Fethi Khiari: A Visionary Leader Steering United Foods Company To Success

Fethi Khiari: A Visionary Leader Steering United Foods Company To Success

Fethi Khiari, CEO

Fethi Khiari


In today's fast-paced world, the need for quality food has become more important than ever. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact of their food choices on their health, well-being, and the environment. One of the pioneer Emirati business groups, United Foods Company, understands the circumstances and strives to provide quality food solutions that meet the highest standards. With a clear vision to provide safe, nutritious, and flavourful products of the highest quality at an affordable price, the company is also guided by a mission to become a leading food company in the region while fulfilling its responsibility to society and the environment. United Foods Company upholds core values such as integrity, excellence, innovation, and social responsibility, which serves as guiding principles in all aspects of its operations.

At the helm of the organization is Fethi Khiari, a seasoned professional with a diverse background and extensive experience in the field. As the CEO of United Foods Company, Fethi's expertise is instrumental in driving the organization's success. His commitment to continuous learning and staying updated with the latest trends empowers him to lead United Foods Company in adapting to market changes and evolving customer needs. He prioritizes quality in products and services, ensuring that United Foods Company delivers exceptional offerings that exceed customer expectations.

In an insightful interview with CEO Insights Asia, Fethi Khiari shares his remarkable professional journey while providing a comprehensive overview of United Foods Company.

Give a brief account of your professional background and experiences?

After studying Journalism and Political Sciences in Paris, I entered the local commodities trading market, handling coffee, sugar, and wool. Concurrently, I wrote for AlIktisad Wal Amal, a prominent Arab Business Magazine, focusing on Euro-Arab economic and business relations. Nestle later offered me an intensive marketing training in Switzerland and Spain for their Frozen Food division.

Over the next eight years, I oversaw sales, marketing, and supply chain divisions between Mexico, Tunisia, and Egypt. I later joined Chupa Chups, a company renowned for its empowerment culture which was a transformative step in my journey.

After years of countless experiences, what still drives my passion for this role is my love for the industry and desire to make a positive impact on the organization and the society. As a leader, it is essential to have a clear sense of purpose and will to succeed in achieving my goals.

How has your path to success been and what is your success mantra?

In my diverse career spanning four decades, I've gained valuable experiences and perspectives across various industries and roles. Hard work, perseverance, continuous learning, and adaptability have been crucial to my success. Passion for my work and delivering exceptional results has always been my driving forces.

Lifelong learning has played a pivotal role in my journey. I eagerly pursue new knowledge through courses, seminars, and extensive reading to stay ahead and remain relevant. Building and nurturing strong relationships with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders have also been instrumental in my achievements. Collaboration and fostering a culture of teamwork are essential values I uphold. In addition, being a people-oriented individual is a key performance enabler.

How would you define United Foods Company as an organization and its current position in the market?

United Foods Company offers safe, nutritious, and affordable products to ensure utmost customer satisfaction. Our aim is to become the region's top food company, delivering quality food solutions while fulfilling our responsibility to society and the environment.

As a renowned brand, United Foods Company holds a significant position in the market. Our heritage and authentic brand portfolio distinguishes us. With the oldest oil refinery in the region, our equity brand 'Aseel' is highly regarded in the oils and fats category. We dominate the vegetable ghee and margarine category with 79 percent and 81 percent market share, respectively. Operating in 60+ countries, we enjoy prestige and leadership status. Our company adapts to market changes and continuously evolves to meet customers’ demands.

Tell us about your leadership approach and the guidelines/methodologies you follow to lead your team.

At United Foods, I strongly believe in the significance of effective leadership for organizational success. As a leader, I prioritize leading by example and empowering my team to unleash their full potential. Trust, respect, and accountability form the bedrock of our culture, where every team member is valued and supported. To foster such an environment, I adhere to proven guidelines and methodologies; these include setting clear goals and expectations, encouraging open communication, leading by example, empowering my team to make decisions and learn from their mistakes, coaching and rewarding hard work and achievements.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?

For United Foods, leading the food industry means to be better than others in improving and innovating, which means meeting the customer’s ever evolving needs. We'll expand globally while delivering highquality products and services aligned with our values. Sustainability is paramount hence we always work on reducing environmental impact through lower carbon footprint, waste reduction, and promoting sustainable farming. Ultimately, we aim to be recognized for exceptional offerings and positive contributions to society. We are proud that with our ghee, we are contributing to maintain and strengthen authentic cuisines with much differentiated profiles and tastes. By pursuing this vision, we create longterm value for customers, employees, stakeholders, and the world.

What advice would you give to the budding industry leaders?

Here's my advice. Build a strong team: Surround yourself with talented, motivated individuals who share your vision; Embrace change: Adapt to new circumstances, be open to new ideas and technologies, and take calculated risks. Remember to give back every day to your inner circle and to the Society; Put customers first: Prioritize their health, their taste, and their needs and exceed their expectations in every way possible; Focus on quality: Make quality a top priority in products and services; Continuously learn and improve: Stay updated with latest trends, invest in personal and professional development.

Fethi Khiari, CEO, United Foods Company Dubai, UAE

Fethi Khiari is a highly accomplished and dynamic Senior Executive renowned for his results-driven approach and strategic thinking. As the CEO of United Foods Company, he has demonstrated expertise in various areas, including Start-up & Turnaround Operations, Strategic Alliances, Organic Business Growth, Project Management Cross-functional Liaison, Strategic Management & Leadership, Training & Development, and Brand Development.

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