Course Search
Central post office of Qatar. Source: parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com.

About the leadership forum

The Leadership Forum, in collaboration with CUC Ulster University, presents a distinguished interview series featuring renowned corporate and government leaders from around the globe. This series offers a profound insight into the lives and professional journeys of these accomplished leaders, providing actionable guidance for students within the CUC Ulster University network and other higher education institutions worldwide. The Leadership Forum serves as a valuable resource, furnishing aspiring students with mentorship and advice from accomplished leaders.

Today, we are delighted to present an exclusive interview with Mr. Faleh Al Naemi, the Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Post. Mr. Faleh boasts an impressive leadership history in Qatar and played a pivotal role in the transformation of Qpost into Qatar Post through an extensive rebranding initiative. This overhaul catapulted the company into a modern logistics powerhouse. Join us as we delve into Mr. Faleh's journey and uncover the secrets to his success.
Stellwag:
First of all, thank you very much for allowing us to join you today at Qatar Post. Mr. Al Naemi, let’s start off by learning about some of your key milestones and turning points in your career that helped contribute to your success as Chairman and Managing Director at Qatar Post.
Al Naemi:
Thank you very much for coming today. I started my career at Qatar Fertilizer Company which is known in Qatar as QAFCO. At QAFCO, they were very caring for their employees and invested a lot in employee training and development and that helped me fundamentally to grow. Beyond QAFCO, I also served in professional roles in other sectors like telecom, logistics, postal and petrochemicals.
Stellwag:
Could you tell us what inspired you to pursue a career in the logistics and mail industry, and how did you get your first opportunity in this field?
Al Naemi:
My experience with logistics started very late in my career. It is only in the last 10 years out of my 30-year career. Around the time I joined Qatar Post, I was working for the Qatar Ministry of Telecom and Technology, where I had been asked to develop a strategy for the postal sector of Qatar. It was then that I was asked to take focus on enhancing the Qatar Postal Company. A decade ago, Q-post (as it once was called) was a corporation and the government wanted to make it into a self-funding company through increased efficiency. So, I was lucky enough to be leading the transformation program for Qatar Post and the sector. After completing the strategy, we sought endorsement by the government. They thought that the one who had crafted this strategy would be the best suited to implement it and it was a challenging year for all of us. But, I’m very happy with where we have reached, about 10 years into this journey.
Stellwag:
One of the banner moments in Qatar Post history was its grand rebrand. We’d love for you to tell us a little bit about the rebrand of the Q Post into Qatar Post. The rebrand was such a brilliant event and you were the man behind it, so let us know a little about the process of executing such a successful rebrand.
Al Naemi:
The rebrand was part of the strategy. We wanted to have a really good company satisfying its customer’s needs and to be part of the development of Qatar by entering the digital arena. We wanted to come up with a new identity to give people greater confidence in the brand itself and wanted to turn a new page of Qatar Post history. Qatar Post had been a very good organisation since the 1950s. But, there came a time where technology and emails started taking all the attention, and things changed with the e-commerce boom. The team felt that we need to be a strong player in this business, so we adopted the more modern Qatar Post brand. As we developed the logo, we knew we were a national company, hence we chose to maintain the Qatar in Arabic, a part of the brand, which is a very crucial part of our interpretation for the brand. The logo design was inspired by the fact that when you move things between point A and point B, there is an operation and we deliver it to the other end, so the design inspiration came from this. It was a very big event at that time. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister at that time, and everyone thought it had a nice impact and we were all very proud of our new identity.
I think discipline was a crucial part of my journey and one of my mentors of a long time told me something: you need to be available to perform any job and you need to be at the right place at the right time to do the job. At the same time, discipline was very, very crucial, enabling me to do the right things at the right time. So, one of the qualities is discipline, I think. Learning and development and investing in your knowledge are also very crucial to growth. And in any organisation, it’s important to have a good plan, where you’re always thinking about what is next. This allowed me to pursue things with confidence.
Stellwag:
Now, let's take a look at the challenges and setbacks you faced in your career. For any challenges, how did you overcome your setbacks?
Al Naemi:
There have always been challenges, and life is meaningless without challenges. There are so many challenges I have faced during my career, and the biggest one is when you try to change culture. People are used to certain ways and means to conduct their business and you can, as an outsider, want to change their way of doing business. It is very challenging, and I have faced this across many organisations. The best way to overcome that is by communicating very well, so I always say communicate.
Stellwag:
So, what role does innovation and adaptability play in helping Qatar Post stay ahead?
Al Naemi:
It is very critical to always be on top of your game. Without innovation and adoption of new ways and methods of doing business, you'll be left outdated. So, we always try to keep an eye on what's happening around us. Sometimes we are the innovator and sometimes we adopt others’ best practices. We are constantly attending professional gatherings and conferences and reading specialised magazines as a means of staying ahead. We also have excellent communication with our team because we are not that small of an organisation. We have a staff strength of about a thousand people, so excellent team communication is key to establishing a culture of innovation.
Stellwag:
Many of our students would like to become directors or CXOs in the future. Already you’ve talked about discipline and target planning. What other other advice that you might give to university students who have the vision of being in the boardroom?
Al Naemi:
I think it's very easy to achieve such a position if you do what it takes and if you are patient. You need to stand out more than your peers and you can achieve that through putting in hard work and discipline. Acquiring summer training and internships is a very good approach to acquiring the knowledge necessary to excel. Take more summer classes than your colleagues or competitors, and you also need to read specialised magazines. In short, you need to update yourself with what's happening in real life, talking to professionals and so on, so to start with, it’s not very challenging but you need to keep up, keeping up and updating yourself through your journey is the challenge.
Source: parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com
Stellwag:
Absolutely great, thank you. So now, let’s turn the discussion to leadership. In your opinion, how has the landscape of leadership changed over the years, especially with Gen Z entering the picture.
Al Naemi:
I think to be successful as a leader, you need to be more inclusive. Communication needs to be more complete and more frequent. I mean, the leadership we grew up being inspired by as students were mainly in the armies or landlords and so on; but

