The Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen 2017


This year in particular, women across the Arab world appear to be cracking the remaining glass ceilings, and nowhere more so it seems than in the banking sector. The region’s banks have raised several high-achieving and long-serving women to its highest positions, with the industry representing 28% of our 2017 list.

Saudi Arabia took the lead in high-level appointments. Rania Mahmoud Nashar, CEO of Samba Financial Group, became the first woman to head a commercial bank in the Kingdom, Latifa Homoud Alsabhan was promoted as the CFO of Arab National Bank, and Sarah Al Suhaimi, CEO of NCB Capital, was appointed as chair of the country’s stock market, Tadawul, as the Kingdom looks to join MSCI emerging markets index.

The region’s governments have also appointed women to key roles in finance and industry. Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, floated the country’s currency this year; Nezha Hayat is heading up the Moroccan capital market, and Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi chairs the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority.

The U.A.E. has the highest number of women on the 2017 list with 18, followed closely by Egypt with 16. Saudi Arabia’s Lubna Olayan, who runs Saudi conglomerate the Olayan Group, tops the list.

This year we also once again have a list of the 10 most powerful women in government, highlighting ministers across the region. Sahar Nasr, who was earlier the minister of investments, has had international co- operation added to her portfolio, moving her up to number two. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi retains the top spot.

Methodology and criteria:

To compile these rankings, we collected information from annual reports and company websites, as well as other primary sources.
We looked at:

• Company revenues or GDP in the case of government departments and ministries
• Years of experience
• Scope of the role or ministry

If you want to read this list in Arabic, please follow this link.

