DarkMatter appoints new CEO

DarkMatter founder, Faisal Al Bannai, to assume role of managing director and focus on the firm’s strategic direction and key initiatives, including R&D
Karim Sabbagh has been appointed DarkMatter CEO, effective April 2018. Founder Faisal Al Bannai will assume the role of MD.
Karim Sabbagh has been appointed DarkMatter CEO, effective April 2018. Founder Faisal Al Bannai will assume the role of MD.


Faisal Al Bannai, founder and managing director of DarkMatter, has announced the appointment of Karim Sabbagh as CEO, effective April 2018.

Al Bannai, will become managing director of the firm, and will continue to lead its strategic direction and oversight.

Faisal Al Bannai said: “Our vision and goals are ambitious and exponential. As we have set our foothold in UAE, and begun to plan for regional and global expansion, the company will continue to evolve to support its vision, and build its competencies.  We have attracted exceptional talent from inception, and with every addition, we have strengthened our ability to achieve our goals.There are many things still to be achieved, and not enough time in the day, hence my decision to split the leadership role into that of CEO and of MD. This separation enables me to focus on the strategic direction and oversight of the firm as the MD, while the new CEO will take responsibility for the business.

It has taken some time to find the right fit, and in Karim Sabbagh I believe we have found an outstanding professional who will make a great addition to DarkMatter and will bring an additional set of skills and experiences to support the firm’s vision. I welcome Karim into the DarkMatter family.”

Sabbagh most recently served as President and CEO of Luxembourg-based communications satellite owner and operator, SES.

Prior to joining SES, Sabbagh spent more than 15 years working in management consultancy with Booz & Co (Strategy&, Booz Allen Hamilton). At the time of his departure from Booz & Co in 2013, Sabbagh was a senior partner and a global practice leader for communications, media and technology.

While at Booz & Co, Sabbagh shaped and served the strategic agenda of global players in the communications, media and technology sectors. He led end-to-end multinational teams in long-term, large-scale privatisations, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, growth acceleration and strategy-based transformation programmes.

Karim Sabbagh said: “DarkMatter is a remarkable organisation that is truly living its goal to disrupt the cyber security market by taking a new approach to the way in which nations, organisations and individuals are secured against cyber threats.

“It is exciting for me to return to the vibrant Middle East region having spent a number of years away, and to lead one of only a handful of full-service cyber security firms present in the world today. I look forward to contributing to building a global cyber security powerhouse in arguably the most significant industry of our time.”

Academically, Sabbagh holds an MS in Technology Management from Columbia University, a DBA (Doctorate) in International Business Management from the International School of Management (Paris), and an MBA and BBA from the American University of Beirut.  He is a visiting professor in Technology and Innovation Management and member of the Academic Council of Écoles des Ponts Business School.

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