It is not the case nowadays. Now, to be a good leader you need to understand your people working around you and to understand your customers. Communication has totally shifted over the past hundred years. I think now with technology, with the way people live attached to their mobiles, that they need more time to talk to people individually or in groups - real talk not through chat.

Stellwag:
I totally agree with you, Mr. Faleh!
Al Naemi:
It's a generational shift, a real paradigm shift.
Stellwag:
Let’s look back at your educational background and how that contributed to your professional success and maybe the role that formal education has played in your ability to be successful?
Al Naemi:
I proudly graduated from Qatar University in 1996, from the Business and Economics College. Upon graduating, I started my career after that in the same year. Formal education is very Important and it is crucial in order to step into the marketplace where you need to complement your academic knowledge with practical experience.

One of the challenges that a lot of graduates and I have been through is that when you graduate, you will be using a very small portion of what you had studied in your work. For example, you study finance, accounting, and management principles or organisational behaviour, and marketing, and economics, and so on and you end up doing very little of these at first. Only a very small portion of what you do in your work may be something that you learned in a book. However, when you grow up in your career, you will be needing all the subjects you took and learned from a book. You’ll eventually need all the subjects you learned. Like, when I started my career I was working in HR, and only a small piece of the Human Resources discipline. HR is not only about recruitment activity which may be one small chapter in a book on the topic you studied. But, when you grow up in your career, you need to understand financial statements, you need to understand the profitability of the organisation you’re working in, you need to understand the economics, and you need to know how to market your business. Eventually, over the course of maybe 20 years, you will need every single word you learned in the university.
Stellwag:
How true that is! Now, let’s shift the conversation back to Qatar Post and some of the strategic decisions or initiatives that helped make Qatar Post into what it is today.
Al Naemi:
When we executed our strategy, we knew what was needed, so there were a number of initiatives undertaken spanning more than QAR 3 billion. Each pillar of the organisation was looking into a specific area of the operations. So, when it came to our customer, we made a number of initiatives: one is the rebranding, which freshened the look and feel of our organisation, and the second one was delivering projects and services the customer was looking for. One so one of them is called Connected, which is a virtual address that allows customers to buy items online or have personal items sent to a number of key countries such as China, USA, UK, Malaysia and Australia where you have the ability to buy from their local marketers. That was a very good initiative, and at that time, there was a very limited number of players in this, so Qatar Post brought in some healthy competition. We also launched or improved other services, such as introducing home delivery. Traditionally, when you had a parcel, you would need to come and collect it from a Qatar Post branch or from your personal post office box. We enhanced our delivery proposition as a result.

