REVEALED: Most powerful Arabs in banking and finance

See photos of some of the world's most influential Arabs in banking and finance
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386 Tamim Al Kawari
\nBanking & Finance
\nRecently appointed as CEO, Al Kawari will take responsbility for the Qatari investment bank’s move to form a joint venture with Egypt’s EFG-Hermes. He was previously a managing director and country head for Goldman Sachs’ business in Qatar.

\nSee the full list of the 500 most influential Arabs in the world here
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371 Khalid Bin Kalban
\nDubai Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nThings couldn't be any better for Khalid Bin Kalban, the CEO of Dubai Investments. His firm, the largest investment company listed on the DFM, saw its net income climb 58 percent in 2012 on the back of a recovery in real estate sector and markets rebounding.
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314 Issa Abdulsalam Abu Issa
\nSalam International Investment
\nBanking & Finance
\nEntrepreneur Issa Abu Issa is secretary general of the Qatari Businessmen Association.
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309 Nasser Sunnaa
\nBanking & Finance\nThe former CEO of Jordan Investment Board has moved into outsourcing.
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303 Mohammed Al Fayed
\nFormer owner of Harrods
\nUK (Egypt)
\nBanking & Finance
\nBillionaire Al Fayed still resides in the UK, where he is the owner of Fulham Football Club.
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277 Fahad Al Rajaan
\nAl Ahli United Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nFahad Al Rajaan heads Bahrain’s largest lender by market value, Al Ahli United Bank, a major commercial and investment banking group providing wealth management, retail, corporate, treasury, offshore and private banking services.
\nThe group’s businesses consist of the operations in Bahrain, a wholly owned subsidiary in the UK and associates in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Iraq. Al Rajaan is also director general of the Public Institution for Social Security (Kuwait) and chairman of Wafra Investment Advisory Group (New York).
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273 Dr Karim El Solh
\nCo-founder and CEO
\nGulf Capital
\nUAE (Lebanon)
\nBanking and Finance
\nKarim El Solh is co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, one of the largest Middle Eastern private equity firms, established with a capital base of $330m.
\nEl Solh holds a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, an MBA from Georgetown University, a Ph.D. in economics from the Institute D’Etudes Politiques de Paris and a Certified Management Accountant diploma. The last few months have been a busy period for El Solh, who has helped the firm acquire a 51 percent in Dubai’s OCB Oilfield Services in February. He has also previously said that the firm is exploring a potential initial public offering (IPO) for GMS, one of the biggest assets in its portfolio, on a major stock market such as London in two years› time.
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271 Dr Ahmed Heikal
\nChairman and founder
\nCitadel Capital
\nBanking & Finance
\nBefore establishing Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital, Ahmed Heikal served as an executive board member and managing director of EFG-Hermes, a firm he helped transform from a small financial consultancy into one of the leading investment banks in the Arab world.
\nPrivate equity firm Citadel Capital controls investments of $9.5bn and in energy, transport and logistics, agriculture and food, mining and cement manufacturing. The firm controls companies investing in fifteen countries including Egypt, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa.
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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.
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257 Bahaa Hariri
\nHorizon Development
\nSwitzerland (Lebanon)
\nBanking & Finance
\nBahaa Hariri, the eldest son of the late Rafik Hariri, left the family-owned construction, utility and telecommunications company, Saudi Oger, in 2009 to concentrate on his own property company, Horizon Development.
\nThe Geneva-based firm is in partnership with Jordan›s government owned real estate developer to build a $5bn mini-city in the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea and in also developing a $500m residential tower, commercial shopping centre and hotel project in Lebanon. The Boston University graduate is a major stakeholder in Globe Express Services (Overseas Group), which is ranked among the top 100 logistics providers globally.
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251 Dr Tariq Al Fayez
\nChairman and CEO
\nElite Insurance
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\nElite Insurance and Reinsurance was established in 2008 and began operations in January 2009.
\nThe Riyadh-based firm, which is spearheaded by Dr Tariq Al Fayez, is today a leading specialist in business and insurance broking, reinsurance and risk management in the kingdom. Al Fayez has managed Elite since its inception, prior to which he chaired the Charim Concept Group in Riyadh. Al Fayez holds a bachelor degree in physiotherapy from the King Saud University.
