John Martin St.Valery
Chairman & CEO

Having founded Links Group in 2002, John has spearheaded the growth of a Partnership into the corporate structure that now exists. In 2016 Links Group was acquired by the global corporate service provider, Equiom. John remains with the business to lead it through its next growth phase, sitting on the Middle East & Asia board.

Since arrival in Dubai in 1998 with family, John has been an active BBG member - previously serving on the committee in various director roles: focus chair, membership, events, government liaison and Deputy Chair.

For many years John has supported the group through Platinum sponsorship via Links Group, as he was unable to devote sufficient time and attention to the group by way of committee involvement due to his own business growth and development.

This position has now changed and it is time to give something back to the dynamic business community that has assisted John with his own business ambitions. To lead the group, by example, in ensuring all members benefit from the business opportunities in Dubai & Northern Emirates available to British companies is a passion that will not be dimmed. The voice of the British community deserves to be heard above others.

Andrew Mortimer
Deputy Chairman


Andrew Robinson
Director, Finance

Self-employed business advisor based in the United Arab Emirates.

Completed a career of auditing and business advisory services of over 35 years in the UK, North America and the Middle East until I took early retirement from the partnership of KPMG in 2014.

As an audit partner I have a proven ability to present issues at the top table and as well as my technical accounting ability I have extensive experience in managing business units, marketing and project management.


Helen Barrett
Director, Legal & Secretariat

Helen is an English qualified solicitor who has been living in Dubai since 1998. Prior to establishing CBD Consultancy in 2014, Helen worked with two top tier international law firms advising foreign investors on all legal aspects of doing business in the Gulf, including corporate structuring, company set-ups, mergers and acquisitions, liquidation and disposals.

Helen continues to assist foreign investors with their ‘onshore’ UAE market entry and operations by providing business formation and bespoke professional sponsorship/partnership services through a group of UAE-registered companies ensuring full compliance with UAE law.

In October 2016, Helen was appointed onto the BBG Committee as Director, Legal & Secretariat where she advised on the BBG’s ongoing contractual and constitutional arrangements and operations, ensuring the smooth and compliant functioning of the Group.

Helen previously held the positions of Legal Secretariat and Vice President of the Australian Business Group from 2001 to 2007.

Her solid legal background and understanding of the commercial realities of doing business in this region, will continue to provide added value to the Committee and BBG members alike.

Matthew Lewis
Director, Business Development

Matthew is a senior executive search, leadership and executive coach with over 22 year’s global expertise in identifying and assessing talent and developing senior level executives. Matthew worked in the UK, Hong Kong before moving to Dubai in 2007.

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. Currently leads the Middle East Board, Government, Infrastructure and Aviation Practices.

In 2015, co-founded N3 Executive Coaching helping executives and companies be the best that they can be. A regular speaker at INSEAD and LBS, a regular media contributor and commentator in the region on talent, leadership, regional dynamics, cultural awareness and nationalization. He is a member of the AESC and the International Coaching Federation and Capital Club, Dubai.

A member since 2008 and passionate about helping companies manage and develop their talent whilst helping people manage and develop themselves. In 2015 he became focus chair for Talent, Learning and Development and 2016 was elected Director of Business Development.

He has been responsible for negotiating and enhancing our Platinum Sponsors agreements and ensuring we have a pipeline of new revenue and BD opportunities.


Lara Khouri
Director, Communications

My passion is improving people’s experiences with brands. The BBG is a very strong brand and I know that it will be exciting and fulfilling to work with the committee and operations team on making every member’s experience with us one they value above all others. It has been my privilege to serve on the committee for a year and I would love nothing more than to be able to see the projects we’ve started through to their successful completion. From a communications perspective, we’ve come a long way and are now at a point where we can begin doing things that will make a noticeable difference.

I moved to Dubai in 2004 and, since 2007, have worked with local branches of British organisations leading their communications and marketing efforts behind the scenes creating messaging, collateral and experiences for their audiences, and as the face of the organisation giving presentations and live interviews on radio or TV. In addition to my degrees in Media & Communications and General Human Services, I am a certified Co-Active® Coach and a Cherie Blair Foundation for Women mentor. Currently, my day job is Head of International Marketing for the ICAEW, a global membership organisation.

Nicola Holmes
Director, Events

Having worked in the Events Industry for 20 years I spent the first 10 years based out of London but travelling to over 50 countries worldwide to deliver Sponsorship & Event Activations for brands such as SAP, Coca-Cola, Canon, Heineken and Tiger Beer. Covering a range of sports, music, fashion and film platforms.

I moved to UAE in 2007 where I initially consulted for various Events agencies before co-founding my own agency Custard Communications in 2010. Since inception we have delivered over 200 events across the GCC for a range of corporate clients in government, financial, FMCG, Retail and Automotive sectors including Gala Dinners, Arts & Cultural, Team Building, Conferences and the rest.

A founding member of the International Live Events Association for the Middle East and currently sitting on the Board provides us with a solid understanding and connection with all industry stakeholders.

I am standing as having taken a step back from daily operation of Custard I am keen to embrace new challenges where my experience and knowledge will be beneficial.

My two motto’s are “the best things in life aren’t things” and “there’s nothing a cuppa and a constructive chat can’t solve”.

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 his 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.

Adel Al Awadhi
Director, Government Relations 

Adel is a UAE national, founder and chairman of The Corporate Group, manages few companies and business subsidiaries promoting inward investments to the region and attracted foreign direct investment. He manages diverse complex business and develops partnerships with networks in Government and Private sectors covering the M ENA. He is able to facilitate growth with key customers at different levels and across different sectors.

Senior member of (BBG) committee as Government Relations Director developing relationships, partnerships, managing stakeholders with the Governments to promote 2,000 members from 2009 to 2013 and 2015 to 2017.


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.

I have been an active member of the BBG for the last 5 years and I am excited by the prospect of committing another year to the BBG committee. This year myself and the membership team want to work with existing members to boost attendance and involvement within the group.
Although the BBG is very sociable, it is first and foremost a business group and the aim of members should be to generate business and assist others in generating business.

We all want to see new faces at our events - let’s make that happen.


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.


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.