CFI.co Meets the CEO of Aluminium Bahrain: Tim Murray

From a numbers guy of an automotive company to the CEO of one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters, Tim Murray has travelled a very interesting journey.

As a certified public accountant from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, Mr Murray worked hard crunching numbers at his job with a family-owned furniture retailer in Washington DC. Eventually, he landed a job with ARC Automotive, where he met John Skladan, the man who became his mentor and introduced him to the businesses of marketing, engineering, and production. In due course, Mr Murray was made CFO of the company and was integral to ARC Automotive’s global expansion.

In March 2006, Tim Murray responded to an advert seeking an executive in Bahrain. “I didn’t know anything about the Middle East. I looked up Bahrain online and saw that it was next to Saudi Arabia.” Next thing, he was offered the position of Alba’s General Manager of Finance in February 2007.

“I went to Bahrain with an open mind. The culture of the country was very progressive and the people were warm and friendly. Also, English was widely spoken and understood.”

In 2009, Mr Murray was named as chief financial officer. He successfully led Alba’s IPO in 2010 as well as the company’s dual listing on the London Stock Exchange and the Bahrain Bourse.

In October 2012, Mr Murray was made Alba’s CEO. In his new job, the first thing he focused on was improving the safety culture at Alba: “Safety was my biggest concern and also my biggest challenge since I was from a financial background with no knowledge of safety. But, I was clear on one account: if you cannot work safety, you cannot work here.”

Mr Murray implemented a strong safety culture at Alba, imposed top-down and focused on the establishment of a zero-accident work environment as its guiding principle. His relentless efforts coupled with the strong support from Alba’s board and management soon made the company an industrial safety champion and an example in the region.

Mr Murray also gave a new dimension to Alba. He believed that in order to be successful, Alba had to look at aluminium production as a business. He argued that the company’s employees, or human capital, was its biggest asset, and with the right education and training, these employees will ensure Alba lasting success.

Mr Murray also boosted the culture of learning at Alba and focused on training programmes and development initiatives to prepare future corporate leaders: “There is nothing more valuable than education. A strong learning culture helps build a productive workforce and develops communication skills. It also strengthens the ability for strategic thinking which significantly enhances productivity.”

Mr Murray is currently in charge of one of the most crucial and biggest industrial projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain – the Line 6 Expansion Project. “We have been preparing many years for this mega project and see it as a great opportunity to leverage our expertise to grow the company.”

In 2017, Mr Murray was recognised as a CEO Who Gets It by the US National Safety Council for his contributions on Safety, Health, and Environment: “I believe in doing more than necessary. Our aim is not just to accomplish our targets, but to achieve excellence and beyond. This becomes even more critical as Alba goes down the path of becoming the largest single-site smelter in the world upon the commissioning of the Line 6 Expansion Project.”


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