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241 Mahmoud Mohieldin
\nSpecial Envoy for President of the World Bank
\nUS (Egypt)
\nBanking & Finance
\nMohieldin is the Special Envoy for the President of the World Bank. His responsibilities include coordinating the World Bank Group agenda on the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 process; supporting the work on financial development, including long-term finance and financial inclusion; and coordinating the World Bank’s efforts to strengthen partnerships with the UN, multilateral development institutions, and the G-20.\nPrior to joining the World Bank, Mohieldin held numerous positions in the Government of Egypt and served on several Boards of Directors in the Central Bank of Egypt and the corporate sector.
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238 Chedly Ayari
\nCentral Bank Governor
\nBanking & Finance
\nChedly Ayari took the top post at the Tunisian central bank last June. His nomination has been strongly criticised by the opposition and by some within the ruling coalition because of his age and his links with the former regime of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
\nSpeaking after his appointment, the economist vowed to preserve the independence of the bank and the stability of the Tunisian dinar, as well as working to alleviate social problems.”If our objectives are to reduce unemployment, to reduce poverty... the central bank must work in the same way” as the government, he said.
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218 Talal Al Zain
\nPineBridge Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nWith experience at the helm of Bahrain’s three largest investment corporations, Talal Al Zain has played a key role in the kingdom’s economy for several decades.
\nIn the 1990s, he was a managing director at Investcorp, a private investment consultant for high-net-worth clients, before taking on the top job at Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, managing over $10bn worth of investments, including the country’s F1 event, Alba and Batelco, and chairing Gulf Air. In March 2012, he transferred to PineBridge to head up the firm’s regional operations as well as co-head alternative investments globally. Al Zain says he is looking to set up a fund in the region that would “interesting for our global investors”. With $70bn of assets under management worldwide, one would assume he has plenty of scope to invest.
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217 Nadhmi Auchi
\nUK (Iraq)
\nBanking & Finance
\nAuchi is founder of General Mediterranean Holdings, based in Luxembourg, which has grown into an international powerhouse with activities in banking and finance, real estate, construction, hotel and leisure, industrial, trading and pharmaceuticals, communications, IT and aviation.
\nIts interests today include more than 120 companies employing 7000 staff with representation all over the world. Auchi also owns a stake in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiri’s Orascom Telecom and owns Team Lebanon of the A1 Grand Prix Race series.
\nAuchi was once a middle man for major oil companies and state-owned oil fields in the Gulf before fleeing Iraq in 1980 when he was jailed by Saddam Hussein’s regime.
\nHe moved to Britain where he has lived since. He founded the Anglo-Arab Organisation (AAO), which has helped raise money for Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake and to build schools in Morocco.
\nHe was recently named by Forbes magazine as 670th richest man in the world, worth $2.2bn.
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204 Adeeb Al Sowilim
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\nAdeeb Al Sowilim is CEO of Falcom Financial Services, a Sharia-compliant investment bank in Saudi Arabia.
\nEstablished in 2007, with a paid-up capital of $267m, Falcom is the biggest of 35 licensed investment banks in the Kingdom. Since then it has maintained a significant market share and spread its operations to Oman and Egypt.The bank is equipped with a fully fledged treasury operation.
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197 Suad Al Humaidi
\nLandmark SAL
\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.
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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.
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185 Mohammed Nasr Abdeen
\nUnion National Bank
\nUAE (Egypt)
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbu Dhabi-based Union National Bank is one of the UAE’s largest lenders, with 49 locations across the country.
\nIt is headed by Mohammed Nasr Abdeen, who has steered the bank through the economic crisis with a conservative approach to lending. Abdeen is also vice-chairman of the bank’s new Egypt operation. The bank reported a small increase in first quarter net profit, beating Reuters’ analyst forecasts, helped by an increase in net interest income and income from Islamic financing.
\nNet profits at the bank rose 3.2 percent to AED471.1m (US$128.26m) compared to AED456.36m in the year-ago period, UNB said in a bourse statement.
\nEarlier this month, UNB - Abu Dhabi’s fourth-biggest lender - said it had already repaid half the $871m in federal government loans it was paid in 2009 after the global financial crisis.
