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1. HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud
\nPrince Alwaleed shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Profits at his Kingdom Holding Company for the first three quarters of this year surged 10 percent to $58.1m.
\nThe group is one of world’s largest and most diversified private investment companies with holdings in a large number of Saudi Arabian, Middle Eastern and international companies. Today, Kingdom Holding Company, of which he owns 95 percent, covers 39 investments in seven sectors.
\nIt is the largest foreign investor in the US, with stakes in the likes of News Corporation, Time Warner, Apple and Citi. Regionally, major players from Samba Financial Group to Savola all have the KHC stamp on their shareholdings. But despite so much success, there is no sign of the prince slowing down, with the last twelve months witnessing phenomenal growth. He has announced that construction work on the world’s tallest building, the Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah, has now begun.
\nIn October, Kingdom sold its interest in the Fairmont Hotel and Raffles Suites & Residences in Manila for SAR218m (US$58.1m). The deal was signed with a unit of the Philippines’ Ayala Land and earned an estimated profit of SAR22m, Kingdom said.
\nIn the next year, Prince Alwaleed will also roll out his own 24-hour news channle, Alarab, based in Bahrain, which will directly compete with the likes of Al Jazeera and Sky News Arabia.
\nLast, but by no means least, Prince Alwaleed continues to be one of the globe’s most prolific philanthropists, having donated more than $3bn to good causes.
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2. Reem Asaad
\nAccording to her blog, Reem Asaad’s key objective is “to promote and raise financial awareness in Saudi Arabia and promote social and economic well-being to its people.”
\nHer remarkable achievements have sent her into second place in our 2012 Saudi Power List. Assad’s “Lingerie Campaign” gained international recognition, stirring many underlying issues about the lack of female employment in Saudi Arabia. By last July, he campaign paid off when the Labour Ministry banned men from working in lingerie shops after a directive from King Abdullah — in an instant, creating 44,000 jobs for women. The second stage of the law being implemented could see another 30,000 jobs created for Saudi women — a vital fillip for the kingdom’s economy.
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3. Khalid Al Falih
\nAs boss of the world’s biggest unlisted company and the world’s largest oil company, Al Falih can lay claim to being possibly the most influential energy executive on the planet.
\nWith a workforce of around 55,000, crude oil reserves of 260 billion barrels and revenues of $210bn in 2010, the superlatives just keep on coming for Saudi Aramco.
\nIt is also widely believed to be the most profitable company in the world. Al Falih took charge of this giant firm in January 2009 from Abdullah Juma’ah, at a time of great significance in the industry due to the fluctuating price of oil. He joined Aramco in 1978, and was sponsored by the firm to take a degree in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University in 1982.
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4. Fahad Al Mubarak
\nFahad Al Mubarak was appointed by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to head the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), succeeding Muhammad Al Jasser who took office in February 2009.
\nMubarak, who comes from outside the central bank and is a private-sector, market-focused figure, was previously chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia. He has also held the position of chairman of the Saudi stock exchange. He played a role in the privatisation of Saudi Telecom and was a member of the team which discussed the partial privatisation of Saudi Arabia’s National Gas Industry with international oil companies. Mubarak, who is from the Eastern Province, served as a member of the Shura Council, a consultative body which advises the government on legislative matters, for six years.
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5. Ayed Al Qahtani
\nThe accomplishments of Dr Ayedh Bin Farhan Bin Al Mubarak Al Qahtani are a continuation of his father’s accomplishment, Sheikh Farhan Bin Al Mubarak Al Qahtani, who had a great reputation as one of Saudi Arabia’s most successful businessmen.
\nHe founded one of the biggest contracting companies in the kingdom during the 1950s. Because of that, Dr Ayedh Al Qahtani has always regarded his father as a role model for his values, relationships, management, and planning. Sumou is one of the kingdom’s most dynamic property firms, with projects in Makkah, Dammam and Khobar.
\nAl Qahtani got his bachelor’s degree in industrial management from King Fahad Bin Abdul Aziz University for Petroleum and Minerals.
\nHe received his PhD with honours in Real Estate Industry from Concordia University North West in Canada. His PhD thesis was about the philosophy of real estate development.
