Bassam Al Mutawa
Bassam Al Mutawa is a Kuwaiti businessman who became a major figure in the defense industry by delivering armament contracts between American companies and nations in the Persian Gulf region. Over the last 40 years, he has contributed to the sale of military-grade weapons and equipment with a combined worth of more than $100 billion.
As he leans forward in a lounge chair on the patio of the pool house in his Southern California residence, a beautiful white horse can be seen strutting through a picturesque view of mountainous hillsides blanketed in low-hanging clouds and lush green flora, he turns to me and confidently states, “what I’m working on right now will be worth more than what I’ve made in the last 40 years.”
Long before advanced weapons systems were put in place to detect and deter potential aggressors or the latest fighter aircraft soared across the skies overhead, 1960s Kuwait City was a sleepy Gulf port steaming towards modernity at a record pace. The discovery of rich oil fields nearby combined with an insatiable global demand for fuel sent the town’s economy booming, attracting and minting businessmen of every sector, as well as making it a hub for international commerce.
In short order, mud-brick huts were toppled to make room for glistening office towers, the sight of camels trotting along dirt paths succumbed to luxury cars gliding down newly paved roads, and the population swelled from 179 thousand to approximately 3.2 million.
Although cultural traditions have been carefully preserved by each generation following such great nationwide financial fortune, it’s fair to acknowledge that the Kuwait Bassam Al Mutawa was born into, at least on its surface, no longer exists. “Things are completely different, the whole world has changed, even the United States,” he says, before taking a sip of tea.
Bassam comes from a long line of merchants, his father owned a logistics company. “It was always difficult to transport things in the desert, there were hardly any roads,” he explains. When that bitter reality of life faded thanks to highway networks being rolled out, family members banded together and opened showrooms for car manufacturers like Honda.
The sand dune-dappled landscape surrounding him evolved warm night after starry night, yet one thing remained constant in Bassam’s mind, his capacity to dream big. Finer details weren’t quite so clear during his boyhood – how he would do it, where it’d be done, or who he’d embark upon business ventures with – nonetheless, a vision of an abundant future beckoned in the distance.
“My father allowed my siblings and I to be independent, he never said ‘I want you to be this, I want you to be that,'” Bassam shares. “He did encourage us to do well in school and receive high scores on our exams, but what we were going to do and who we were going to be, that was up to us as individuals.”
The University of Wisconsin
Bassam moved to the city of Milwaukee after gaining acceptance to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned an undergraduate degree in business.
He lived in the United States of America for almost 5 years while completing his education, then returned to Kuwait intent on entering the petroleum and defense industries. “If you focus on something, you will be successful, don’t get fed up or quit when things take time, you must carry on, it could take you years, but be patient, success will find you,” he says reassuringly.
The Career of Bassam Al Mutawa
As the Iran-Iraq War – a conflict responsible for the deaths of around 500,000 people between the years 1980 and 1988 – raged just beyond Kuwait’s border, countries in the region proposed defense objectives to maintain peace for their citizens. Furthermore, they founded the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981, an intergovernmental and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Partially motivated by the carnage taking place mere miles from his hometown, Bassam Al Mutawa recognized an opportunity to play a role in improving the defense capabilities of his own country, as well as that of its neighbors.
His career began with a phone call to Thomson – a French company that specialized in the development and manufacturing of electronics for the aerospace and defense sectors. By the end of the conversation, which covered certain nations’ equipment needs, Al Mutawa managed to secure an in-person meeting with sales representatives.
“From day one, people have said to me that I dream too much, even my own family,” he notes. “When I get a vision in my mind, I make it happen.”
Al Mutawa conducted several presentations at Thomson’s campus and eventually arranged for company representatives to travel to the Middle East and meet political leaders. In time, a contract for the sale of products between the two parties was signed, marking Al Mutawa’s first brokered deal.
“Other companies heard of me and started reaching out, they said they could use my help with growing their business in the region,” he recounts.
In 1986, Al Mutawa contributed to a deal being struck between the UAE and Dassault – a French manufacturer of military aircraft. Abu Dhabi ordered 36 Mirage 2000s – a multirole, single-engine fighter jet – to consolidate and modernize the UAE Air Force.
About 10 years later, in 1997, UAE sealed a $3.4 billion Mirage deal with Dassault, confirming that it would buy 30 of the latest generation Mirage 2000-9 fighters, as well as upgrade its existing fleet of Mirage aircraft.