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174 Talal Abu Ghazaleh
\nTalal Abu Ghazaleh Group
\nJordan (Palestine)
\nBanking & Finance
\nA native of the Palestinian port city of Jaffa, Talal Abu Ghazaleh is the chairman and founder of the eponymous Jordan-based global accounting organisation Talal Abu Ghazaleh International (TAGI) which he established in 1972.
\nHe is widely regarded as the “godfather” of the Arab accounting industry, and is credited by most in the industry with promoting the significance of intellectual property rights in business deals in the Arab world. Born in 1938, he later moved to Lebanon and then to Jordan. His first job after graduation from college was, unsurprisingly, in an auditing firm. Embarking on a career in intellectual property, he created TAGCO and Abu Ghazaleh Intellectual Property, specialising in accounting and IP.
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160 Nahed Taher
\nGulf One Investment Bank
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\nSaudi-born Dr Nahed Taher is the only woman in the Gulf to head up a bank.
\nShe is the boss of Gulf One Investment Bank, which she co-founded in 2005. Taher turned down a high powered job with the IMF to return home, eager “to do something for my own country” before being hired as the first woman by NCB.
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158 Mohammed Bin Ali Al Hedfa
\nGroup CEO
\nQatari Diar
\nBanking & Finance
\nMohammed Ali Al Hedfa has his hands on the tiller of Qatari Diar, which is the property investment arm of the country’s $115bn sovereign wealth fund.
\nQatari Diar has more than 49 projects under development or planning in Qatar and in 29 countries around the world with a combined value exceeding $35bn. Infrastructure works at Lusail City, the company’s 38 sq km development, are progressing ahead of schedule. Beyond Qatar, the firm is making headway in its projects across Europe and the Middle East, most notably in France and the UK.
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155 Rasheed Al Maraj
\nCentral Bank of Bahrain
\nBanking & Finance
\nAs governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain since January 2005, Rasheed Al Maraj is responsible for ensuring monetary and financial stability in the tiny kingdom. Al Maraj has served with the government and the private sector and has finance, engineering and management experience.
\nHe previously served as Assistant Under-Secretary at the then Finance and National Economy Ministry and Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Transportation. Prior to his appointment as CBB governor, Al Maraj was general manager and CEO of Apicorp, which is based in Dammam.
\nAl Maraj is on the boards of the Economic Development Board, National Oil and Gas Authority and member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. \nHe previously served as chairman of Batelco, and was a member of the Consultation Council of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.
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149. Ibrahim Al Ibrahim
\nGovernment Advisor
\nBanking & Finance
\nSince 1988, Al Ibrahim has been a close advisor to Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. Dr Ibrahim was between 2006 and 2011 the secretary general for the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP). He has been at the heart of the development process for the Qatar National Vision 2030, and is now also leading Qatar’s First National Development Strategy.
\nAs the state realises its global ambitions, almost every plan and process is going through Dr Ibrahim’s desk. Dr Ibrahim is the vice chairman of the board of RasGas Company Limited and chairman of the Marketing Committee. He is a board member at Qatar Petroleum. Al Ibrahim’s previous roles include a position at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and senior economist at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies between 1986-1988. He has a PhD in business administration from New York University. In 2009, he was awarded the LNG Visionary Award in Barcelona, Spain.
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147. Iskander Najjar
\nAlpari ME
\nUAE (Jordan)
\nBanking & Finance
\nNajjar heads up Alpari ME DMCC, one of the Gulf’s most innovative currency & commodity trading brokerages. He has been instrumental in transforming the online trading industry in the Middle East. This began nearly a decade ago with online trading still at its infancy globally. As the CEO of Alpari ME DMCC, Najjar has positioned the firm as one of the most transparent and trusted online trading brokers operating regionally. Alpari ME DMCC is part of the Alpari group of companies, a worldwide broker with more than twelve years of experience in global financial markets and is one of the fastest growing providers of online foreign exchange (Forex, FX), commodities and contracts for difference (CFDs) trading services for private and institutional clients.
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146. Ala’a Eraiqat
\nAbu Dhabi Commercial Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nAla’a Eraiqat has served as the CEO of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the UAE’s third largest lender, since 2009. Prior to his appointment he served as the lender’s deputy CEO and director of Al Dhabi Brokerage Services. Eraiqat has held senior positions within Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, and other financial institutions. Eraiqat received the Asian Banker Promising Young Banker Award for the Gulf Region in 2007 on 16 March 2008. In 2009, he was chosen by Arabian Business as one of GCC’s Most Admired Executives.
