Abdullah Al Khateeb: The Torchbearer Of Ittihad Paper Mill’s Success

Abdullah Al Khateeb: The Torchbearer Of Ittihad Paper Mill’s Success

Abdullah Al Khateeb, CEO

Abdullah Al Khateeb


The UAE's paper industry has evolved to meet domestic demand while taking advantage of its geographical location for international trade. Amid this market growth, Ittihad Paper Mill has played a key role in the development of the paper industry in the UAE. The company's position as the largest printing and writing factory in the Gulf Cooperation Council reflects its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and quality. Under the leadership of Abdullah Al Khateeb, Managing Director, IPM has demonstrated remarkable growth and resilience.

A seasoned professional with a diverse background in both technology and business, Abdullah's educational background includes studying chemical engineering at the University of Science & Technology Jordan, followed by an MBA from the prestigious Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, Scotland. As Managing Director of Ittihad Paper Mill, Abdullah Al Khateeb is at the helm of a paper processing company. His strategic advice has made Ittihad paper mill a major player not only in the UAE but worldwide. It is Abdullah's leadership that has enabled IPM to overcome challenges, seize opportunities and solidify its position as an industry leader. Let's hear more from him in this interaction.

Throw some light on your professional history and background. What is it that drives your daily routines?

With thirty-years’ experience in the paper industry, I've had the privilege to work in diverse regions including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, UAE. Throughout my career, I've made significant contributions to pioneering projects within the UAE, reshaping the manufacturing landscape. My focus has primarily been on the dynamic Paper, Tissue Paper & Copper market, where I've played a crucial role in driving regional growth and leading various trade ventures.

The daily complexities of market challenges serve as a continuous wellspring of motivation and passion. Devising solutions tailored to our clients' requirements and observing the positive outcomes fuels my determination. Additionally, the drive to expand our capabilities, tap into new markets, optimizing manufacturing output, and make decisions that consistently benefit the company keeps me alert and engaged throughout the day. This shared commitment pushes me to tackle each challenge and seize every opportunity with resolute dedication.

How do you characterize Ittihad Paper Mill as an organization and evaluate its current standing in the market?

IPM stands out as a remarkable landmark, being the largest and most prominent paper mill for printing and writing in the Middle East. Beyond its expansive size, it is distinguished by its pioneering use of technology, integration of artificial intelligence, and a highly experienced workforce, making it a true innovator in its industry. However, its true excellence lies in the unmatched quality it consistently delivers, establishing the regional standard and even serving as a yardstick for others to follow.

Notably, even in the face of challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, logistical intricacies, and shortages of raw materials, IPM successfully overcame these hurdles and commenced exporting to over 50 countries in just a span of two years. This remarkable achievement underscores our unwavering resolve and the exceptional proficiency of our team.

At present, IPM has firmly cemented its reputation as a global frontrunner, renowned for its exceptional quality, unwavering client satisfaction, streamlined logistical operations, and top-notch customer service. Our journey exemplifies a dedication to excellence that has firmly established us as one of the world's foremost paper mills.

The company's position as the largest printing and writing factory in the gulf cooperation council reflects its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and quality

Share information about your flagship offerings and the additional value that customers can anticipate from them.

Thanks to our strategically advantageous location in the Middle East, we present a distinctive benefit to our clients. Those within the region experience swift delivery times, often receiving their orders within a short span of time. This efficient logistics network not only saves them valuable time but also precious resources. As manufacturers, our competitive pricing sets us apart, stemming from our capability to utilize premium raw materials and cutting-edge technology. This emphasis on excellence ensures that our quality remains unparalleled, serving as a clear testament to our unwavering commitment.

In comparison to our competitors, our quality stands at the pinnacle, earning esteemed recognition from our clients. Reflecting our success, clients now specifically request products from Ittihad Paper Mill, an accomplishment we hold in high regard. Our array of products covers various grades, GSM levels, and shades, providing our clients with precise expectations upon receipt.

Furthermore, transparency is a priority for us. We offer distinct grade options that are tailored to different requirements. Our clientele can be confident in consistency and predictability, as each order is aligned precisely with their specifications.

