Posted on June 13, 2016

As Abdulaziz Al-Muzaffar looks out of his office window at the corniche, he is reminded of the harbour view from AP Moller-Maersk’s headquarters in Copenhagen, where he recently spent six-months working. As one of a growing number of Qataris at Maersk Oil to undertake an international assignment, he talks here of the valuable experience he gained and how applying the lessons learned back in Qatar earned him a promotion.

Abdulaziz joined the AP Moller-Maersk (APMM) family in 2013 as Assistant Manager of Insurance and Tenders in Maersk Oil Qatar (MOQ). In 2015 he assumed the role of Acting Head of Insurance, where he was the primary focal point for insurance policies and claim handling. It’s in this capacity that he was approached to be part of a dedicated global team of experts that meets annually in Copenhagen to tackle the demanding, but vitally important process of renegotiating and renewing APMM’s annual insurance policies. So he began working on a 6-month secondment in the Danish capital, following in the footsteps of several others in his department before him.

Here in Qatar, MOQ has been successfully developing Qatar’s largest offshore oilfield, Al-Shaheen for more than two decades together with Qatar Petroleum. The company is also developing its Qatari workforce, to become future industry leaders and specialists, while simultaneously supporting the development goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. By providing real jobs, with real responsibilities and access to challenging development opportunities at home and abroad, there are no limits to career progression as Abdulaziz’s story shows.

A TRUSTED ADVISOR FOR QATAR

APMM is a diversified industrial and shipping conglomerate with over 89,000 employees and operations in over 130 countries. Reflecting this scale and diversity Abdulaziz worked within Copenhagen’s ‘Energy Team’ - a group of experts representing APMM’s many companies in shipping and oil and gas – from both operator and contractor-side. He says: “Being part of that team really helped me to develop a more global mindset by helping me to understand why and how policy decisions are made at a global level, so that they can be effectively implemented locally.”

The project also gave Abdulaziz exposure to new people and processes, helping him develop his skills and broaden his knowledge. As MOQ’s representative, he met frequently with insurance partners, brokers and underwriters, providing advice and counsel which would help to renegotiate annual policies. He says: “One of the best parts of the whole experience was being able to work on the entire decision-making process from beginning to end and being able to make a real difference by providing recommendations which would bring significant benefits to the Qatar business unit.”

APPLYING LESSONS LEARNED ON HOME TURF

Those positive changes were immediately felt following his return to Qatar as the newly-appointed Head of Insurance, where he was able to play a more active role in insurance. For example, “I re-evaluated existing policies to see where we could keep the same benefits for less,” he says. It appears the experience didn’t just deepen his knowledge, but also his understanding of his field. “I realised that my job wasn’t just about insurance, it’s was about risk management and by scenario planning I can better mitigate future risks and support business continuity.” He adds smiling, “Risk management is the tree you’re shaded under because you planted it a long time ago.”

Abdulaziz’s manager Lorenza Porciello, Head of Legal at MOQ said: “International assignments are a great development opportunity which are really encouraged at MOQ. Since his return, Abdulaziz has been able to bring a lot of value to the organisation, by highlighting potential synergies and different ways of working.”

NEW HORIZONS FOR QATARI TALENT

MOQ is committed to providing meaningful development opportunities for Qataris and in particular, increasing the number of nationals in leadership roles.  As a next step in his career, Abdulaziz hopes to become qualified as an associate in risk management and to continue learning from his newly-expanded global network. His growing expertise and dedication has already been recognised at MOQ, with a recent promotion to Head of Insurance and Risk Management.

After such a productive experience in Copenhagen, is there anything in particular that he missed from home? “It’s Ramadan now, a time for family and traditions and it’s these I missed most. The secondment was a really positive experience for me and it’s led to a move up the career ladder. But I’m happy to be back in a thobe instead of a suit!” he laughs.

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