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116. Ali Shareef Al Emadi
\nGroup CEO
\nQatar National Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nQatar National Bank, which is currently on an expansion spree with a number of high-profile acquisitions, is set to become the first Arab lender with assets exceeding $100bn, according to new data. Led by Ali Shareef Al Emadi, QNB said last year that it will pay $1.97bn for 77 percent of National Societe Generale Bank, its latest deal in overseas markets. The deal will boost the bank’s assets by 11 percent to about $107bn, more than double their value at the end of 2009.
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111. Abdulfattah Sharaf
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbdulfattah Sharaf became the first CEO for HSBC’s UAE division when he was appointed in January 2010. Sharaf spent thirteen years at NBD before joining HSBC, and also spent a short period overlooking the global giant’s retail offering before taking on the top position.
\nIn February, the Middle East unit of the banking giant reported a 67 percent increase in profits to $1.4bn. That impressive figure came despite a global $900m cost-cutting drive that spurred it the lender to close sixteen businesses across the world.
\nSharaf, a graduate of The University of Denver, is also a board member of the Network International, an advisory board member of HDG Mansur - USA and a member of Young President Organisation.
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102. Mohammed Al Amoudi
\nEthiopia (Saudi Arabia)
\nBanking & Finance
\nHe is said to be the largest foreign investor in both Sweden and Ethiopia. He has been honoured with the Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Al Amoudi made his first fortune in construction and real estate before branching out into buying oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden — where he was honoured with the Royal Swedish Order of the North Star by King Carl XVI — and his native Ethiopia. His holding and operating companies, Corral Group and the Midroc Group, employ more than 40,000 people. Corral Group has an investment portfolio in Europe and the Middle East that includes Preem Petroleum, the largest integrated petroleum firm in Sweden, Svenska Petroleum & Exploration, SAMIR, Naft Services Company (Saudi Arabia) and Fortuna Holdings (Lebanon).
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97. Eisa Al Eisa
\nSamba Group
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\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. In 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. Under Al Eisa’s stewardship, the bank has in recent years expanded overseas to include a branch in Dubai. Al Eisa is a former director of the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).
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95. Sultan Abu Sultan
\nBarclays Bank UAE
\nBanking & Finance
\nSultan Abu Sultan is co-founder and managing partner of W Motors, the firm that has built the first supercar originating from the Middle East. The manufacturing process of the prestigious car (known as the Lykan) was supervised and monitored by Sultan and his founding partner who ensured that global state of the art technologies where fully utilized to produce the first highly exclusive hypercar from the region.
\nHe is now chairman of Barclays Bank in the UAE, and is the only Emirati national chairing a global bank in the country.
\nHe started his career with HSBC in 2003, moving up the ranks before being appointed regional managing director. He also served in Dubai Police as head of IT, where he established the Quality Department that applies today quality management systems in all police fields.
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90. Shehab Gargash
\nDaman Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nThe sale of his company’s shares to the public may not be taking place because of unfavourable market conditions. Yet Shehab Gargash is bullish and optimistic about the future.
\n“Two important things happened recently, the regional turmoil politically with the Arab Spring and the adjustment in valuations in the more developed regional markets, the Gulf,” Gargash told us last year. “Taking both of them into consideration, I think the future looks very promising for the Gulf. The macroeconomics are very sound, the valuations are attainable, the exaggeration premium has been flushed out.”
\nAs managing director of Daman Investments, one of the UAE’s most prominent financial services firms, Gargash’s opinion is one that is widely valued. And looking forward, Gargash is bullish about a rebound in investor sentiment.
\n“People will maybe look at it maybe strangely but I think real estate will make a comeback in the UAE,” Gargash told us. “It’s the home of real estate in the region more or less. I think the financial services sector will become interesting and some of the less invested areas but I think they are the long shot, things like agriculture in some of the countries around the region may see investment.”
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76. Khadem Al Qubaisi
\nAabar Investments
\nBanking & Finance
\nAs the chairman of Aabar Investments , Khadem Al Qubaisi’s recent string of high-profile acquisitions have helped propelled Abu Dhabi onto the international map.