Could you elaborate on the sustainable practices implemented by Ittihad Paper Mill in its operations and the company's aspirations for a sustainable future?

Within Ittihad Paper Mill, our dedication to sustainability resonates throughout our operations. We take immense pride in our contributions to both the environment and society as a whole. A noteworthy aspect of our commitment is the pivotal role played by IPM in actively absorbing all CO2 emissions generated by our boilers, resulting in our status as a carbon-neutral entity. Furthermore, a substantial 35 percent of our raw materials are locally sourced, which stands as a testament to our firm support for the UAE's economy.

The reverberations of our efforts extend even more widely. As a prominent exporter of raw materials, particularly paper, we make a significant contribution to the UAE's export-oriented economy. Impressively, a substantial 95 percent of our production reaches beyond the borders of the UAE, amplifying our positive influence on a global level.

Through these initiatives, we actively contribute to a greener environment and a more sustainable society. Our diverse workforce, composed of individuals from various corners of the world, including Emiratis, indirectly bolsters the UAE's economy, highlighting our comprehensive approach to sustainability.

Share your approach to leadership. What principles or methodologies guide your leadership style?

My leadership style is characterized by active involvement; I seldom confine myself to my office. Instead, I'm consistently on the move, engaging with individuals across all levels and closely overseeing the intricate processes that culminate in the production of superior paper. This hands-on approach enables me to swiftly address challenges at their origin, underscoring my belief that timely issue resolution is a hallmark of effective leadership.

For me, my team functions as an extension of my family. We unite around a common goal, and achieving that goal signifies successful leadership. I place significant emphasis on acknowledging the efforts of my team, whether through gestures of gratitude or tangible rewards. Recognition stands as a cornerstone of my leadership philosophy. Furthermore, I am a strong proponent of continuous learning. Through well-planned training.

initiatives, conducted in collaboration with our HR department, I ensure that our team maintains up-to-date technical expertise and managerial strategies. This commitment to ongoing education helps us stay at the forefront of our field.

What is the ultimate destination you are working towards?

At present, our primary focus centers on consolidation rather than expansion. Our objective is to fortify our existing position and capitalize on our current standing. Our clients are well-informed about our location, capacity, and the exceptional quality we deliver. Instead of pursuing sheer growth in scale, our central aim is to consistently amplify the value we offer to our esteemed clientele.

While we maintain an openness to exploring new markets, this endeavor will only be pursued if it aligns with feasibility and presents strategic advantages. Currently, our strategy revolves around cementing our presence within the Middle East.

What advice would you offer to emerging leaders in this domain?

In today's dynamic landscape, effective leadership pivots on the ability to comprehend the obvious and translate initiatives into tangible results. Your decisions should be grounded in factual insights and past knowledge, leading to actions that drive the company towards its ultimate goals.

The journey of a leader requires patience, continuous learning, and a comprehensive accumulation of experience before fully embracing the role of leadership. The process of evolving into a skilled leader demands a blend of patience and the accumulation of experiences, forming a robust groundwork for effective leadership.

Mistakes, which are inevitable, should be embraced as steppingstones for growth. However, a prudent approach suggests that these learning opportunities should not come at excessive costs. This journey involves a nuanced interplay of learning, experiencing, refining, deciding, and executing – a blueprint for nurturing astute and impactful leadership.

Abdullah Al Khateeb, Managing Director, Ittihad Paper Mill

Abdullah Al Khateeb hails from Jordan and holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the prestigious University of Science & Technology, Jordan. He further enriched his knowledge with an MBA from Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, Scotland. Currently, Abdullah serves as CEO at Industrial Capital Group, a reputable private holding conglomerate with an impressive annual turnover of around AED 8 billion. His leadership spans various significant roles, showcasing his diverse expertise.

Favorite Cuisine: Japanese

Favorite Book: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Favorite Travel Destination: Rome

Awards & Recognition:

1. Featured in the book named “Successful people in Malaysia” in 2022

2. Featured in Top 10 Loss Adjustment Companies by Business Outlook magazine


Current Issue