BBG and other large organisations, she understands the importance of putting members first in order that the BBG delivers memorable as well as lucrative commercial networking events.
 
Having worked directly for BBG as Events Officer, she knows what is both required and wanted by members in order to create the most rewarding networking environments possible. 


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Andrew Prince
Director, Focus Groups

Having been a financial services professional for over 20 years, Andrew is as passionate today as he was as a new recruit. A firm believer in the expression, "givers gain" whether it was his pro-bono work with the UK's Citizens Advice Bureau to being an ambassador for the BBG in Dubai Director of Focus Groups and previously Focus Chair for Banking & Finance ("Finance is fun!") helping people is at the core of my being. A firm advocate of the BBG Andrew meets people from all walks of life and either assist them directly, or introduce them to someone who can.

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Adel Al Awadhi
Director, Government Relations 

Executive Chairman for the Corporate Group involved in Partnerships, investment and Corporate services. Previously with Serco as General Manager, Managing Director - Corporate Affairs, Business Development and Government Relations

Board Member, Vice Chairman Rail Operations of UITP MENA  (2013 - Present.)

President GCC Alumni for IMD Business School (2012 - Present)

Board Member Arabian Leaders of the Future Association (2012 - Present)

Government Relations Director, British Business Group (2009 - Present).

Board Member of Gulf Talent Advisory Board (2009 - present)
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award - growth within entrepreneurial initiative, American University Dubai
Founder Corporate Business Services, ranked 32/100 SME company in Dubai
 
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Paul Byson
Director, Membership

Paul is a knowledgeable and active member of the business community with access to an extremely large network in the UAE, he advises large multi nationals to small start up businesses on how they can best establish a legal commercial presence in Dubai and across the rest of the UAE
 
He is a strategic networker who engages highest level within the business community and within the various government departments and embassies. He graduated with a Diploma in International Business from the University of the West of Scotland.
 
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Lubna Qassim
Director, UAE Alliances

Lubna is the Group Chief General Counsel & Company Secretary, Emirates NBD Bank (PJSC).
 
She is the first UAE national to have worked at the World Bank (Public Sector Consultant) and at the House of Lords, Parliament, UK. Selected in 2013 by William Hague, UK's First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for her leadership skills to participate in the Future International Leadership Programme.
 
2009 - The first UAE national to sit on the Committee of the British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates

2013 -  UAE Alliances Director - the British Business Group Abu Dhabi.  
 
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Alastair Long
Embassy Representative

Alastair was appointed Her Majesty's Deputy Consul General to Dubai and Director of Trade and Investment in February 2016.  He joined the Diplomatic Service at the turn of the century, where his focus was on the UN and Gulf regions.
 
Alastair has been posted to Vienna and most recently Muscat as Deputy Head of Mission.
 
Prior to joining the service Alastair studied Geography at Clare College, Cambridge University where he was also a Choral Scholar. He then studied music (trumpet performance) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the City of London. 
Alastair is married to Victoria with two sons, Henry and Felix.