\nUnder Qubaisi’s stewardship, Aabar acquired a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic. More recently Aabar played a role in the biggest merger of 2012, Glencore’s tie-up with mining giant Xstrata. In 2011, the firm bought a $1bn stake in Glencore, although Aabar announced that it had written off $392m of that investment last November. The firm also holds a 21.57 stake in Dubai contracting giant Arabtec, which has won a number of big-money deals in Abu Dhabi in recent months. Al Qubaisi now chairs Arabtec and is also the chairman of the district cooling firm Tabreed, Takaful, I-Media newspaper and Hyundai Oilbank in South Korea.
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53. Abdulaziz Al Ghurair
\nBanking & Finance
\nAbdulaziz Al Ghurair is the de facto spokesperson for the banking industry in the UAE, through his position as head of the Emirates Banking Association. And while it’s been a tough couple of years for profits at his own lender, Mashreqbank, the cornerstone of Al Ghurair’s business empire has remained stable. The fact that Mashreqbank has performed so well despite its exposure to Dubai World-linked companies speaks volumes about the strength of its leadership.
\nAl Ghurair is CEO of the bank, which he started from scratch with $1.6m of capital during the oil boom in the 1960s, and which is the country’s fourth-largest by assets. The lender was the first bank to introduce ATM machines and credit cards to the emirates, and is now in expansionist mode. Al Ghurair is also one of the founders of the property giant Emaar, and served as speaker of the UAE’s Federal National Council until earlier last year. He remains a fervent proponent of national identity in the country. The family legacy can be traced back to Ahmad Al Ghurair who founded Al Ghurair Group in 1960.
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51. Ibrahim Dabdoub
\nNational Bank of Kuwait
\nKuwait (Palestine)
\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.
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50. Lubna Olayan
\nOlayan Financing Company
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\nYou could never accuse Lubna Olayan of not standing up for the rights of Arab women. Earlier this year, at Davos, she joined a select panel of some of the planet’s most powerful women to discuss the ‘glass ceiling’.
\n“We have to get the CEOs in major Arab countries to be convinced to hire women and mentor women, because that is what we need,” she said.
\nAs the CEO of the Riyadh-based Olayan Financing Company, Lubna 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. The firm is also one of the largest investors in the Saudi and regional stock markets. Olayan sits on the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation - a Beirut-based think tank focusing on issues facing the Arab world - and is a member of the board of Al Fanar, which supports grassroots organisations in the Arab world. She is also involved with academic institutions such as INSEAD, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Effat College for Women.
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48. Munib Al Masri
\nBanking & Finance
\nOften described as the Duke of Nablus or Palestine’s Rothschild, Masri is known as the patriarch of a prominent Palestinian family that has produced bankers, consultants and politicians.
\nGeologist Masri - now 78 - hails from the West Bank town of Nablus. Masri, who was once a close confidant of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (who offered him the premiership three times), made his fortune in oil and gas working in the Gulf; North Africa and elsewhere.
\nWhen the Oslo peace process kicked off Masri helped set up the Palestine Development and Investment Ltd. (PADICO), the largest private investor by initial investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which he chairs. The holding group controls over 30 companies across various industries. Today, however, Masri is more of a fire fighter as he was in the 1970s when helped bring about an end to clashes that took place in Jordan when Palestinian guerillas challenged the authority of King Hussein.
\nMuch of his time has been dedicated to reconciling the Palestinian Hamas movement with President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group, in addition to trying to foster dialogue among Israelis and Palestinians who aspire to live in peace within the context of a two-state solution.
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40. Riad Salameh
\nCentral Bank of Lebanon
\nBanking & Finance
\nThe list of challenges that Lebanon faces is immense. But the list would be even longer if Riad Salameh had not been at the helm of the country’s central bank for the past decade or so. In 2004, he forbade Lebanese banks from investing in exotic derivatives and subprime lending, which shielded local lenders from the worst of the post-Lehman Brothers fallout. A prudent monetary policy, coupled with high interest rates have seen an increase in bank deposits, although the fear of contagion from neighboring Syria has stalled Lebanon’s economic growth. More positively, the country has pulled back from a potential debt crisis, with debt-to-GDP declining to 130 percent, from 180 percent in 2006. If the Lebanese economy is to regain its feet, Salameh will be crucial to its hopes.
