REVEALED: Most powerful Kuwaitis
See photos of some of the most influential Kuwaitis of the year
302 Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
\nCulture & Society
\nA backer of interfaith dialogue, Rauf has served as imam of one of the biggest mosques in New York.
295 Farouk Al Zanki
\nKuwait Petroleum Corporation
\nFarouk Al Zanki took on the CEO role at Kuwait’s national oil company from Saad Al Shuweib in October 2011, immediately becoming the government’s point man for the country’s biggest industry.
\nKuwait has the fifth-largest oil reserves in the world, with petroleum products accounting for 95 percent of export revenues. As head of KPC Al Zanki oversees an empire that includes Kuwait Oil Company, and Kuwait Petroleum International. Al Zanki also serves as the chairman and managing director of the Kuwait Oil Company.
261 Faisal Al Ayyar
\nBanking & Finance
\nA former fighter pilot in the Kuwaiti Air Force, Faisal Al Ayyar has been with Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) since 1990.
\nWith more than $19.9bn in assets under its control or management, the bank’s core activities include financial services, media and telecoms, with interests in real estate, manufacturing, medical services, aviation and education.
225 Tarek Sultan
\nFormerly known as Public Warehousing Company (PWC), Agility was established in Kuwait in May 1979. With more than 20,000 employees, 450 offices in 100 countries \nworldwide Agility is the largest logistics company in the Gulf. Its core activities are in warehousing, transportation and freight management services and it was the largest supplier to the US Army in the Middle East during the war in Iraq.
\nAgility’s customers span a range of industries from technology and retail to consumer products and oil and gas. However, after it was charged by the US with defrauding the government over multi-billion-dollar supply contracts, it has changed tact away from defense services. The charges were dropped in May last year.
\nThe company is looking to expand in emerging markets, in particular countries that experienced Arab Spring political upheavals as new governments there spend more on their oil industries and infrastructure. It also has partnered with Abu Dhabi’s Borouge to build a compound-manufacturing unit and logistics hub in Shanghai.
197 Suad Al Humaidi
\nBanking & Finance
\nSuad Al Humaidi is often considered an ambassador for businesswomen across the region. The Kuwaiti national owns a group commercial and residential complexes in her country. She is also a member of The Property Owners Union in Kuwait.
\nAl Humaidi is president of the Suad Al Humaidi Group of Companies.
\nShe is also a member of the board of management for Sradar (Audi Bank) in Lebanon, owns stakes in several banks across Kuwait including the National Bank of Kuwait and also owns a hotel and residential tower in Beirut.
\nArabian Business estimates her personal wealth at around $3bn.
191 Maha Al Ghunaim
\nGlobal \nInvestment House
\nBanking & Finance
\nAs a co-founder and chairperson of one of the region’s largest investment companies, Kuwait’s Global Investment House, Maha Al Ghunaim is a key figure in the Gulf business sector.
\nKnown as a celebrity in the Arab world of finance, she founded the company in 1998 along with four friends, and over a decade helped grow it from a $50m start up to a firm with a market cap of more than $5.4bn. The firm has had a tough recession; she is currently focused on debt repayment.
156 Marwan Boodai
\nThe CEO of Boodai Corporation since 1995, Boodai has steered the company in its evolution into one of Kuwait’s most respected business conglomerates.
\nIts brands, owned and operated through subsidiaries, include Alrai-TV, Alrai daily newspaper, Jazeera Airways, Hilal Cement, City Bus, JTC Logistics and Boodai Trading. In 2005, Boodai, established Jazeera Airways, a budget carrier. The move ended Kuwait’s 50-year dependence on a single national airline. The carrier posted a 32 percent increase in profit last year.
Boodai told Arabian Business last year that Jazeera would definitely be interested in taking part the privatisation of national carrier Kuwait Airways.
66. Bader Al Kharafi
\nNasser Kharafi passed away in 2011 leaving the reins of the Kharafi Group in the hands of his sons, who include Bader. Also vice president of the group, Bader told Arabian Business that the family plans to honour his father’s legacy by proving the third generation of Al Kharafis can securely carry the family business into the next decade and beyond. Established in 1956, MA Kharafi and Sons is one of the largest firms of its kind in the world. A diversified conglomerate, the group also overseas stakes, through the Americana food division, in various high-profile American eateries, and has the exclusive franchise rights in the Middle East for many fast food brands.
51. Ibrahim Dabdoub
\nNational Bank of Kuwait
\nBanking & Finance
\nThe Palestine-born financier has been at the helm of National Bank of Kuwait as CEO since 1983, and is now one of the most widely admired bankers in the Middle East. He first joined NBK in 1961 and saw his career progress from Head of Credit in 1969 to the CEO position in 1983 and a Group CEO in 2008. In addition to his NBK role, Dabdoub is also a board member of the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University; the International Institute of Finance (IIF); he sits on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and he is a member of the advisory council of Carnegie Middle East Centre.
26. Mohammed Alshaya
\nMohammed Alshaya is the undisputed franchise king of the Gulf.
\nAnd he found out how to do it the hard way. Nearly 30 years ago, Wharton School of Business graduate Alshaya did a three months’ work experience stint at the UK-based retailer Mothercare, stacking shelves and advising mothers on which prams to buy. He clearly learnt a lot. Today, his retail empire MH Alshaya owns and operates over 2,200 franchise stores in nineteen countries and employs around 28,000 people. And he has an uncanny knack of picking out the most popular brands. From IHOP to Shake Shack, you can generally tell an Alshaya outlet from the queues that have built up outside.
\nSo how does he do it? “Hard work and respect,” he told Arabian Business recently.