Yasser Akkaoui is a corporate governance activist and publisher. Since 2005, he has been advising companies and regulators in the Middle East on how to embed a culture of accountability and transparency in their corporate culture. In media, Akkaoui is the publisher of Executive magazine since 2001, a platform he uses to advocate for reforms in the Middle East. He is often invited to speak at international conferences on the topic of corporate governance and his insight has contributed to the publication of reports discussing the development of policies and reforms in the Arab World.
Akkaoui is actively involved in civil society in the Middle East. He has been a committee member of Human Rights Watch in the Middle East since 2010. In April 2010, he was invited to Washington by US president Barack Obama, along with delegates from around the world invested in advancing entrepreneurship, to discuss the state of entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa.
Since 2011, Akkaoui is the chairman of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), the most respected think tank in the Middle East. Established in 1989, it operates as an independently managed, politically neutral, think tank initiating many advocacy initiatives for judicial reforms, transparent budget process, decentralization and local governance, and the enhancement of the function of business associations in policy making.
Akkaoui founded the Center for Strategic Studies, a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness on employment issues and developing resources strategies. The association provides guidance to the government on labor economic policies, especially the strong relationship between foreign direct investment and the labor market.
Through Capital Concept, a company he founded in 2005, Akkaoui advises companies and regulators in the Middle East on corporate governance and was instrumental in the generation of a number of codes. He has advised large companies in the Middle East. He is often invited to deliver presentations on corporate governance in the Middle East.
From 2008 to 2012, he has been a board member of the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA), Transparency International’s Lebanese chapter and through LTA, he has co-founded the Institute of Directors in 2010 which aims on promoting good governance in Lebanon. As of 2014, Akkaoui is on the steering committee of the Middle East and North Africa Private Equity Association.
In 2006, Capital Concept was instrumental in the creation of Hawkama, the Dubai based institute of corporate governance for the Middle East and helped raise funds for its setup.
As a publisher, Akkaoui has been representing the interests of Executive Magazine since 2001, a media platform he uses to advocate reforms in the Middle East. Executive, established in 1999, is dedicated to providing its readers with in-depth and forward thinking analysis, solid reporting and punchy opinion on Middle Eastern business, economy and public policy.
In January 2015, he was elected board member of the Lebanese Order of the Press.
Akkaoui also founded PrimeJob, an executive search advisory firm working along with several established Middle Eastern companies.
Akkaoui teaches business ethics and entrepreneurship at the American University of Beirut (AUB) ant chairs the advisory board of the Lebanese American University (LAU) business school.
Akkaoui has been a strategic partner for the Beirut Art Fair since its inception in 2010. The Beirut Art Fair, held annually, is an exhibition of contemporary art and design from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region featuring 50 galleries in an indoor/outdoor space of 5,000 square meters.