General Counsel at Emirates International Investment Company
Vanessa Abernethy is the General Counsel at Emirates International Investment Company, which she joined in 2015 to manage legal, governance and regulatory compliance issues.
Abernethy’s two decades of legal experience includes corporate transactional and advisory projects, advising on M&A transactions, joint ventures, securities offerings and IPOs. In addition to her extensive work in the UAE since 2005, including as Partner with international law firms, Abernethy’s legal background includes two and a half years working for the New Zealand Stock Exchange.
In 2019, Abernethy was included in the Financial News’s list of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Middle East Finance. She was also involved in the establishment of the UAE Chapter of 100 Women in Finance, and has regular involvement with initiatives related to women in the UAE’s finance sector.
Abernethy holds a LLB and B.Com from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) was formed on 1 January, 1992, by a decree issued by the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to merge Dubai Electricity Company and Dubai Water Department, which had been operating independently before then. Both organisations were established by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1959. Dubai Government fully supported the Electricity Company and the Water Department to provide Dubai’s citizens and residents with a continuous and reliable supply of electricity and water. Since then, DEWA has made considerable achievements, to be ranked as one of the best utilities in the world. DEWA provides services today to more than 900,000 customers with a happiness rate that reached 95% in 2018.
The UAE, represented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has maintained its first global ranking, for the third consecutive year, with scores of 100% in all Getting Electricity indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. The report measures the ease of doing business in 190 economies around the world. DEWA achieved competitive results in global benchmarking, surpassing the private sector and major European and American utilities in efficiency and reliability. DEWA raised the efficiency of its energy production by using the latest technologies and adopting technological innovations, surpassing European and American utilities, by reducing losses from electricity transmission and distribution networks to 3.3% compared to 6–7% in the US and Europe. DEWA also achieved the lowest customer minutes lost per year (CML) in the world of 2.39 CML compared to 15 minutes in Europe and was also able to reduce water network losses to 6.5% in 2018 compared to 15% in North America, which is one of the best results in the world.