For nearly two decades, Al Mutawa helped facilitate contract negotiations between GCC member states and European defense companies including but not limited to Sagem, Euromissile, Tatra, EADS, Fincantieri, Rheinmetal Landsysteme, Fairchild Dornier, Bruker, Aerospatiale, CSD Defense, IMCO, Oerlikon Aerospace, and Vosper.
“My team and I start from zero, we set up a meeting with a company, deliver our presentation covering the needs of countries in the region, and discuss where the company’s military equipment/products may be required,” he explains. “Some contracts take 12-14 years from start to finish. There are plenty of competitors that come around in the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done all the while. I’m a patient person.”
Not every contract pulls through, due to the nature and cost of the weapons systems at hand, governments and corporate parties involved can occasionally fail to reach an agreement for a multitude of reasons.
Among the most anticipated networking events in the defense industry are airshows like the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, England – where every two years, the aerospace, aviation, and defense sectors gather to showcase cutting-edge technologies revolutionizing flight.
It was while attending events of this sort that Bassam Al Mutawa had the privilege of meeting Joseph P. Hoar, a United States Marine Corps four-star general who served as Commander in Chief of United States Central Command from 1991 to 1994.
With retirement on the horizon and plans to enter the private sector, General Hoar believed Al Mutawa would prove an invaluable asset to American industry, and more broadly, security. He ultimately vetted and recruited him to work on behalf of businesses based in the United States.
“I needed time to wrap up projects we had going with the European companies, so there would be no conflicts of interest. I like to labor underneath the sunshine, out in the open for all to see,” Al Mutawa acknowledges. “I was very sad when I heard General Joseph Hoar passed away, he was a friend of mine, helped introduce me to influential figures in the American defense industry, served his country heroically, and did so much to support my region of the world.”
After amicably and sufficiently disaffiliating himself with European operations, Bassam Al Mutawa began offering his services to and exclusively aligning himself with companies in the United States, including Boeing, Knight Aerospace, and Collins Aerospace. That being said, he holds USA State Department approvals as a registered broker of defense and aviation products.
When it comes to his business achievements representing Boeing in particular, Al Mutawa had a significant part in delivering the following contracts with Qatar and Kuwait.
In 2008, Boeing’s relationship with Qatar was further cemented with an order for two C-17s and associated equipment and services to provide new strategic-airlift mobility capabilities for the country’s armed forces. The deal was valued at an estimated $400 million and made Qatar the first nation in the Middle East to order the advanced airlifter.
Two additional C-17s were delivered in 2012. Qatar added four additional C-17s to its fleet when it announced the purchase at the Paris Air Show in June 2015, reaching eight aircraft in total.
In early 2014, Qatar and Boeing partnered again on a program that resulted in the delivery of 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for an estimated cost of $3.0 billion. In September 2016, Qatar and Boeing concluded an agreement on a two-year program to provide QEAF Apache recruits with technical English language training for both pilots and maintenance workers.
In 2017, QEAF signed a letter of agreement with the U.S. government to receive 36 Boeing Advanced F-15 Eagles – twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft – and all their support elements. The estimated cost is $21.1 billion.
In February 2013, the U.S. government confirmed that a letter of offer and acceptance had been secured for one C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and associated parts, equipment and logistics support for a complete package worth approximately $693 million.
“Kuwait continues to be a key ally and strong supporter of U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in the Persian Gulf region,” The United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote in a press release. “The proposed sale will enhance the United States foreign policy and national security objectives by increasing interoperability among the Kuwait Air Force (KAF), the United States Air Force, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition forces.”
This marked the first sale to Kuwait in a number of years (aside from sustainment contracts) and was a milestone that signaled progress toward future sales in the country. Kuwait shortly thereafter purchased a second C-17 and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support, in a deal valued at an estimated $371 million.
By March 2018, the government of Kuwait finalized a deal with the U.S. Government for 28 Super Hornets – twin-engine fighter aircraft – worth an estimated $10.1 billion. The contract includes engineering services, radar warning receivers, and aircraft armament equipment for the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E single-seat and 6 F/A-18F two-seat Super Hornets.
All told, Bassam Al Mutawa has contributed to deals with combined revenues of more than $100 billion. To this day, he helps broker defense contracts between Gulf nations and American companies, doing his part to ensure regional peace and prosperity for generations to come.
