Our Team

Our investment teams are based in Dubai, Europe (mainly UK and Luxembourg), USA, and Australia. They communicate and meet regularly to share information, plans, and strategies.

Our in-house analysts do their own research and rigorous due diligence, with specialization by asset class, sector and geography. They also have high-level access to top outside financial, industry specific, and investment expertise.

Our executive management team consists of:

Aamer Abdul Aziz – Chairman & Group CEO

Aamer has 35 years of executive management experience with exceptional track record in turn-around management, performance improvements, brand building, business innovation, and sustainability. As the founder of Phoenix, Aamer is responsible for setting up the group strategic vision, business direction, fiscal planning,risk management, asset acquisitions, management and divestments, and corporate governance.

Prior to founding Phoenix, Aamer held senior roles with responsibilities for fundraising and placements, investors and government relations, and leading corporate developments for leading regional financial institutions and global multinational corporations including BD Globe, Bloomberg Capital Partners, Al Jebra Capital, Bashayer Investment, Coca-Cola International, Philip Morris International, BAT, American Express, and Union National Bank.

Having grown up on a family farm in Bahrain that was a top breeder of Arabian horses, Aamer later became a champion owner, four years in a row from 1980 to 1984. His passion for horses has kept him in the equine industry for more than three decades, during which he has developed a nexus of contacts between the Middle East, Europe, USA, and Australia.

Over the years, Aamer has developed a unique insight into the Thoroughbred industry and he  visits numerous stud farms worldwide and attends most of the major races and auctions. A horse owner to this day, he is involved in numerous high-end trades and serves as a consultant for other investors in multi-million purchases of Thoroughbreds.

Aamer holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Phil Shanks – Head of Real Estate

Phil has more than 30 years of senior management and government experience in the UK real estate sector. He is responsible for Phoenix UK Real Estate operations and for delivering life-changing outcomes to the tenants of our housing stock.

Upon completing his tertiary education, Phil joined the public service for 12 years, most of which was at senior management level.His experience in the assisted living sector provides Phoenix with unparalleled access to the UK government, the National Health Service, and other key stakeholders. His market knowledge and understanding of government policy ensures that investments perform and fulfill the expectations of both investors and customers.

In 1996, Phil established Partner’s Foundation, a registered social landlord. Then in 2020, he formed a property trading company called Houses for Homes, in which he continues to hold 50% equity. Since its inception, it has organically grown a net asset value of more than €10 million, spread across the UK. Its assets meet the housing needs of hundreds of people across all vulnerable segments including the elderly and adults with disabilities. A key factor to its success is an effective service delivery model, based on a “partnership approach” between Houses for Homes, local managing Registered Social Landlord and nominated care providers.

Phil has degrees in economics from Newcastle University and social work from Manchester University.


Tom Ludt – VP & Head of Equine

Tom is a Thoroughbred expert with more than 25 years of experience in the equine industry having started his career in 1993 with the Jonabell Farm organization, and his last role as CEO of Horseco, USA, where he held several managerial positions.

He served as Chairman of the Board for the Breeders Cup which has the highest standards of security, veterinary review and pre- and post-race testing in US racing, and endorse the recent recommendation issued by the Association of Racing Commissioners International to eliminate the use of race-day medications in North American and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. He remained a board member in the breeders cup till 2015.

Tomhas also worked for the Stronach Group from 2013-16 and was previously appointed to the Kentucky Racing Commission in 2005 and served through two Governors until 2012.

During his career, Tom also worked at Vinery, the stallion farm, where he managed the successful careers of More Than Ready, Pioneer of the Nile, Congrats, Kodiak Kowboy, Peace Rules, and Pomeroy. He also raised and sold or raced many horses including Friesan Fire, Western Aristocrat along with other Grade 1 winners throughout the world. Vinery created and successfully managed a program of buying and racing many yearlings sired by Vinery stallions to support the stallions and develop a long-term strategy to assist the stallions in their breeding career.

Tom serves as Chairman of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1983 dedicated to placing former racehorses, and as Trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.


Vishal Kodikal – COO, Waste Management

Vishal has 27 years of senior management experience building global brands and leading award-winning sustainability initiatives. He is responsible for the Phoenix Holding’s waste management, sustainability, and renewable energy portfolio.

As a focused and high impact business leader who has led businesses across the Middle East, Africa,  andAsia, Vishal has delivered exceptional market and financial results with multinational companies such as American President Lines, British American Tobacco, and Jotun paints.

In his last assignment, Vishal represented Jotun Paints as a permanent founding board member of the Emirates Green Building Council, UAE. From 2012-17, during which he led many sustainability initiatives with the Green Building regulations for Dubai Municipality, Dubai Central Laboratory, Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology, Environmental Product Declaration, representing the paints and coating industry, leading many innovative initiatives to ensure that sustainability was driving the value chain with regards to raw materials, storage, logistics, production, distribution, product disposal, recycling, and waste management.

Vishal holds a MSc. from the University of London.

Ahmad Afyouni, Head of Placements

Ahmad Afyouni has more than 12 years of experience in the finance, Investments and insurance industries. At Phoenix, Ahmad is responsible for business development for the group. Prior to joining Phoenix, Ahmad was Senior Vice President at Al Masah Capital Management where he led the development of key partnerships with investors in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, devised sales and placement strategies, and developed and reviewed potential business acquisitions.

During his career, Ahmad has also worked as a Senior Relationship Manager of Private Banking at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and in various roles including Wealth Manager at HSBC.

Throughout his career, Ahmad has constantly equipped himself with information and knowledge by attending professional development courses related to his field. He has undergone accreditation with HSBC as Wealth Advisor and Cannon Wealth Management. He also obtained an International Certificate in Advanced Wealth Management from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).

Ahmed holds a Bachelor of Business Management from MUT, Lebanon.

Teresa Starr – Head of Legal

Teresa has 30 years of experience of which 18 years as practicing English Barrister with proven experience in international commerce, law, financial services, and academia. Due to her unique background which included the financial markets in London and teaching at the University of Law, London, Teresa has exceptional interpersonal and communication skills with an innate ability to adapt and excel at any challenge.

Teresa began her career in the financial markets where she quickly rose from a broker in the international bond markets to start up and head numerous highly successful international broking teams in her senior management role at Cantor Fitzgerald, London.Needing to challenge herself further, Teresa then commenced her second career at the English Bar where she quickly established herself as a confident, skilled advocate, operating on a self-employed basis, out of London Chambers. Whilst studying for the bar, Teresa was employed by Eclipse Fund Management, as Compliance Officer, reporting to the FSA London.

Teresa’s early years in common law has helped her gain invaluable trial experience before specializing in regulatory and commercial law where she had an exceptional track record in her appearances in the Court of Appeal in London.  She was also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Law.

Prior to joining Phoenix Holdings, Teresa was in-house counsel at Fichte & Co, a leading global maritime and corporate law firm,and as in-house barrister providing CLPD courses to lawyers at the Government Legal Affairs Department.

Teresa holds an LLB with honors from University of Hertfordshire and is Bar Professionally Trained Barrister.  She also attended Advanced Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford, UK.