Living the Leadership Principles: How Mohamad has been inspired to Hire and Develop the Best


Amazon’s culture is defined by our 16 Leadership Principles. Mohamad Itani, Head of Partnerships for International Expansion across the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), uses them as a guide for overseeing a large team that grows our business in the region. But that’s not all. One principle, Hire and Develop the Best, inspired Mohamad to become both a mentor and Bar Raiser at Amazon, ensuring that the hiring process adheres to Amazon’s values.

Why I love the Leadership Principles

Mohamad’s Amazon journey began when he joined the company after a successful 15-year stint at an agency.

“When Amazon came to Dubai, I applied,” he recalls. “I wanted a challenge and liked the idea of setting up a new business, with the backing and scale of a multinational. When I started preparing for my interview, I discovered the Leadership Principles and loved them.”

For Mohamad, it was a significant moment.

“The Leadership Principles helped me understand what Amazon is, how it’s structured, and how obsessed the company is with serving customers, growing talent, and building careers,” he says.

Mohamad believes there is a perception that interviewing at Amazon is difficult, but that if candidates prepare well and use the resources available, they'll be in a strong position for success. He offers this advice: "Take the time to truly understand the Leadership Principles, as they guide all our decisions at Amazon."

Raising the bar

Mohamad has been with Amazon for more than four years. During this time, he hasn't just built a team from scratch; he's also played a significant role in hiring numerous Amazonians across many business lines and locations.

Becoming a Bar Raiser was a logical next step.

"Amazon's commitment to objectivity in hiring attracted me to becoming a Bar Raiser," he explains.

A Bar Raiser makes sure that bias is minimized during the interview process and that standards are not just maintained but elevated with each new hire. Although it adds to his workload, Mohamad believes the demands are worth it. "I’m a father and I’ve got a busy role,” he says, “but I do it because it’s good for the company, and it helps me grow personally."

Itani Family

Itani Family

“We make sure we think about inclusivity,” says Mohamad. “For example, If a candidate needs accommodations, that shouldn’t block them from getting a great role. It’s my job to make a candidate feel comfortable and have trust in the process. I make sure nothing is missed and that we get the best out of them.”

Recognizing exceptional talent

Mohamad’s commitment doesn't stop at being a Bar Raiser. Inspired by his own experience, he has become an Amazon mentor, guiding and supporting colleagues to build their skills and networks.

“Think of the brain power we have today," he explains, "and what we can do if this is cultivated properly. There are so many options to learn from the very best, wherever you want to take your career. Mentorship helps us build the right foundations."

Mohamad's approach to nurturing his fellow Amazonians is driven by one central theme: "Under the Leadership Principle of Hire and Develop the Best, it’s my job to recognize exceptional talent and help people move through the organization," he says. "That’s an obligation I take very seriously."