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Sun 29 Aug 2010 01:27 PM

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The top 20 bankers in the Gulf

Here, in no particular order, is a round up of the bank CEOs we hear most in the Arabian Business offices, usually for the right reasons.

The top 20 bankers in the Gulf

Here, in no particular order, is a round up of the bank CEOs we hear most in the Arabian Business offices, usually for the right reasons. These are the men who keep the money going round in the Gulf.

Ibrahim S Dabdoub

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Group CEO,

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)

Set up in 1953, NBK was the first shareholding company in the entire Gulf region. A graduate of California's Stanford University, Dabdoub joined NBK in 1961 and has been CEO since 1983. He is a member of the International Monetary Conference in Washington and in 2007 his achievements have earned him the title of ‘Arab Banker of the Year' from the Union of Arab Banks.

Rick Pudner

click to see picture


Group CEO, Emirates NBD

The British head of the biggest banking group in the Middle East in terms of assets joined Emirates NBD as CEO in 2006, following more than 24 years at HSBC. The Dubai-based lender has had a tough year and posted a 53 percent decline in second-quarter profit in 2010 and it is one of the seven largest lenders to the debt-troubled Dubai World.

Michael Tomalin

Group CEO, National Bank of Abu Dhabi

With eleven years at the helm of the UAE's largest lender by market value, Michael Tomalin has had a good recession. In difficult markets, National Bank of Abu Dhabi last month beat forecasts with a ten percent rise in second-quarter profit to $272.3m and its CEO is understandably bullish. "These are a strong set of results in difficult markets reflecting the resilience and strength of the bank," he said, adding that the bank is set to see its assets grow by ten percent by the end of the year.

Raymond Audi

Chairman, Bank Audi

A glittering career has seen Raymond Audi take on various roles in Bank Audi, as well as serving as the president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the Minister for the Displaced in the country's government between 2008-2009. He rejoined Bank Audi as chairman last year, and has been the recipient of several honours and awards.

John Graham Honeybill

CEO, National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah

John Graham Honeybill has as much reason as any Gulf banker to appear cheerful. Not only is his bank relatively popular amongst Gulf customers, RAKBank's first-quarter net profit rose 42 percent this year, boosted by an improvement in lending activity and higher customer deposits. Net profit rose to AED228.1m ($62.09m) in the first quarter, compared with AED160.3m ($43.55m) for the year- ago period. "Although economic recovery is subdued there remain good lending opportunities," he said.

Ali Shareef Al Emadi

Group CEO, Qatar National Bank (QNB)

As head of Qatar's largest bank, Al Emadi has seen QNB grow to become one of the largest financial institutions in the region. US educated, Al Emadi joined QNB in 1997 and in recent years he has steered its expansion overseas, including buying stakes in The Tunisian - Qatari Bank, the UAE-based Commercial Bank International and Jordan's Housing Bank for Trade and Finance.

Mohammad Nasr Abdeen

CEO, Union National Bank (UNB)

Mohammad Nasr Abdeen has his work cut as the financial crisis continues to sort the men from the boys. Abu Dhabi-based Union National Bank recently reported a 36.4 percent drop in second-quarter net profit as it booked provisions against losses stemming from the financial crisis. The bank posted net profit of AED271.32m ($73.86m), down from AED426.62m ($116.12m) in the same period last year.

Abdeen said: "The continuing challenging market environment led to a decline in the net profit mainly due to the fair value loss on investment properties and the higher impairment charge on loans and advances."

Jean Marion

Managing director, Banque Saudi Fransi

The low-profile head of Banque Saudi Fransi, Jean Marion has steered the Saudi lender through the worst of the downturn. The bank, which is part-owned by Credit Agricole SA, last month posted a 55 percent increase in provisions for bad loans in the second quarter. The Riyadh-based bank raised provisions to $22.4m in the three months ended June 30, from $14.4m in the previous quarter. Banque Saudi Fransi's second-quarter profit rose 9.4 percent to $201.m, the lender said in a statement on July 10.

Ahmed Rehman

CEO, Al Rajhi Bank (Malaysia)

As Saudi Arabia's major representative in the world's biggest Islamic finance market, Ahmed Rehman is leading Al Rajhi's charge against other global giants such as Citigroup and HSBC who are eager to get a foothold in Malaysia. Rehman is masterminding the Saudi bank's efforts to issue sukuk for its clients during the course of this year.

