February 2019 Chairman’s Message

Dear ABGR Colleagues,

Our inaugural Embassy Roundtable event, hosted by New Zealand Ambassador James Munro and featuring a panel of three ambassadors from New Zealand, India and Ireland, was favorably received; we are organizing a sequel involving ambassadors from other countries, details to follow, on the tentative theme “showcase economic and social successes.” 

We have been reaching out to sister organizations from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Singapore and elsewhere for opportunities to collaborate on joint initiatives.  As a sequel to our meeting in December, the RGBB will be hosting our intergroup leadership representatives on February 27 at the British Embassy, as we seek to energize our committees and host country outreach to the common benefit. 

Our Infrastructure, Defense & Security, Finance, ACME and Legal Committees have been gaining momentum and value to member companies active in these sectors, as we implement a program based on regular monthly meetings, newsletters and speakers; please let us know if you would like to get involved in these or other sectors. 

Our heartfelt gratitude to our U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Martina Strong for hosting the American business community at Quincy House on February 13, and for her strong support for our private sector community generally.  We will as before be supporting the National Day event, rescheduled for April 10. 

Since my last report, we have hosted the following events. 

February 4, General Membership.  We hosted Peter Calamari, Managing Partner of the global American law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, on the topic “U.S. exercise of jurisdiction over foreign entities and conduct,” regarding the ways in which the U.S. Department of Justice is extending the long arm of U.S. law to cover foreign entities in the fields of foreign corrupt practices, antitrust, economic sanctions and other matters, as a strategy to level the regulatory playing field by holding European and other nationals to the same high standards as American companies. 

February 6, Issues Committee.  We met with Commercial Counsellor Nasir Abbasi and Economic Counsellor Ed Sagurton to discuss issues for our March 24-29 Washington Doorknock.  Let me know if you are interested in seeing copies of our position papers, or if your company is facing have issues that you would like us to address with Congress and/or the Administration. 

February 7, Defense & Security Committee.  Kevin Darnell hosted an organizational meeting including a dozen committee members to launch a new season, and will be scheduling regular monthly meetings going forward in response to interests expressed; please contact him at Kevin.S.Darnell@raytheon.com if interested. 

February 14, Finance Committee.  Abdulhadi Shahadah of Gulf Investment Bank led a discussion on private equity investment; please see Finance Committee report for details, and contact Alan Lowe at alanhlowe@hotmail.com if you are interested in attending future monthly events. 

Please plan to participate in the following upcoming events. 

  • General Membership Breakfast, February 24Our next ABGR General Membership breakfast will feature Jay Rosen from The Red Sea Development, who will update us on this very important national project’s status and plans.  
  • Social Networking Dinner, February 28.  Please plan to join us at Al-Jawhara Compound, which has once again graciously agreed to host us for an ABGR Networking Social – Arabian Night in historical Diriya,” including a lavish Arabian style buffet. 
  • Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC) Annual Doorknock, March 24-29.  We will join fellow AmChams from Jeddah, Eastern Province, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha and Dubai in promoting American business interests in Washington, focusing on trade, competitiveness, tax and geopolitical issues, at a time of transition, challenge and continuing opportunity in our U.S./Saudi bilateral relationship.  
  • Annual ABGR-AMEX Golf Tournament, March 28 – 29.Tom Merkel, Tarik Solomon and their colleagues on our Golf Committee are working hard to ensure that our annual Golf Tournament surpasses all records in participation and general enjoyment for all. 
  • Meet your Embassy. We are working with our friends at the Embassy to organize roundtable discussions with leaders of its various sections. 

As we prepare for a new leadership team and board elections in June, and having been honored to serve our American business community over the past year and a half, I invite your recommendations and ideas for new Board directors and leadership. 



Christopher H. Johnson 



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About the Author

Chris Johnson

Active in the Kingdom since 1978, Chris Johnson is the founding partner of Johnson & Pump/Al-Sharif Law Office, based in Riyadh. chris@alshariflaw.com +966-11-462-5925