Wed 23 Sep 2009 09:47 AM
Nemir Kirdar

Nemir Kirdar

Industry: Banking & Finance

Company: Investcorp Bank

Designation: Founder and executive chairman

Country: Bahrain

Citizenship: Iraq

Occupation: Founder and executive chairman

Iraq-born Nemir Kirdar is the founder and executive chairman of investment banking giant

. He has over 40 years of experience in the banking sector, and has been dubbed the ‘Sage of Manama’, reflecting the respect he has earned across the financial markets of three continents.

Kirdar escaped from Iraq in 1958 by hiding in a rolled-up carpet in the back of a truck. Despite this unusual start, he began his banking career in New York in 1969, and following two years of credit training, covered South East Asia and Japan for Allied Bank International. In 1974 he joined the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, as vice president. Between 1976 and 1981 he served in the Arabian Gulf and was responsible for overseeing and directing Chase’s banking network in the region.

Kirdar first sat down with

’s prospective backers in 1981, and outlined his dream to innovate and introduce products and services which were otherwise not available at that time. The firm launched in 1982.


has offices in London and New York, but its headquarters are in Bahrain, and it has over the last 27 years established itself as a respected conduit between the petrodollar-rich Gulf, and the financial capitals of the West. It boasts more than $13bn invested assets under management in private equity, hedge funds and real estate, and a private equity portfolio comprising 25 companies.

“I like to sleep at night, and I don’t like to worry,” he told
Arabian Business

earlier this year. “However, my responsibility I take very seriously and the company’s future is very, very important.”