2018 marked the birth of NESR as the first NASDAQ-listed company from the MENA region. From inception, NESR was set to become the National Champion of MENA. The company was built on a strong foundation of integrity, ethics and social responsibility. It continues to be guided by a strict mandate to align local activities and investments with the visions and national priorities of the countries of MENA. We are proactively participating in all the relevant local content programs including In-Country Value programs in Oman and the UAE, and IKTVA in Saudi Arabia. Our focus on enhancing our local content includes hiring and developing local talent, manufacturing locally, developing local suppliers and supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the MENA region.
Our strong local presence engenders a sense of local pride and provides our customers with secure and stable oilfield services. Additionally, we invest in bringing cutting edge technologies to the MENA region. Some of our latest agreements will allow us to reduce our environmental footprint and enable R&D in our LEED-compliant research and innovation center (NORI). NORI is an open platform that will bring the best innovative minds to the region and develop local capabilities.
We are committed to fully integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) into our business, as our sustainability is linked to the viability of the economies, environments and communities in which we live and work. Integrating ESG makes business sense to us, which is why we constantly strive to create shared value through pursuing ESG targets that are aligned with community needs and our business and customers’ priorities. This approach, coupled with our strong sense of social responsibility, guides management of our ESG performance and material ESG risks and opportunities.
When it comes to our corporate governance, our compliance is uncompromising. We ensure that the company has rigid governance standards, as this solidifies our competitive advantage in the region. At the same time, being listed on the NASDAQ differentiates us in the eyes of regional competitors and customers alike. Although the oil and gas industry has always lagged other industries in gender diversity. We believe that gender diversity should be fostered, equal opportunities safeguarded, and discriminatory pay gaps eliminated. We are very keen on reducing pay disparities, including the gap between the CEO’s and the employees’ compensation. For the past three years, I have awarded all the RSUs within my long-term performance incentive plan to employees to boost their competitive spirits. Today, 25% of my direct reports are women, including our ESG Director, who was hired in 2019 to spearhead our ESG efforts across the company. Women also make up 36% of our executive leadership team. Our more than 4500 employees represent 40 nationalities and work in 15 countries around the world.
We remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our people, who are our greatest asset. Our strong HSE culture is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that our employees only work under safe conditions. Reducing our environmental footprint is also extremely important to us. We are investing in the sustainable future of the region through environmental stewardship and innovation. From redesigning solar-powered light towers in Saudi Arabia, to utilizing RTP technology in the Middle East, we are reducing air emissions and playing a vital role in the sustainable future of the region. We also remain committed to leading our peers in HSE performance and to recording zero HSE incidents in our operations.
In 2020, our priorities include expanding our positive impact within our ESG focus areas, improving public disclosure of ESG data (including producing our first ESG report), and introducing long-term corporate ESG targets based on identified material ESG risks and opportunities in our operations. We intend to continue to reduce our environmental footprint, create positive value for the communities we operate in, and continuously enhance our governance structure. This, we believe, will strengthen our sustainability and enhance the value we bring to our stakeholders around the world.
As I look back at our achievements over the past two years, I am confident that we are a stronger company today because of our commitment to ESG. We will continue to live by that commitment and enhance our ESG performance in 2020 and every year thereafter.
We look forward to the rewarding and responsible journey ahead.
Chairman of the Board & CEO