Another area we enhanced was our government agency relations. As a result of these efforts, we played a very good role during the pandemic. Qatar Post started to deliver critical medicines from Qatar government health facilities, resulting in more than 1 million packages in less than 2 months. There were so many projects we did that we would run out of time today, but this gives you a sense of just how big a transition Qatar Post made to improve its brand and services.
Stellwag:
We would like to explore what Qatar Post has done to leverage technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Al Naemi:
AI has been a new concept to our industry, but we have definitely leveraged the technology in many ways. While we conduct our day-to-day business, we use route optimization technology so AI systems can advise our drivers on the best route to deliver their packages. We have the knowledge of where our fleets are operating, at all times, and each vehicle can be communicated with through voice, text, or files. With technology, we use less paper in operations because most of our paper processes can now be done using technology or online. We have a list of customer interfaces that are now digital, making it easier for our customers. So, technology, by all means, plays a big role in our business.
Stellwag:
In addition to technology, obviously, let’s talk about the role of people in the organisation. The continuous development of people is so important. What has been the role of continuous learning as a means of keeping Qatar Post competitive?
Al Naemi:
We have invested a great deal into our employees during the transformation process and we are continuing to do so. We designed a number of programs where our people were engaged with various leadership enhancement programmes based on their work assignment. And,

customer services, and process design, etc. Training and development are a really big thing for us. We are very proud of what we have achieved over the years and we can tell when you talk to people over the years how their attitudes and opinions changed positively toward Qatar Posts. This shift in attitudes and opinions about Qatar Post is a testimony to our continuous state of learning & development in the organisation.
Stellwag:
You have emphasised the importance of Customer Service in the transformation of Qatar Post. Were there any specific customer-focused initiatives that led to this success?
Al Naemi:
We do a lot of activities to make sure that we are very much connected to our customers. For instance, we do mystery shopping, we conduct surveys, and we conduct detailed customer persona exercises. We ensure that surveys are conducted to ensure we are serving each of our customer personas in the way we aim to, right at the point of service.We are constantly trying to remain connected and to listen to our customer.
Stellwag:
Let’s shift to sustainability and the environment. What role does sustainability play in Qatar Post’s operations in order to address environmental concerns associated with the logistics industry.
Al Naemi:
We’ve been doing a great job in sustainability. We’ve won a number of awards for being a very sustainable and environmentally friendly organisation. We were even acknowledged internationally in 2019, winning best operator in one of the biggest events in the industry. Locally, our efforts have helped us gain a number of sustainability awards as well. We have been certified by ISO, so sustainability has been a key part of our fabric for a long time now and will continue to be.
Stellwag:
Corporate culture is obviously an important component of any successful organisation. How do you approach corporate culture at Qatar Post?
Al Naemi:
We have orchestrated a number of events where our employees gather to get closer like a family. We also have systems in place to collect employee ideas and a dedicated committee to examine those ideas for possible implementation. We hold innovation award ceremonies for the best implemented ideas.

