A collaborative research project between New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum

Interview

The Nehmeh Group: How History Shapes the Future

Alexander A. Nehme did not intend to write a book when he set out to capture his family’s history and values through the entrepreneurial journey of his father, Antoine Nehme, founder of the Nehmeh Group.

Interview with Alexander A. Nehme, Partner & Board Member, Nehmeh Group

Alexander A. Nehme did not intend to write a book when he set out to capture his family’s history and values through the entrepreneurial journey of his father, Antoine Nehme, founder of the Nehmeh Group. However, it soon became apparent that putting his family’s legacy into print was more than just an act of preservation; it was a way to influence the organisation’s future by inspiring family and non-family leaders of today.

A business development professional, Alexander A. Nehme is a Partner and Board Member at his family’s Qatar-based industrial trading and manufacturing solutions enterprise, Nehmeh. Since 1955, Nehmeh has grown and expanded with operations across Qatar and the region. Today, the company operates automotive, construction, heat transfer, woodworking, rental, and service solutions segments across the Middle East. After his father, Antoine, passed in 2010, Alexander sought to chronicle his family’s extraordinary journey for future generations – an effort that culminated in the book Blessings in the Sand: The Antoine Nehme Legacy.

Q: How did your journey capturing your family business history begin?

It began simply with notes of my father’s sayings and quotations. A favourite of mine always was, “No watchman over my work if my conscious is my watchman.” That quote underscored the importance of working ethically even when nobody else is looking, that is keeping and delivering on our promises.

This sketchbook was a good foundation for our legacy project, but it was also necessary to establish a real sense of purpose. I felt that sharing the stories and motivational quotes of those who have inspired us was the most direct way of upholding our timeless values.

As with people, businesses change, but their fundamentals and principles — what defines them — remain the same.

I had hoped to document the story in a way that would both inform and inspire, but at that time, I had no idea what form it would take or the extent of my involvement. Understanding that there is no right or wrong way to go about such an endeavour was critical in the initial stages. The most important part is the commitment to doing it, luckily we are stubborn by nature.

Q: How did your journey capturing your family business history begin?

It began simply with notes of my father’s sayings and quotations. A favourite of mine always was, “No watchman over my work if my conscious is my watchman.” That quote underscored the importance of working ethically even when nobody else is looking, that is keeping and delivering on our promises.

This sketchbook was a good foundation for our legacy project, but it was also necessary to establish a real sense of purpose. I felt that sharing the stories and motivational quotes of those who have inspired us was the most direct way of upholding our timeless values.

As with people, businesses change, but their fundamentals and principles — what defines them — remain the same.

I had hoped to document the story in a way that would both inform and inspire, but at that time, I had no idea what form it would take or the extent of my involvement. Understanding that there is no right or wrong way to go about such an endeavour was critical in the initial stages. The most important part is the commitment to doing it, luckily we are stubborn by nature.

Publication Date: 22-July-2022

The Interviewee

Alexander A. Nehme, Partner & Board Member, Nehmeh

As a creative business development professional, I enjoy planning, UX, marketing, tech, and CSR.

I further believe corporate social responsibility & community service of purpose are an integral part of any family owned/controlled or publicly listed or a for-profit or a nonprofit organization, where social values are to be lived daily.

I have been fortunate enough to receive multiple industry recognition including winning the CIO 200 Awards for Technology – NextGen, which I dedicated to my teams.  I am a partner at Nehmeh, a multifaceted family business group serving the Gulf region.  As an IFC certified board member, I sit on the board of various organizations and companies.

With a personal empathy to the entrepreneurial adventure, I am a fan of mission-driven social & disruptive initiatives & assist in their development and purpose. Amongst my other ventures, I founded arab.org, the largest community for Good in the Arab World and recognized reference for MENA civil society. I’ve ventured further into creating Clicks.Help, where we attempt to unlock passive screen-time. Lately, I brought Giving Tuesday to the Arab World for the first time.

 

As we are in the family business sphere, this is a book I published in 2015: http://blessingsinthesand.com/