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BP two in top BAME leaders list

Two BP leaders, Orlando Alvarez and Hesham Mekawi, have been named in the ‘UPstanding’ list of 100 top black Asian minority ethnic (BAME) professionals, published in the Financial Times
Orlando Alvarez (left) and Hesham Mekawi (right)
Mekawi was placed 59th and Alvarez 74th in the UPstanding top 100 power list, which showcases and ranks BAME professionals after a nomination and judging process
 

Hesham Mekawi

Mekawi, who is Egyptian, is BP’s regional president for North Africa, responsible for $4-billion of annual investments in four countries and a workforce of around 10,000 in BP and its joint ventures. From 2001 to 2013, he was regional president of BP Egypt. He previously worked in London and Houston for Amoco and BP in commercial and economic roles. He holds an MBA from Boston University and an engineering degree from Cairo University.

 

His listing in the UPstanding Top 100 reflects the work he has done to support the creation of a more national workforce, particularly in Egypt. When he became regional president, only 35% of staff were Egyptian, whereas today the figure is around 85%, with 90% of leadership team roles based in Egypt held by nationals.

 

He said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be recognized among such eminent leaders who all strive to achieve broader diversity in their workplaces. Throughout my career with BP leading to my current role as regional president for North Africa, I have seen first-hand that with the right leadership and a supportive environment, there are no boundaries to what a person can achieve and I have endeavoured to create an environment where promising nationals can succeed and become leaders in their own right.”

I have seen first-hand that with the right leadership and a supportive environment, there are no boundaries to what a person can achieve.

Mekawi’s nomination was supported by Bernard Looney, chief executive officer, Upstream, who said: “It’s fantastic to see Hesham recognised in this way. It is a testament to his success in delivering business results, passion for building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and making a real difference to local communities. He is an exceptional leader.”

 

Mekawi has led contributions to the Egyptian community that include providing opportunities for talented Egyptian post-graduates to study in the UK, as well as support for health, education and business programmes. He has personally worked with organizations that train students in business skills and offer finance to small enterprises.

Orlando Alvarez

Orlando Alvarez, who comes from Cuba, is regional business leader with North America Gas and Power, responsible for all natural gas and liquids, power and derivatives marketing and trading in North America. Since 2001, the business has grown from 50 employees to 1,000 and now has some 3,500 customers. Alvarez has worked across several regions in North America and took on the leadership role, based in Houston, in 2012. He previously held a variety of commercial positions, including natural gas trader, originator and transportation representative.

 

He is directly involved in recruiting as BP’s global executive sponsor at the University of Michigan and Michigan State and personally mentors employees from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. He is also executive sponsor in North America for BP Pride – the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business resource group. Orlando came to the United States at the age of three; living in New York until his move to Texas in 1975 where he attended Lamar University and received a degree in accounting.

As executives we must do our part to not only drive a diverse and inclusive culture within our respective organizations, but also take this responsibility beyond our remit.

Alverez said: “It is truly an honour to have been selected to the UPstanding Top 100 executives list. As executives we must do our part to not only drive a diverse and inclusive culture within our respective organizations, but also take this responsibility beyond our remit. In other words, we should take every opportunity available to reach further out into our communities, industry etc., reinforcing the messages and influencing where we feel further work needs to be done.”

 

Alvarez’s nomination was supported by Paul Reed, CEO of integrated supply and trading, who said: “Orlando runs the largest gas and power wholesaling and trading company in North America and has steered the business from strength to strength. He is a passionate and effective contributor to our comprehensive diversity agenda including race, gender, veterans, LGBT, age and other strands. He sets a high standard for ethical and respectful behaviour and as a result is transforming a huge organization into a truly inclusive and successful company.”

 

Peter Duff, head of diversity and inclusion, EMEA, added: “When we talk about diversity and inclusion in BP, we mean in thoughts and actions, not just at how people look or their orientation. Diverse talent can only thrive in an inclusive culture where everyone is valued and treated equally. Both Hesham and Orlando have championed exactly that kind of culture and we are proud of their recognition.”

Diverse talent can only thrive in an inclusive culture where everyone is valued and treated equally.Peter Duff