(MENAFN - Arab News) The board of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) re-elected Saleh Kamel as its chairman on Thursday.
Last week's polls brought in 12 board members, while the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, appointed another six members to the board.
Mazen Batterjee also retained his position as vice chairman. The board elected veteran member Ziad Al-Bassam as its second vice chairman over first-time member Abdul Aziz Al-Sorayai. Al-Bassam was chosen to represent businessmen and replaced Lama Al-Sulaiman.
The first meeting of the 21st elected board began at 11 a.m. at the JCCI's headquarters and lasted nearly three hours.
Kamel said the board identified 14 goals for its term. He said the board would soon announce the sectoral committees.
Al-Sulaiman, who previously held the second vice chairperson position, was not in the fray. The Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah appointed her to the board. Abdullah Meri was elected as representative of the board of Saudi Chambers.
Al-Bassam, Batterjee, Al-Sorayai, Nuasar Al-Sulami, Mohammed Khoja, Khalaf Al-Otaibi, Fahd Al-Sulami, Hassan Al-Sahafi, Abdullah Binmahfouz, Fayez Al-Harbi, Ahmed Al-Marbaee and Saeed Binzagr won seats through the elections.
The commerce minister appointed Kamel, Hassan Abu Taleb, Emad Al-Muhaideb, Hani Saab and Sarah Baghdadi onto the board.
In the merchant category, Al-Sulami secured the most votes, with 846 votes. Binzagr in the industrial category polled the lowest, with 117 votes.
Many of the members who won the polls said they wanted to occupy the vice chairman position. None of them, however, nominated themselves.
The final appointments, some said, were the result of tacit agreements prior to the meetings and that there was little by way of competition between the members.
The first decision taken by the board was to retain Adnan Mandourah as the secretary general of the chamber.
In a press conference held after the meeting, Kamel said that he only accepted being chairman of the chamber on the condition that a poll to select board members be held every two years. "Each one of the 18 members has an area to handle and tasks to carry out during the next four years," he said.
He told Arab News that "the new board is a distinguished one because of the extensive expertise of the members who have been re-elected."
"For the first time among Saudi chambers, I am calling for holding the polls every two years. The objective is to open an opportunity for those who can contribute significantly and to continuously renew blood during the four years of the session," he said.
He said that the new board drew up a committee that would begin work today to review the programs promised during the campaign to ascertain which initiatives can be implemented.
"We will also form a new executive committee next week, whose members will be selected in the next meeting to handle pressing matters that require on-the-spot decisions," he said.
Batterjee said that "one contender who did not win in the polls filed an objection against the results of three candidates, including myself."
"One of the priorities of the board will be to complete the new chamber headquarters, which will be finished within a year from now if work continues at a consistent pace," he said.