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7. (Left) Eisa Al Eisa
\nIn 1980 - the same year that the bank was founded - Eisa Al Eisa started his career with Samba, the Arab world’s fifth-largest lender and Saudi Arabia’s second-largest lender by market value.
\nIn 2003, he was appointed CEO and managed Samba’s de-merger from Citi Group, where he steered the bank’s transition to full Saudi management in just 37 days. In April, the lender posted a first-quarter net profit of SR1.145bn ($305.3m), a two percent increase year on year due to a rise in operating income. Al Eisa is a former director of the Saudi Electricity Company.
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8. Walid Al Ibrahim
\nOften cited as the man who changed the face of Arab media, Sheikh Walid Al Ibrahim is a familiar face amongst the kingdom’s elite.
\nIn 1991, MBC Group’s chairman and CEO launched the first independent Arabic satellite TV station. Over the past 20 years, MBC Group has grown to become a well-established media group. Based in Dubai, MBC Group includes ten television channels: MBC1, MBC2 and MBC MAX, MBC3, MBC4, MBC Action, MBC Persia, Al Arabiya, Al Arabiya Al Hadath and Wanasah. The Group also includes two radio stations: MBC FM (Gulf music), and Panorama FM (contemporary Arabic hit music) as well as O3 Productions.
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9. Fahad Al Athel
\nUnder Fahad Mohammed Saleh Al Athel, FAL Group has taken a quantum leap to emerge not only as one of the leading business groups in Saudi Arabia but an international conglomerate of over 85 companies spanning over seventeen countries.
\nThe highly diversified interests of the group include healthcare, engineering and construction, information technology, aviation, finance and investments, heavy industries, machinery and equipments, hotels and resorts, travel and tourism, real estate, food agriculture and education amongst others. Al Athel’s various appointments include serving as chairman and shareholder of the board of FALCOM Financial Services.
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10. Abdulaziz Fahad Barakat Al Hamwah
\nAbdulaziz Al Hamwah has extensive experience in the financial services sector and prior to founding Modern Group held several senior management positions with the Saudi affiliate of Citibank for over 20 years.
\nHe was responsible for sanctioning project-based credit of several billion dollars to large infrastructure and petrochemical projects by leading Saudi companies such as Saudi Aramco, SABIC, and Ma’aden. Al Hamwah joined Saudi American Bank as an operations officer, was promoted to senior relationship manager, Government Public Sector (GPS), and then head of GPS. In 1992 he became country head of Energy, Petrochemicals, Shipping, Government and International Financial Institutions/Syndications (EPS & FI). Al Hamwah holds a BS Electronics Engineering degree from Michigan State University.
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11. Fahd Al Rasheed
\nSince 2008 Al Rasheed has been the managing director & CEO of Emaar Economic City (EEC), leading the development of King Abdullah Economic City - the Gulf’s biggest real estate project.
\nAs the CEO of EEC, Al Rasheed is responsible for overseeing all aspects of KAEC’s development including the construction and commercialisation of residential communities, retail and commercial space, hospitality and leisure offerings. Prior to this, Al Rasheed held the post of deputy governor and CFO of SAGIA from 2005 until 2008.
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12. Adel Aujan
\nIt’s been a fantastic year for Adel Aujan, who sold a stake in Aujan Industries to no less a partner than Coca Cola.
\nNot content with leading the Gulf’s biggest privately owned beverage company, the chairman of the firm has been growing his offerings to different markets. Aujan’s juice brand, Rani, is Iran’s best-selling beverage and is planning to add to its three factories by putting a facility in Iraq, politics permitting. In 2008, Aujan Industries nailed a target to deliver $500m in revenue twelve months ahead of its five-year schedule, and is now working towards $1bn in revenue by 2012.
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13. Lubna Olayan
\nAs the CEO of the Riyadh-based Olayan Financing Company, Olayan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most prolific businesswomen. The group, which was founded by her father in 1947, is one of the kingdom’s most successful conglomerates with operations spanning distribution, manufacturing, services and investments, across the Middle East. The firm is also one of the largest investors in the Saudi and regional stock markets.