Tirad M Mahmoud

CEO, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)

Tirad Mahmoud brings to ADIB more than 25 years of regional and international banking experience which he accumulated throughout his career with Citigroup and Saudi American Bank. He held several senior management positions, including  CEO and Managing Director for Citibank. If he looks cheerful at the moment, he has every reason. ADIB recently reported a 56 percent increase in second quarter profit, beating analysts' forecasts.

Abdulfattah Sharaf


Appointed in January 2010, Abdulfattah Sharaf is the first CEO for HSBC's UAE division. Sharaf spent thirteen years with NBD prior to joining HSBC, and has also looked after the global giant's retail banking offering before taking the top post.

Salah Jaidah

CEO, Qatar Islamic Bank

Salah Mohammed Jaidah has been CEO since June 2005. Prior to his appointment, he was GM for Doha Bank where he achieved considerable success, and before that he held several senior positions in the Commercial Bank of Qatar where he contributed significantly to the growth of the Corporate Banking division. Jaidah is considered as one of the prominent figures in the banking industry in Qatar. He regularly attends major bank and finance meetings as a key speaker.

Abdulkareem Abu Alnasr

CEO, National Commercial Bank (NCB)

Set up in 1953, NCB was the first bank established in Saudi Arabia and Alnasr has been at the helm since 2006. With paid-up capital of $4bn, 282 branches, two million customers and 5,399 employees, it is also the largest bank in the Arab world. Under Alnasr, the bank has expanded to Beirut, Bahrain, London, Seoul, and Singapore. He has been a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American University in Cairo.

Abdul Razak Al Qassim

CEO, National Bank of Bahrain

Al Qassim is an experienced banker and has held a number of senior positions in the kingdom. He was General Manager of NBB for ten years prior to taking the top job. Razak holds a Master's Degree in Management Sciences and a Sloan Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He joined NBB in 1977 after spending nine years with Standard Chartered Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank.

Mohamed Jamil Berro

CEO,  Al Hilal Bank

Previously global head of Arab Bank's Personal Banking Group, Mohamed Jamil Berro took the top job at Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank in February 2008. He has worked at various positions all over the Middle East, including Arthur Andersen, National Bank of Kuwait and Credit Agricole in Egypt. Al Hilal is the UAE's eighth Islamic bank, and has authorised capital of $1.09bn.

Talal Al Qudaibi

CEO, Riyad Bank

Talal Al Qudaibi oversees operations at Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia's third largest lender by market value with a reported SAR176bn ($46.9bn) under management. The last year has been a bumpy ride for the lender, as profits came under pressure from a drop in lending and exposure to some troubled Saudi firms. In July, Riyad posted a 16.5 percent fall in Q2 net profit, after lending income declined for the second straight quarter.

Maurice Sehnaoui

Chairman and general manager, BLC Bank

Maurice Sehnaoui took over as chairman and general manager at one of Lebanon's biggest banks in April 2008, shortly after BLC was acquired by Fransabank. Under Sehnaoui's tutelage, BLC swiftly became a member of the country's Alpha group network of top banks, and in 2009, it bought out competitor Banque Lati.

Abdulkarim Ahmed Bucheery

CEO, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK)

With more than three decades in the industry, Abdulkarim Ahmed Bucheery is head of one of Bahrain's leading commercial lenders, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK). He joined the bank in 2002 and has helped to oversee its overseas expansion in Kuwait, Dubai and India.

Bucheery is a familiar face in Gulf banking circles. His roles have included chairman of the board at Bahrain's CrediMax, chairman of Capinnova Investment Bank, the Sharia-compliant arm of BBK, and vice chairman of the board of Bahrain Credit Facilities.

Eisa M Al Eisa

Chairman, Samba Financial Group

In 1980 Al Eisa started his career with Samba, the Arab world's fifth largest lender. 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. As chairman, he scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award at CEO Middle East's Saudi Arabia Awards in March.

Andre Sayegh

CEO, First Gulf Bank

The CEO of Abu Dhabi's second largest bank by market value, Andre Sayegh has more than eighteen years of banking experience under his belt. He joined First Gulf Bank as chief operating officer in 1999 after stints with finance houses such as Citibank and Arab Bank; and took the top spot in 2006.

FGB has weathered the global crisis better than many lenders in neighbouring Dubai. The bank in July posted a Q2 profit of $214.3m, marking a two percent rise on the year-earlier period.

Sayegh said in February he expected double-digit growth in profit, credit and deposits in 2010, and said there were plans to expand domestically

and overseas.