The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women
Mon 03 Mar 2014 03:25 AM
Nayla Hayek

Nayla Hayek

Industry: Retail

Company: Swatch Group

Designation: Chairwoman

Country: UAE (Lebanon)

Nayla Hayek is one half of a brother and sister team that oversees the world’s biggest watch company. Last year, Swatch posted a 20 percent increase in annual profits to $2bn, with overall revenues coming in at just under $10bn.

Hayek, whose father co-founded the company, has been an active member of the board ever since her appointment in 1995. When her father died in 2010 he was ranked the 232nd richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of $3.9bn.

Swatch’s importance lies not just in the fact that it is such a huge manufacturer; it makes most of the parts that make other Swiss watches tick.  The firm has been on the acquisition war path in recent years; its stable of brands includes Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Longines and Tissot.

Last January, the watch giant announced it had acquired the Harry Winston Diamond Corp’s luxury goods operation in a deal valued at as much as $1bn. After that deal was concluded, Hayek became CEO of the company.

Hayek splits her time between Biel, Switzerland, and Dubai. She is an international Arabian horse judge.