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14. Mohammed Al Mady
\nAl Mady joined SABIC in 1976 with a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wyoming, USA, and held various key positions within the company before his rise to the top. SABIC is comfortably the largest listed company in the Middle East, and the world’s biggest chemicals maker. And, as its CEO since 1998, there is no doubt Al Mady still boasts considerable influence on the industrial markets.
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15. Bakr Bin Ladin
\nWhat a year for the family which is by far Saudi Arabia’s most successful construction empire. In 2011, it inked deals to construct Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Tower and the expansion of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Between them, the contracts are worth over $20bn. The construction giant employs tens of thousands of people across the region.
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17. Abdulaziz Al Sowailim
\nUpon graduating from King Saud University in 1986, Abdulaziz Al Sowailim joined Ernst & Young’s Riyadh office. Now the chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young MENA, he has now been with the firm for more than 26 years. Al Sowailim has provided assurance, tax and business advisory services to a range of private and public sector organisations in the financial services, energy, petrochemicals, manufacturing, trading and services sectors. He is member of the Saudi Organisation of Certified Public Accountants.
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18. Youssef Al Shelash
\nAs the kingdom’s biggest listed developer, Dar Al Arkan, is right now uniquely positioned to benefit from a building boom that will rival anything seen anywhere else on the planet.
\nAnd as chairman of the company, Youssef Al Shelash is very much in the driving seat. “The market and economic conditions that contributed to healthy land sales margins during previous years are gradually re-emerging,” he told Arabian Business earlier this year, adding: “In addition, the latest developments in the Saudi market are likely to have a positive impact on the real estate industry in general.”
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19. Nidal Jamjoom
\nFounded in 2005, Kinan Real Estate is one of Saudi Arabia’s fastest-growing developers.
\nThe firm is run by Nidal Jamjoom, a prominent businessman who has also worked as Saudi country manager at Procter & Gamble and has served as CEO of the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) project in Thuwal.
\nKinan’s shareholders include the Savola Group and Bank Al Bilad, among others.\nThe firm is currently aiming to develop residential neighbourhoods in the affordable housing bracket and launched its first project, Masharef, in early 2011.
\nThe firm is also heavily involved in retail real estate, and has launched nine malls in Saudi Arabia’s biggest cities.\nOver the next six years, Kinan is planning to build up to 11,000 new homes in Jeddah.
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20. (Center) Walid Fitaihi
\nDr Walid Fitaihi is the founder, chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of the International Medical Center (IMC) based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
\nHe has been pioneering the development of the IMC project since its inception in 1997, beginning from the conduction of the initial market research and feasibility studies, to finding the right private investors who share the same vision, raising independently the SR350m for the financial guarantee of the project’s success.
\nDr Fitaihi’s integral role in the foundation of the IMC included the creation of the mission and vision, overseeing the design and construction of the facility, guiding it through a successful accreditation, setting up guidelines for recruitment, quality and policy-making while instilling the IMC culture and values to all involved.
\nThe grand opening of the International Medical Center was held in October 2006.
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21. Lama Sulaiman
\nLama Sulaiman was elected deputy chairwoman of the Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry in December 2009, becoming the first female to hold such a post in Saudi history.
\nHer appointment was even more remarkable given that just a week before standing for election, the businesswoman was told she had beaten breast cancer. The mother of four is well aware of the delicacies of being a Saudi woman in her position, telling Bloomberg: “You have to proceed carefully. You have to respect others,” adding that few clerics have objected to her working with men due to her husband’s authorisation.
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22. Muna AbuSulayman
\nUntil recently, Muna AbuSulayman was secretary general for the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, charged with spending up to $100m a year on good causes.
\nAbuSulayman has become internationally recognised as an expert in the fields of management, sustainable development, and communications, media, the Middle East, women and gender, as well as on Islam. She is best known as the first Saudi woman to break through media and cultural traditions by becoming the first Saudi female to appear on non-government global TV.
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24. Ayman Hariri
\nAyman Hariri Is the vice chairman and deputy CEO and member of the board of directors of Saudi Oger Ltd. He has thorough knowledge of the construction and development industry and related fields.
\nHis extensive experience, strong leadership capabilities and entrepreneurial vision have helped Saudi Oger become the successful international organisation it is today.