Al Mutawa Group Holding Company
Bassam Al Mutawa is the Founder and Chairman of Al Mutawa Group Holding Company, a parent company overseeing a variety of business ventures he has embarked upon.
Sahara Petroleum International was launched in 1993. “We started out doing small maintenance jobs on oil & gas infrastructure, now we are one of the leading Kuwaiti companies in the Arabian Gulf region for doing such work,” he notes.
Over the course of his career brokering armament contracts, Al Mutawa recognized opportunities to improve the lives of his clients beyond the scope of a signed agreement. After a deal was done, as it takes years for the products to be delivered, the companies would often need logistical services to move equipment throughout the desert, people for labor, facilities to work from, homes for employees to stay in, and so on.
“Why did I decide to go into real estate? Because I thought to myself, wow, they need to rent an apartment for five years… I should buy this building and rent it to them at a reasonable rate! And that’s what I did,” he remembers. “Then the defense companies needed hangars and other structures built. And I thought, why should I find people to build them, why don’t I build them myself? It will save the business money if I do it, too!”
Entering industries in this way, Al Mutawa established himself as a regional pillar in sectors as diverse as petroleum, logistics, construction, telecommunications, computer technology, real estate, catering, and cleaning. A complete list of Al Mutawa Group Holding Company subsidiaries can be found here.
Al Mutawa’s real estate segment has grown to showcase apartment buildings, a beach resort, a stake in the iconic Margaritaville Hotel in Times Square, and properties in New York and London.
ZEUUS Founder: Bassam Al Mutawa
Bassam Al Mutawa is laying the foundation for a new vision of the future, one that features cutting-edge data storage facilities powered by revolutionary green-energy technology. There is no doubt, this is his most ambitious business venture yet.
The ZEUUS Origin Story
What is now known as ZEUUS, Inc was originally named Kriptech International Corp – an enterprise that intended to offer “visa consultancy services,” but it is not clear if that endeavor ever launched. After a lengthy period of due diligence, Bassam Al Mutawa purchased the company in 2020.
“It took me a while to clean out certain inefficient elements, restructure the business model, and change the name. Data centers, cybersecurity, and green energy are the future,” he states. “Then I found a father and son who are brilliant engineers, they were drawing up a new project and working out of their garage at home.”
The dynamic father and son duo were in fact developing innovative wind-turbine technology aimed at drastically outperforming contemporary models. After several meetings, Al Mutawa purchased the technology and built out a laboratory in Montenegro, from scratch, where the father and son, along with a team of engineers, have continued to research and develop their technology to the point it is currently in the final stages of testing.
The wind turbines slated by ZEUUS to be ready for market within the next 6-9 months are far smaller than their towering rotor-bladed counterparts and work more optimally at lower wind speeds than existing tech.
What do wind turbines have to do with data centers? Well, data centers are notorious for using up large amounts of energy. According to the United States Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a data center consumes 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building. Collectively, data centers account for approximately 2% of the United States’ total electricity use, and as the country’s dependence on information technology grows, data center and server energy use is only expected to grow with it.
The patented and patent-pending green-energy technology being developed by ZEUUS will offer the company a strategic advantage by significantly lowering each data center’s overhead costs. Those energy savings will be passed on to consumers and enable ZEUUS to penetrate developed markets such as the United States and Europe.
Rather than build facilities from the ground up, ZEUUS plans on acquiring profitable Tier III data centers located in the United States and Europe. These data centers will have a proven track record of reliable infrastructure, scalable infrastructure capable of growth, and diverse customer bases boasting key strategic partnerships.
McKinsey & Company found that United States data center demand is forecast to grow by some 10% a year until 2030, and the pressure to make data centers sustainable is high, as “some regulators and governments are imposing sustainability standards on newly built data centers.”
Cybersecurity goes hand in hand with operating a data center, protecting the data being stored is an absolute necessity, it’s also a cost. Thus, ZEUUS will secure partial ownership of a proven, operational, and innovative cybersecurity company that can be smoothly integrated with existing IT infrastructure.
ZEUUS is a publicly traded company listed as a Class A Common Stock (ticker symbol: ZUUS) with an issue price of $5.00 per share and a minimum investment requirement of $500 per investor. Bassam Al Mutawa is planning on ZEUUS being listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange within a year.
If you enjoyed learning the inspiring story behind how ZEUUS founder Bassam Al Mutawa found success in business, check out our biography of Air Lease Corp founder Steven Udvar-Hazy!