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Saudi Aramco Partners with Sutherland and IAU on Social Development Program for Women in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco partners with Sutherland and IAU on a social development program for women in Saudi Arabia. Read more about the partnership here.

MAY 17, 2018

Dammam, Saudi Arabia, May 17, 2018: Sutherland, the process transformation company, today announced a three-way partnership with Saudi Arabia-based Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), one of the largest universities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, and Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, whereby the company will train up to 3,000 local women in an effort to create a sustainable, commercial and social development model for women in the region.

The documents were signed on behalf of the University by Dr. Abdullah H. Alkadi, Vice President for Studies, Development and Community Services, and by Ziad T. Murshed, New Business Development Executive Director for Saudi Aramco. Representing Sutherland was Andrew Zimmerman, President, Sutherland Digital.

Saudi Aramco Partners with Sutherland and IAU on Social Development Program for Women in Saudi Arabia

The agreement signed in Khobar, Dammam, Saudi Arabia today is in line with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s national transformation program set forth by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Kingdom's Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. Under the agreement, Sutherland plans to train over 3,000 qualified Saudi National women and provide employment to them through both the University Delivery Model as well as a Remote ‘work from home’ model, which Sutherland has successfully implemented in several other countries.

“We are delighted today at IAU to welcome our strategic partners, Saudi Aramco and Sutherland, to this momentous occasion: the signing of an agreement to establish the first ‘Center of Excellence’ in ‘Digital Transformation – Business Processes’ in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. This initiative would not have been possible without the resolve and determination of our president, Prof. Dr. Abdullah Robaish, to strategically align our university with His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s vision for 2030,” said Prof. Dr. Abdullah H. Alkadi of IAU. “Foreseeing the opportunities of training and employment for our female graduates, our president entrusted Vice President Prof. Dr. Abdullah Alkadi to provide every possible support needed for the success of the new Center of Excellence. The University’s Resource Development Unit, Alumni and Career Development Center and the Center for Continuous joined forces to offer support and assistance to the execution of the agreement.”

“We are honored to take part in the empowerment of women in the region, advancing careers, adding leading-edge skills and supporting our clients in their digital transformation initiatives,” Zimmerman said. “Industry and government entities need professionals with knowledge and experience in the application of machine learning and artificial-intelligence technologies to enhance customer experience, improve transaction processing and support intelligent data management. The Saudi Arabian market is poised for innovation, and this program is indicative of the power of digital transformation to not only evolve businesses, but also build the future workforce.”

Saudi Aramco Partners with Sutherland and IAU on Social Development Program for Women in Saudi Arabia

Centers of Excellence

Through this strategic partnership, Sutherland plans to build a Center of Excellence (COE) at IAU for multinational clients. The University will be making significant investments in setting up this world-class delivery center, and will also offer its captive teaching hospitals in their university premises as potential clients for the Healthcare COE that Sutherland plans to launch. In the future, Sutherland will target global clients with interest in the Saudi Arabian market, as well as large corporate and government organizations based in the Kingdom for its COE.

Proven Global Track Record

Sutherland has in the past created a highly successful, first-of-its-kind remote worker model for national women for a leading bank in Al Ain, UAE. The company also built an all-women (nationals only) Revenue Accounting Center of Excellence for Etihad Airlines and other notable customers – the largest center in the UAE creating jobs previously unheard of for national women in the region. In addition, Sutherland has partnered with the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, creating professional employment for over 5,000 people and developing the student community for careers in digital commerce, logistics, supply chain management and financial services. Sutherland leverages advanced analytics, robotic process automation and an “always-on” enterprise data exchange platform, connecting multinational organizations to the assets and skillsets of people around the world.

Foray into Saudi Arabia

Sutherland has had a presence in the Middle East since 2007 with delivery centers in UAE and Egypt. With Saudi Arabia being the largest market in the GCC, Sutherland has been looking to enter the Kingdom. This partnership with IAU and Saudi Aramco is in line with the company’s plans to expand its presence in the GCC.

“We commend the leadership of the Kingdom in supporting initiatives to provide high-value services using state-of-the-art technologies,” Zimmerman said. “By building capabilities at scale, we are promoting both public and private efforts to digitize processes, gain greater efficiency and deliver measurable outcomes. We are confident our work with Saudi Aramco and IAU will further growth and development for organizations in the region looking to digitally transform.”

The relationship between the parties has matured over the past several years, as has the enabling technology infrastructure, government policies and potential for commercial digital process transformation in Saudi Arabia. While Sutherland competes with larger multinational organizations, consultancies and technology providers, the company is set apart by its management philosophy, leadership team and unmatched commitment to create great employee and customer experiences, economic value and social equity.

In addition to the signed agreement, the parties met with executives from Johns Hopkins University, Mouwasat Medical Services in Damman and Aramco. In addition to Zimmerman, Sutherland staff members present were: Dr. Graham Hughes, Chief Executive, Sutherland Healthcare; Kumar Subramanian, SVP Banking and Head of Middle East Development; Amal Gabal, Director, Middle East Development; Dan Lang, SVP Customer Relations and Head of Corporate Social Impact; and KS Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer. The Sutherland team was received by key IAU faculty, including Dr. Khalid Abdulrahman Al Falah, Dean of the College of Business Administration, and Dr. Sumayah Al-Solaiman, Dean of the College of Design. Following, Dr. Suliman Shahin, Chair of the Alumni and Career Development Center, and Lena Ahmed Darweesh, Chair of the Industrial Design Department, introduced the COE leadership team members to the student community at an event attended by his Royal Highness, Prince Ahmed bin Fahd bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of the Eastern Province.


About Sutherland

As a process transformation company, Sutherland rethinks and rebuilds processes for the digital age by combining the speed and insight of design thinking with the scale and accuracy of data analytics. We have been helping customers across industries from financial services to healthcare, achieve greater agility through transformed and automated customer experiences for over 30 years. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Sutherland employs thousands of professionals spanning 20 countries around the world. To learn more, please visit us at

About Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco is a leading global integrated energy and chemicals company. We are driven by the core belief that energy is opportunity. From producing approximately one in every eight barrels of the world’s oil supply to developing new energy technologies, our global team is dedicated to creating impact in all that we do. We focus on making our resources more dependable, more sustainable and more useful. This helps promote stability and long-term growth around the world.

About IAU

Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University opened its doors to women and men in 1975 with two pioneering colleges, the College of Medicine and the College of Architecture. Almost four decades later this academic institution has grown into a leading research university with 21 colleges spread throughout the Eastern Province and a student population of over 45,000. As the preeminent research-based institution, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University continues to grow and develop, continually assessing and improving its curricula and expanding its academic capabilities in all disciplines, while at the same time engaging the public in addressing environmental and community challenges.

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