100 Most Powerful Business Women of the Middle East
By: Souria Dabbousi / Arab America Contributing Writer
The Forbes Middle East 100 Most Powerful Business Women, features women from 27 different countries working within 27 different industries. These women have been making their mark and leading some of the largest companies. The list is dominated by the banking and financial services industry with 23 candidates, followed by 11 leaders of diverse industries, 8 from the investments sector, 6 from the retail sector, and 5 from the healthcare sector. With 15 and 12, respectively, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt received the most submissions, followed by 11 from Saudi Arabia, 8 from Kuwait, and 6 each from Lebanon, Qatar, and Oman. Follow along as we discuss some of their women and the achievements they have made.
Hana Al Rostamani
Number one on Forbes Middle East 100 Most Powerful Business Women comes Hana Al Rostamani, who is of Emirati decent and is Group CEO of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). She earned this rank in 2021 when she became FAB’S first female CEO. The bank is the largest in the United Arab Emirates, with $312.4 billion in total assets as of September 2022. In the first nine months of 2022, it generated net earnings of $2.98 billion, up 19% over the same time in 2021. Hana Al Rostamani also serves as the head of the World Council on Sustainable Development Goals and sits on the boards of the Institute of International Finance and MasterCard Advisory.
Randa Sadik, who is of Jordanian decent, holds more than 36 years of banking experience. Throughout the course of her more than 36 years in the banking industry, Sadik spent 24 of those years working for the National Bank of Kuwait, where she held a number of executive positions, including general manager of the international banking group. She graduated from the American University of Beirut with an MBA. In February 2022, Rana Sadik became CEO of Arab Bank where she was previously deputy CEO and held that position for more than 10 years.
Dalia El Baz
Originally from Egypt, Dalia El Baz is Executive Deputy Chairman of The National Bank of Egypt (NBE). El Baz has over 28 years of experience in risk management and business banking. She began working for NBE, the largest bank in Egypt by assets, in 2008 as the group’s leader for operational risk management. The first woman to hold this post, she was appointed COO in December 2015 and assumed her present responsibilities in September 2017. Since 2016, she has been a part of the bank’s executive committee. She is in charge of many departments such as risk management, banking operations, IT, debt recovery, and credit management.
Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch
Founder and CEO of AKSAL Group is Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch. In 2004, Akhannouch established AKSAL Group. The company has about 1,130 employees and is the only franchisee in Morocco for 45 well-known brands, including Emporio Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Zara, Banana Republic, Pull & Bear, Bershka, and Gap. The company opened the 70,000 square meters of retail space at the 10 hectare-sized Moroccan Mall in 2011. Her cosmetics and beauty line Yan&One was introduced in 2017. Moreover, the organization founded the AKSAL Academy to train students for professions in retail and the AKSAL Social Initiative to fund social, cultural, educational, and health initiatives. To meet the region’s rising need for an all-inclusive platform with a variety of services, including retail and lifestyle, the firm declared that it will establish Wa-Sal, an e-commerce marketplace in 2021.
At the American University of Beirut, Bouazza earned a BA in political science and public administration in 1998. In 2014, the Harvard Business School Executive Education awarded her a degree in strategic intelligence.
The CEO and Managing Director of Multiply Group, an Abu Dhabi-based organization that focuses on technology across five industries, is business executive and author Samia Bouazza. Bouazza, a pioneer in her field, is currently in charge of the company’s strategic growth and has managed a series of stake purchases with a combined value of over AED 5.5 billion, or almost $1.5 billion. She also serves on the boards of Viola Communications LLC, Middle East Public Relations Association, and Selpagy Therapeutics, Inc.
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