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Kuwaiti’s among Forbes’ 100 most powerful Arab women
February 24, 2016, 4:42 pm
Shaikha Al Bahar, ranked number 5 in the list

The middle-East edition of the international Forbes magazine recently announced its annual list of 100 most powerful Arab women. Culling down from an original list of 300 nominations from 13 Arab countries, the magazine picked Lubna Al-Olayan of Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Financing to head the list of most influential Arab business women. Included in the list of top 100 were 12 Kuwaiti businesswomen, with four of them making it to the top 20 in the list.

Shaikha Al Bahar (Number 5): Leading the charge at one of Kuwait’s largest financial institution, Shaikha Al-Bahar was promoted to Deputy Group CEO of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) in 2014, after four years as CEO of the bank’s home operations. She has more than 30 years of banking experience and currently serves as a board member at Turkish Bank, Zain mobile telecommunications company and Kuwait University-College of Business Administration.

Maha Al Ghunaim (Number 6):

She founded Global Investment House — one of the region’s biggest investment firms — in 1998 along with four friends. When she took the firm public on the London Stock Exchange in 2008, it became the first Kuwaiti company to the list on the exchange. The credit crunch forced the company to delist, but in many ways, GIH’s refinancing became a model for other companies to follow.

Henadi Anwar Al-Saleh (Number 8):

She became chair of the board of directors at logistics giant Agility last year, when the company split the role of chair and CEO to comply with new governance rules in Kuwait. Al-Saleh joined Agility in 2007 as head of investor relations. She was previously head of debt and equity capital markets at NBK Capital.

Rasha Alroumi (Number 17):

In December 2014, Rasha Al Roumi took on perhaps the toughest challenge in Gulf business — tackling the revamp of Kuwait’s long-suffering flag carrier, Kuwait Airways. Al Roumi was appointed to the role after the suspension of Sami Al Nisf, who became involved in a dispute with the airline over his plan to buy five used aircraft from India’s Jet Airways.

Hetaf Khajah (Number 25):

She joined NIG in 2003 as an international investment manager before becoming chief investment officer in 2015. Originally a building materials company, NGI invests in regional and international industries such as oil, gas and petrochemicals. It recorded revenues of $451 million in 2014 with total assets of $4.5 billion. She did her Master’s in Management Information Systems and BSc in Computer Engineering from George Washington University.

Sara Akbar (Number 31):

An industry veteran at Kuwait Oil Company and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC), Sara Akbar co-founded Kuwait Energy in 2005. Kuwait Energy is an independent oil and gas company actively engaged in the exploration, appraisal, development and production of hydrocarbons. Akbar was the only female firefighter to participate in her country’s Wild Well Killers team, which was formed on September 9, 1991 to fight the oil-well fires of Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Kuwait University.

Ghosson Al Khaled (Number 69):

 Al Khaled joined the family business in 2002 and during her tenure has restructured the Kuwait operation and increased the company’s assets to $1 billion with a turnover of $200 million. Kuwait-based ACICO Industries started out as a concrete supply company, which later diversified into the construction, real estate, industrial and hospitality sectors. It is the largest manufacturer of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete in the Middle East. She has an Executive MBA from Thunder Bird University, Arizona, and a Master’s of Building Science from University of Southern California, USA.

Hosnia Hashem (Number 73):

She has been VP of Operations at KUFPEC since June 2013. KUFPEC is an international oil and natural gas exploration and development firm that generated $1.4 billion in revenues last year. In her role, she oversees the international operations of Kuwait’s oil sector spread over 15 countries. She was previously Deputy Managing Director of North Kuwait asset of Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). Currently, she sits on the board of the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KPC), the state-run oil refining firm of which KUFPEC is a subsidiary, in addition to chairing the Middle East Board of Directors of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She is also a board member of the Hope foundation, a Kuwait-based humanitarian non-profit. Hashem holds a BS from Kuwait University in chemical engineering.

Fadwa Al-Homaizi (Number 80):

She oversees the operations of the Al-Homaizi Group, a Kuwait-based business conglomerate focused on the F&B industry as well as retail and furniture industries. She also cofounded Kout Good Group in 1982, a franchise of restaurants that operates brands like Burger King and Pizza Hut with assets worth $209.8 million. Al-Homaizi is on the Board of Directors of LoYAC, a Kuwaiti non-profit for youth development.

Eaman Al Roudhan (Number 85):

She joined the Zain Group, a publicly-traded mobile telecommunications provider in the Middle East and North Africa, which recorded revenues of $46.769 million in this year’s first quarter. She joined Zain Kuwait in 1998 and together with a team launched the first mobile prepaid service in Kuwait. In November last year, she became Chief Regulatory Officer in 2014, overseeing Zain’s operations in their exacting dealings with regulators across the region. She holds a BSc in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from Kuwait University and has attended programs at Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) and executive programs at Harvard Business School.

May Al Mudhaf (Number 86):

 Last year, May Al Mudhaf became CEO of National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s Kuwait office. She has over 20 years of banking experience and was previously General Manager, Treasurer at Commercial Bank of Kuwait, and Burgan Bank, where she was Acting CEO. She has a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut.

Sheikha Hissah Al-Sabah (Number 91):

Daughter of the late 14th Emir of Kuwait, Sheikha Hissah Al-Sabah was recently elected Chairperson of Al-Asas Holding Company, a single family office that offers its services to a single high net worth family; financial and personal. She is also Chairperson of the Council of Arab Businesswomen, and the Narcotics Control Committee, among other institutions. She has a BA in Public administration and Political Science from the American University of Beirut.


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