Abraaj hires EMPEA chief for top brass role

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The Abraaj Group, a Dubai-based private equity and venture capital firm, has handed a top managerial role to Sarah Alexander, head and co-founder of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), an independent global business promotion body.

In her new job, which she takes up next month, Alexander will look after the North American stakeholders of Abraaj, which is also known as Abraaj Capital and does business in about 30 countries, the Middle East firm said in a statement.

Meanwhile, she is stepping down from EMPEA. The Washington-headquartered non-profit organisation has announced that she will be provisionally replaced by one of her current deputies, Jennifer Choi.

Abraaj, which is an EMPEA member, puts it to Alexander’s credit that the association has boosted its membership to more than 300 firms representing 60 countries and today has more than one trillion dollars’ worth of assets under management.

Alexander said Abraaj, which operates in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Turkey and seeks to invest in Latin America, “has been central to shifting private equity in growth markets from a fringe alternative asset class to a crucial investment class it is today”.

Alexander was a private equity investor in Asia from 1999 to 2004, when she took up the reins at EMPEA.

Earlier on, she worked at the World Bank and in the international trade and finance policies unit of the US State Department. She began her career as a foreign policy adviser in the US House of Representatives.

Alexander is “a frequent contributor to industry research, a speaker at major industry conferences, and a commentator on emerging markets private equity for leading print, broadcast and digital media”, EMPEA says in a short biography on its website.

She serves on the board of trustees of Meridian International Center and the Society for International Development in Washington, and has been an adjunct professor of finance at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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