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Taking a Back Seat
3 months ago by Christina Massaad

Taking a Back Seat

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My husband would say that's a great idea - I make a terrible passenger seat driver, always putting my foot on the brakes that unfortunately don't exist on my side of the car, and screaming at every vehicle that comes close. I'm much quieter sat in the back, taking in the views as we pass the hills and beaches of Cyprus.

We have worked together for almost 24 years, Antoun and I, without any issues - but put us on a 2-mile car journey together (if he is in the driving seat) and we fight like cat and dog! People often ask me how I can work with my husband and I'm never really sure how to answer them but it has seemed to work very well. We leave our married life at "home" and work professionally as a great partnership. 

Our Mutual Traits

He is adventurous, ambitious, confident, driven, highly motivated, strictly self-disciplined, and full of passion for the work that we do and I'm much more laid back, detail-oriented, organized 'just enough to get by' but very sensible, risk-averse, and motivated by helping others and achieving recognition for the great work our teams are doing every day. Our mutual traits include wanting to always be the best in our field and striving for excellence, whilst making the journey fun, appreciating, and enjoying the present moment.

So, I guess we have balanced each other out well, whilst keeping standards high - and that's why we've been able to bring Cedar Rose to it's current level of success and achieve our initial aim of bringing data for the Middle East and North Africa (the Arabic speaking countries) in line with Europe and the USA in terms of availability.

It Wasn't Easy!

Now that we've achieved our initial objective, set back in 1997 (it wasn't an easy task, and we did have a few major setbacks - pretty much the four horsemen of the apocalypse came our way), Cedar Rose has moved on to much bigger and actually more easily achievable goals now that we have the technology in place:

Following the demand for UBO data, we are now including UBO hierarchy charts in our credit reports, and in several of our due diligence products.

  • We are soon launching a brand new version of our subscription CRiS which will enable our subscribers to access instant KYC and credit data on over 126 million companies around the globe. Probably more by the time the platform is finalised in Q1 of 2021.
  • We will have an automated instant compliance check available on almost any entity via our website and our new subscription also within Q1 2021.
  • We are supplying credit reports and due diligence with an ever-expanding global coverage either instantly via API solutions or with in-depth, thorough, manual research.
  • We are scaling up our identity verification services, offering coverage of more and more countries for both instant electronic KYB and KYC checks.

And there is even more very exciting news coming soon for the banking and finance sector. (Watch this space!) Follow our LinkedIn company page to know all about it when the time comes.

For me personally, as the headline suggests, I'm planning to take a back seat. From the start of the new year, 2021, I'll be leaving my role as Managing Director and becoming a Non-Executive Director. It's taken several years to reach this stage in my life, building a robust, loyal, and extremely bright management team who are now more than capable of handling Antoun by themselves. Oops, did I say that out loud? I meant "more than capable of handling all the tasks involved in managing our fast-moving and rapidly growing enterprise".

A Welcome Step Back

It's not a retirement, but it is a welcome step back, and I'm hoping to have the time to put to paper the story behind Cedar Rose - the story of Antoun and I - before I forget all the intricate details. You'll still find me here - standing on the sidelines, cheerleading occasionally, and helping the team to reach important strategic decisions whenever I can. It would be impossible not to be involved in major decisions when my husband is at the helm, as any supportive wife would know. Behind every great man, so the saying goes...

Almost 24 years ago, I said I would help Antoun with setting up Cedar Rose, having just had two babies, one after the other. I think I can safely say, that job is finally done. Now, it's time for me to stand back, to know that I have fed and watered it well, supported it through its amazing journey from one country to another, to a third and now a fourth; through war, corruption, economic crises, and now a pandemic without even so much as a bank loan or overdraft since 1999; and to watch it grow. 

The future of Cedar Rose is just beginning and a new page is starting for me too.

Thank you so much to everyone in the business community who has made this journey fun, to the colleagues I've worked with and those who I will still see quite often. Always remember that success is a journey, not a destination. Make the most of every opportunity, relish every challenge, and be sure to enjoy the ride. I know I did, most of the time at least.

If you would like to contact me, please email christina.massaad@cedar-rose.com or visit my LinkedIn profile here www.linkedin.com/in/christina-massaad/

  • Christina Massaad