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25. Abdulkareem Abu Al Nasr
\nNational Commercial Bank (NCB) - also known as Al Ahli Bank - was the first Saudi bank, is the largest bank by assets in the Arab world and is regarded as one of the pioneers in Islamic banking and finance in the world.
\nHeading up the lender is Abdulkareem Abu Al Nasr, who was appointed as general manager in 2005, before becoming NCB’s first-ever CEO just a year later. Since then the bank’s performance has gone from strength to strength. Last year, it posted a net profit of $1.6bn, a whopping 27 percent rise on the previous year. The good results were helped by the bank’s strategy to diversify its revenue sources, and to cut back on operating expenses. The latter dropped by thirteen percent over the year, while banking fee income rose by six percent.
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26. (Right) Hayat Sindi
\nWhen Hayat Sindi landed in London as a teenager in 1991, she had no university place, no money, and didn’t speak English, Hard work and determination got her a place at Cambridge.
\nIn 2001, she won a PhD in biotechnology and has been credited with the invention of MARS, which combines the effects of light and sound for use in biotechnology. She co-founded Diagnostics for All, an organisation developing a disease-diagnosing paper that changes colours when dabbed with the bodily fluids of someone who is ill.
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30. Saleh Kamel
\nSaleh Kamel may be famous as the man whose firm has investments of billions of dollars across 40 countries, but his recent appointment as the chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry represents yet another new path the experienced tycoon has taken.
\nKamel’s stewardship of Jeddah’s businessmen over the course of the next few years will be key to the city’s development. Other business interests include television channels, civil services and hospitality.
\nKamel also owns 30 percent of Albaraka Banking Group, a conglomerate that he founded and that runs a vast Islamic banking operations, as well as construction and manufacturing interests.
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31. Abdulla Al Zamil
\nAbdulla Al Zamil is the man in charge of one of the most prestigious conglomerates in the Gulf region.
\nHe oversees the firm’s intense competition for market share in the steel, air conditioning, glass, insulation and concrete industries. In addition to leading the company as CEO since October 2009, Abdulla Al Zamil is also a board member. During his tenure, he has supervised the growth in capacity for various company business and production lines, and directed the restructuring of Zamil Steel and Zamil Air Conditioners into limited liability companies.
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32. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani
\nYou may not be aware of Islamic Development Bank (IDB)’s activities but for millions of Muslims all over the world, the Jeddah-based agency is a vital line of credit for economic and social development projects.
\nIDB provides funds, capital, loans and financial assistance to 56 countries. Sitting atop this fund is Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani, whose years of experience have helped alleviate poverty in some of the Arab world’s most impoverished regions. During the course of the last month, IDB has provided loans to Iranian, Kazakhstani and Uzbekistani firms.
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36. Nahed Taher
\nDr Nahed Taher is a leading economist and executive banker and the first female CEO of an investment bank in the GCC. Prior to co-founding Gulf One, Taher served as chief economist and chairman of the Risk and Portfolio Management Committee at NCB in Jeddah. Prior to NCB, Taher held the position of head of the accounting department at the King AbdulAziz University in Jeddah. She has over fifteen years of banking, academic and research experience and is also a well-known personality in the field of economics.
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43. Bahaa Hariri
\nGeneva-based Bahaa Hariri is a key figure in the Arab world, both as a businessman and as the late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri’s eldest son. Though he derives the majority of his wealth from investment management, the Boston University graduate also has money tied up in real estate development and logistics. His property company Horizon Development focuses on commercial projects in Jordan and Lebanon, whilst he is also a major stakeholder in Globe Express Services (Overseas Group) — ranked among the top 100 logistics providers globally.
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50. Ahmed Al Shugairi
\nAhmed Al Shugairi has successfully attracted a large number of followers across the globe, allowing him to fuel a religious revival among the multitudes that admire him. Despite an absence of formal Islamic training, Al Shugairi has created a balanced understanding of Islam after reading old and traditional Islamic books as a student at a university in California. He is famous for his series titled “Khawater” (Thoughts), in which he tackles social issues in a bid to create balanced Muslims.