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32. Sultan Nasser Al Suwaidi
\nUAE Central Bank
\nBanking & Finance
\nSultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, a UAE national, was born in Abu Dhabi in 1953.
\nHe started his career at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in 1978, at the Finance and Administration Department, and joined the Central Bank as Governor in 1991. At the Central Bank, Al Suwaidi was able to introduce or modernise many banking regulations. In 1994, he worked on establishing the ‘UAESwitch’ which started operations in 1996 and was able to connect all bank ATMs in the UAE. He also supported the establishment of an automated cheque clearing System for UAE banks. Guided by Al Suwaidi, the Central Bank is in the process of implementing many new initiatives such as the Image Cheque Clearing System, the Mobile Phone Payment System and Basel II.
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28. Mohammed El Erian
\nUS (Egypt)
\nBanking & Finance
\nEgypt-born Mohammed El Erian is CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO - the world’s biggest bond trader.
\nHe re-joined PIMCO at the end of 2007 after serving for two years as president and CEO of Harvard Management Company, the entity that manages Harvard’s endowment and related accounts.
\nEl Erian has published widely on international economic and finance topics. His book, When Markets Collide, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs 2008 Business Book of the Year and was named a book of the year by The Economist and one of the best business books of all time by the Independent. He was named to Foreign Policy’s list of “Top 100 Global Thinkers” for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
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20. Fahad Al Mubarak
\nSaudi Arabian Monetary Agency
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & finance
\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.
\nHe 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 Shoura Council, a consultative body which advises the government on legislative matters, for six years.
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16. Khaldoon Al Mubarak
\nBanking & Finance
\nA trusted aide to the Crown Prince of the UAE, HH Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Khaldoon Al Mubarak — CEO of Mubadala — has masterminded many of Abu Dhabi’s strategic investments and key development projects.
\nAs one of the UAE capital’s key investment vehicles, Al Mubarak is a vital cog in Abu Dhabi’s plan to diversify its economy away from oil and into sectors such as aerospace, manufacturing and utilities. Educated in the US, a graduate of Tufts University, Al Mubarak sits on a number of boards, including First Gulf Bank, Aldar Properties, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and he is chairman of the Executive Affairs committee. Worldwide, he is, of course, best known as the chairman of Manchester City Football Club since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.
\nLast year, the club secured its first title in the top flight of English football for 44 years, after beating Queens Park Rangers with an injury-time goal. It meant that the near $1bn of investment in the club that Mubarak has approved now seems very much worthwhile, and Mubarak himself has become one of the most popular figures in the city as a result.
\nWhile this year’s Premier League defence has proved tough, few would bet against the team securing more silverware in the next few years.
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7. Ahmad Al Sayed
\nQatar Holding
\nBanking & Finance
\nName any blue chip in the world, and the chances are that Ahmad Al Sayed either has, or is thinking about, a stake in it.
\nAs head of Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, Al Sayed is the man whose nod means everything. Among the investments that Qatar Holding has been involved with during 2012 are: a 20 percent investment in Ferrovial, a one percent stake in luxury goods behemoth LVMH and an undisclosed chunk of Credit Suisse. The firm also played a key role in the biggest merger of last year, between Glencore and Xstrata. Expect Al Sayed to be just as busy this year.
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1. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud
\nKingdom Holding Company
\nSaudi Arabia
\nBanking & Finance
\nAfter nine years of the Arabian Business Power List, Prince Alwaleed remains at the top of the tree. Last year, when we interviewed him in the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, the shares of Kingdom Holding, the company he chairs, had shot up 147 percent in twelve months.
\nAnd it’s the last year that has, even by his standards, been extraordinary, with KH’s investment strategy across thirteen different sectors paying off big time. He withstood calls to withdraw from News Corp after the phone hacking scandal, and has now seen its share price hit a five-year high. He resisted the pressure to jump on the Facebook bandwagon before its disastrous IPO, and was savvy enough to nab a $300m investment in Twitter, which observers suggest has rocketed in value. And his decision to stick with Citigroup through many years of thick and thin also now looks completely vindicated. But it’s the prince’s key investments that have made a huge difference, including a 34 percent jump this year in News Corp’s share price. “I have a very structured life: every day the same thing,” the prince told us last year. “That it is like I am on autopilot and why should I change it? It is a recipe for success. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Why indeed.