Samih Darwazah

A frequent fixture Arabian Business Power Lists, Palestinian-born billionaire Samih Darwazah added yet another string to his bow during the course of 2009.

At an extraordinary general meeting of Jordan’s Capital Bank in September 2009r, Darwazah was elected the bank’s chairman after the country’s central bank intervened to remove the previous incumbent. The decision reiterates the perception of Darwazah as a not only a safe pair of hands but also Jordan’s most successful entrepreneur.

The founder of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the Middle East’s leading drugmaker, has since built a business in the Middle East, North Africa, the US and Europe. Hikma became the first Arab company to export into the US in 1996 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.

The firm currently sells 369 pharmaceutical products in 767 dosage strengths and forms — all of which are available in 49 countries. Pre-tax profits for the year to December jumped 48 percent to $94.8m. The healthcare mogul’s success in this field was enough to earn him the coveted ‘Entrepreneur of the Year, Middle East’ award in 2007 from consultants Ernst & Young.