1Lubna S. OlayanCEOOlayan Financing CompanyDiversifiedSaudi Arabia
2Lobna HelalDeputy GovernorCentral Bank of EgyptGovernmentEgypt
3Raja Easa Al GurgManaging DirectorEasa Saleh Al Gurg GroupDiversifiedU.A.E.
4Sarah Al SuhaimiChair/ CEOTadawul/ NCBCGovernmentSaudi Arabia
5Rania Mahmoud NasharCEOSamba Financial GroupBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
6Nezha HayatChairMoroccan Capital Market AuthorityGovernmentMorocco
7Khawla al-AsadiGeneral ManagerRafidain BankBanking and Financial ServicesIraq
8Shaikha Al BaharDeputy Group CEONBKBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
9Mona AlmoayyedManaging DirectorYK Almoayyed & SonsDiversifiedBahrain
10Henadi Al SalehChairAgilityLogistics and TransportationKuwait
11Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al ThaniChairQatar MuseumsMuseumsQatar
12Amal BahwanVice ChairSuhail Bahwan GroupDiversifiedOman
13Dalya Al MuthannaPresident and CEOGE GulfDiversifiedU.A.E.
14Randa SadikDeputy CEOArab BankBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
15Eaman Al RoudhanCEOZain - KuwaitTelecommunicationsKuwait
16Muna Al HashemiCEOBatelcoTelecommunicationsBahrain
17Elham MahfouzCEOCommercial Bank of KuwaitBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
18Soha SolimanManaging DirectorBanque du caireBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
19Nabilah Al-TunisiChief EngineerSaudi AramcoPetrochemicalsSaudi Arabia
20Mona El-GarfChairEgyptian Competition AuthorityGovernmentEgypt
21Sheikha Bodour Al QasimiChairSharjah Investment & Development AuthorityGovernmentU.A.E.
22Suzanne Al AnaniCEODubai Aviation Engineering ProjectsConstructionU.A.E.
23Mona ZulficarFounding Partner; ChairZulficar & Partners; EFG HermesLawEgypt
24Nadia Al-RawabdehGeneral ManagerSocial Security CorporationGovernmentJordan
25Mira Al AttiyahCEOQNB CapitalBanking and Financial ServicesQatar
26Haifa Al KhaifiCFOPetroleum Development OmanPetrochemicalsOman
27Suha KarzoonCFOBahrain Mumtalak Holding CompanyInvestmentsBahrain
28Rawan Ahmed Al SaidChairperson; Managing Director and CEONational Bank of Oman; Takaful OmanBanking and Financial ServicesOman
29Rita Maria ZniberCEODiana HoldingFood and BeveragesMorocco
30Miriam Bensalah ChaqrounCEO; Board MemberLes Eaux Minerales d'Oulmes; Holmarcom GroupDiversifiedMorocco
31Elissar Farah AntoniosCEOCitibank U.A.E.Banking and Financial ServicesLebanon
32Nadia Al SaeedCEOBank Al EtihadBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
33Hind BahwanFounder and ChairBahwan CyberTekInformation TechnologyOman
34Hosnia HashemDeputy CEO - Olefins & AromaticsKuwait Petrochemical Industries CompanyPetrochemicalsKuwait
35Maysa JalboutCEOAl Ghurair Foundation for EducationEducationU.A.E.
36Majida Ali RashidHead, Real Estate Investment ManagementDubai Land DepartmentGovernmentU.A.E.
37Maryam Al SuwaidiDeputy CEO - Licensing, Supervision, EnforcementSecurities & Commodities AuthorityGovernmentU.A.E.
38Suad Hamad Al Saleh Al HomaizyBoard MemberBank AudiBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
39Hana Al RostamaniGroup Head of Personal BankingFirst Abu Dhabi BankBanking and Financial ServicesU.A.E.
40Maitha Al DossariCEOEmaar EntertainmentRetailU.A.E.
41Iman MutlaqFounder and CEOSigma InvestmentsBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
42Sahar FarahatSenior Executive Vice PresidentEgypt Kuwait HoldingBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
43Latifa Homoud AlsabhanCFOArab National BankBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
44Hania SadekCOOHSBC Bank EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
45Marwa El-AyoutiCFOVodafone EgyptTelecommunicationsEgypt
46Sara AkbarCEOKuwait EnergyPetrochemicalsKuwait
47Farah FoustokCEO, Middle EastLazard Asset ManagementBanking and Financial ServicesLebanon
48Ghada Y. Al-AmerVice President - Finance and AdministrationKUFPECPetrochemicalsKuwait
49Jalila MezniCEOSociete d'Articles HygieniquesConsumer ProductsTunisia
50Nisreen ShoucairPresident and CEOVirgin Megastore Middle East & North AfricaRetailSyria
51Amina Al RustamaniGroup CEOTecom GroupGovernmentU.A.E.
52Reem OsmanCEO DubaiSaudi German Hospital DubaiHealthcareSaudi Arabia
53Salwa Idrissi AkhannouchChair, CEOAksal GroupRetailMorocco
54Saida LamraniAssociate Vice PresidentSafari GroupDiversifiedMorocco
55Hend El SherbiniGroup CEOIntegrated Diagnostics HoldingsHealthcareEgypt
56Shahla Abdul Razak BastakiDeputy CEODubai Silicon Oasis AuthorityGovernmentU.A.E.
57Shaikha Hessa Al KhalifaChairAl Salam BankBanking and Financial ServicesBahrain
58Randa El AssaadCEOArif & Bintoak Consulting Architects and EngineersConstructionLebanon
59May Al MudhafCEO, KuwaitNational Bank of Abu DhabiBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
60Simona Sabella BishoutyCEO, Managing DirectorArab Banking Corp. (Jordan)Banking and Financial ServicesJordan
61Mona BawarshiCEOGezairi TransportLogistics and TransportationLebanon
62Laila MamouCEOWafasalafBanking and Financial ServicesMorocco
63Huda Al LawatiChief Investment OfficerSavola GroupFood and BeveragesOman
64Sheikha Hanadi Al ThaniFounder and ChairAmwalBanking and Financial ServicesQatar
65Reem AsaadCEORaya Data CenterInformation TechnologyEgypt
66Hala FadelPartnerLeap VenturesInvestmentsLebanon
67Ingie ChalhoubPresident and Managing DirectorEtoile GroupRetailLebanon
68Huda Al GhosonExecutive Director, Human ResourcesSaudi AramcoPetrochemicalsSaudi Arabia
69Sharifa Al HarthyVice ChairMB Holding CompanyPetrochemicalsOman
70Shaikha Al MaskariChairAl Maskari HoldingsDiversifiedU.A.E.
71Rasha El-HoshanCo-founder and General Manager; Kingdom Holding board memberHoshan FurnitureIndustrialsSaudi Arabia
72Lujaina DarwishChairMohsin Haider Dawrish LLCDiversifiedOman
73Ghosson Al KhaledDeputy CEOACICOIndustrialsKuwait
74Alia Al MazruiCOOMazrui HoldingsDiversifiedU.A.E.
75Maryam Al MheiriCEOMedia Zone Authority, Abu Dhabi (MZA) and twofour54MediaU.A.E.
76Maryam Mohamed FekriExecutive VP, COO, Head of Clearing, Settlement and Depository DivisionDubai Financial MarketGovernmentU.A.E.
77Deema SukhtianCEOMunir Sukhtian GroupDiversifiedJordan
78Maha Heba EnayetAllaHead of Business, Board memberBanque MisrBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
79Joumana ChelalaDeputy General Manager, Head of Consumer BankingByblos BankBanking and Financial ServicesLebanon
80Kawthar MakahlahCEOBCI GroupServicesU.A.E.
81Christine SfeirCEOTreats HoldingFood and BeveragesLebanon
82Mary Nazzal BataynehChairLandmark Hotel AmmanHospitalityJordan
83Nashwa Al RuwainiCEOPyramediaMediaUAE
84Enji Al-GhazzawiExecutive Vice President, OperationsRiyad BankBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
85Caroline Fattal FakhourySenior VP; Board MemberFattal GroupDiversifiedLebanon
86Yasmine KhamisExecutive Board Member; Vice President of Sales and MarketingOriental Weavers CompanyTextilesEgypt
87Farida KhamisExecutive Board Member; Vice President of Corporate FinanceOriental Weavers CompanyTextilesEgypt
88Shahira ZeidVice ChairMaridive GroupLogistics and TransportationEgypt
89Najla Al ShirawiCEOSecurities & Investment CompanyBanking and Financial ServicesBahrain
90Nadia CheaibFounder, CEOClingroup HoldingHealthcareLebanon
91Nadia ZaalCEOZayaReal EstateU.A.E.
92Randa BessisoFounding Director, Middle EastManchester Business School, University of ManchesterEducationPalestine
93Manal JarrarGeneral ManagerNational Insurance Company (Watania)InsuranceJordan
94Myrna SoufanCOOBanque BemoBanking and Financial ServicesLebanon
95Amna BinHendiDeputy ChairBinHendi EnterprisesDiversifiedU.A.E.
96Soha El-TurkyCFOADIB EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
97Sana KhaterCFOWaha CapitalInvestmentsLebanon
98Nawal Mulla-HussainChief Operating OfficerGlobal Investment HouseBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
99Jinan ZoyaGeneral ManagerFamily Business Council, GulfServicesLebanon
100Lamia Ben MahmoudChairman and CEOTunis ReInsuranceTunisia


Ahmed Mabrouk, Ranju Warrier, Jason Lasrado