Ghazi Abu Nahl Interview Gold Business Magazine

May 18, 2020


Interview by Gold business magazine in Cyprus Ghazi Abu Nahl

Name and Position of Interviewee:

1. How is your company currently coping with the Coronavirus crisis?

A COVID19 Committee was established early on to identify the risks and potential impact on the business. The team is made up of key individuals from the subsidiaries located in 23 countries. Each member was selected to bring a unique perspective based on their knowledge and professional background.

The Committee reports weekly to the Group Risk Function on the results and findings, as well as recommendations for discussion. Decisions made are communicated back to the subsidiaries for implementation.

Through collective knowledge sharing we are able to implement a uniform strategy for addressing all business needs during this crisis.

2. In what way has your business/sector been affected both locally and globally and how do you expect this situation to develop?

The worldwide measures enforced to help contain COVID19 has caused some disruption to business communication. However, people have quickly adapted to the new working environment has have taken advantage of technology to bring together the all the teams in other countries working together.

Our main local operation is our insurance subsidiary Trust Insurance Company Cyprus. They have carried out an extensive impact analysis and have planned accordingly in order to mitigate risks and impact.

World Trade Center Cyprus continues to provide business services to local and international companies without interruption.

At the holding company level, we have witnessed some slowdown in the rental and hospitality sectors. Construction projects have also shown a temporary slow down during the initial lockdown measures. However, once these are relaxed construction will resume.

We are monitoring developments continuously and are prepared to take necessary measures accordingly.

3. What measures are you taking to ensure business continuity?

The COVID19 Committee discussed earlier, also provides the mechanism to identify the challenges faced by all our business operations. Once identified these are further analysed and potential solutions discussed and implemented.

All staff have access to secure computer networking with the IT system. We utilise the latest telecommunication platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, therefore enabling uninterrupted global communication.

4. How do you manage your workforce during this crisis? Have you applied any HR measures to help deal with the situation?

The HR department has coordinated the response to government enforced actions to ensure complete compliance. However, most of the government economic measures do not apply to our work force in terms of benefit.

The decision was made for 90% of the employees to work from home and in isolation. Regular COVID19 updates are provided including general health and safety measures.
Face masks have been made available and the offices are regularly sanitised including electrostatic spraying of the whole workspace. Social distancing is strictly enforced if working from the office is unavoidable. The safety of all employees is always at the forefront of our action plans.

5. How important is the use of advanced technology in your business, particularly during this difficult period?

Leveraging technology is pivotal in ensuring minimal disruption.

Our team members stay in touch with each other throughout the day via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and other electronic applications to address regular business needs.

Externally we conduct business meetings such as group management meetings, committee meetings, board meetings and external conferences electronically.

6. Do you think that clients’ behaviour will change after this crisis? Have you already experienced any new needs or demands?

In our sectors we have not experienced any new needs or demands. However, we have the tools and expertise to adjust to future changes that may result post COVID19. For example, business travel will likely reduce as people become accustomed and comfortable to using new technologies to communicate.

7. Has the crisis affected your expansion/investment programme and strategy? If so, how have your revised it?

COVID19 has not impacted our outlook for expansion and investment. Our resilient business model is based on sound principles that are unlikely change. The various Boards of directors who oversee the Group’s subsidiaries are well placed to steer their companies through any adversities.