Most of these are innovative ideas, and when I say innovative, these are not necessarily technology-based innovations. Sometimes you can innovate without technology by reviewing and simplifying processes. That has been a prominent area of improvement as a direct result of our employee culture of innovation.
Stellwag:
Thank you for your perspectives. As we look at the CUC Ulster student base, we have a heavy mix of students aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who might be interested in logistics or other related industries?
Al Naemi:
Logistics is booming and I would advise people to work in the logistics field. It is a very interesting job and is very challenging. Logistics is impacted by everything that is happening, be it political, economics, or other factors. Geopolitical issues affect us all, and it’s important for logistic professionals to try to overcome these challenges. Logistics decisioning can be dominated by speed, and other times, based on cost factors. This makes the field of logistics a fascinating industry with many opportunities yet to come for CUC Ulster graduates pursuing the field.
Stellwag:
It is obvious that a lot of Qatar Post’s success has been due to its partnerships and collaborations as well as your product innovations. Can you speak to the role that partnerships and collaborations have played in Qatar Post’s strategy and how do you build and nurture these relationships:
Partnership between Qatar Post and China’s Gallery Five Group. Source: Gulf Times.
Al Naemi:
We work with a lot of partners it is not really wise to invent the wheel the wheel is already invented so when it comes to certain activities which is not a core business for us we either partnership or outsource it to a professional organisation we build it based on a trust and win situation for both parties it has to be viable for both of us and partnership we we have so many partners when it comes to business when it comes to Social responsibilities and we try to act responsible toward those partnerships.
Mr. Nasser Hassan Al Naimi, President & Executive Board Member of Barzan Holdings and
Faleh Mohammed Al Naemi, Chairman and Managing Director of Qatar Post ink an MoU. 
Source: Marhaba
Stellwag:
How do you approach talent acquisition within Qatar Post in order to build high performing teams?
Al Naemi:
We have tried to acquire the most talented people who have proven their expertise in achieving their goals in specific job functions. However, when it comes to new graduates or younger professionals, we are not looking so much at their knowledge and experience, but rather, we are looking at their attitudes and behaviour. We look for those who can fit and contribute to our goals and to grow Qatar Post, so basically we recruit behaviour, and we equip young employees with the knowledge it takes to succeed and thrive.
Stellwag:
So, what I’m essentially hearing is: attitude determines altitude, right? So, with the right attitude, you can achieve virtually anything. So let's look at your personal habits, routines, and rituals. What are the things that you do that you rely on to fuel your productivity and your personal success.
Al Naemi:
I really enjoy talking to people very much. Very often, you’ll see me at one of the Qatar Post branches or operational areas within our sorting centre, or paying impromptu visits with our marketing and human resources departments. I like to engage people and see reality with my own eyes, to truly understand how things really are. Some executives get stuck in their own office, where they tend to rely on what they hear. This can be dangerous. I prefer to form my own narrative based on talking to our people on the ground and learning reality first-hand. It is really nice to see things how they really are, rather than falling prey to false narratives. It drives a sense of connectivity with the team and with the company overall. That really drives me.
Stellwag:
Let’s wrap things up today by zooming in on soft skills, because we believe we, as humans, are losing the area of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). How does EQ and soft skills fit in the success matrix of a new graduate in Generation Z?
Al Naemi:
When students are in the process of developing their soft skills, I think they need to hold discussions that facilitate and enable them to grow. I would always recommend that young people listen more than they talk. You need to acquire the knowledge and skills, first, before you pass your ideas through your presentation skills. For example, you need to build and maintain great communication skills early, to articulate complex ideas to adults in a way that everyone can understand.
Source: Al Darb, Qatar Airways Group
This takes a lot of skill. Students need to be hungry for getting the information and knowledge they need to know what is going on around them. This foundational knowledge makes communication so much simpler. And with strong communication skills comes great success.
Stellwag:
Mr. Faleh, we would like to thank you, once again, for meeting us today! Your wisdom is truly an inspiration for university students in Qatar and worldwide. On behalf of all of us at CUC Ulster University, we wish you and Qatar Post continued success in the years to come.
Al Naemi:
It is my pleasure. Thank you and CUC Ulster University!

The Leadership Forum with CUC Ulster University

Host:

Michael Stellwag, MBA

Head of Marketing and Recruitment,
CUC Ulster University

30-year marketing & finance veteran from the United States in leadership functions at Southwest Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and UBS. He is now Global Head of Marketing & Recruitment at CUC Ulster University.

Editor-in-Chief:

Dr. Faris Gorashi

Executive Dean,
CUC Ulster University

30-year leader in higher and secondary education from the United Kingdom. Has held university leadership roles across Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. He is now the Executive Dean at CUC Ulster University, the fastest growing university in Qatar.

    Download Our Prospectus
    © 2023 City University College LLC. All Rights Reserved.
    bookmagnifier