Kuwait's Shaikha Al Bahar leads Forbes Middle East list of most powerful Arab business women
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue May 8, 2012 10:23 am

UAE. Forbes Middle East has just unveiled their ‘Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Business Women in Listed Companies’. A first of its kind, the ranking focuses on the role of Arab business women over a wide range of public listed companies and sectors.

Taking the top spot as the leading lady is Kuwait’s Shaikha Al Bahar, CEO of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, whose bank flourished under her leadership amassing an impressive US$1 billion profits and US$2.3 billion in revenues.

Following in a close second is Lubna Suliman Olayan, the Saudi National who built a formidable reputation in banking and who now serves as a board member of the Saudi Hollandi Bank. The third spot was given to Dina Shoman, executive vice president of branding and board member of Arab Bank.

Compiling the research into a single database under strict criteria which includes the annual financial performance for the company in 2011, shares held by individuals in the company, and the market value of the company as of the 1st April, 2012. Beginning with a total of 219 women, the list was successfully reduced from 219 to 100 women.

Our list not only helped identify the most powerful leading women in the region, but helped us identify the key sectors in which these women have enjoyed success. Included amongst the top sectors are: banking with 29 women, manufacturing with 18, investments 16, services 14 and insurance with 8.

The list was also broken down by geographical region with Egypt taking the center stage with 20 prestigious women in key leadership roles. This was followed by Kuwait with 17, Jordan with 13, and followed closely by UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Palestine, with 8 women each respectively. Syria continued the list with 7, Saudi Arabia with 5, and both Qatar and Lebanon with 3 each.

Also included in the current issue is Forbes Middle East’s ranking of the ‘Top 50 Richest Arab Business Women in Listed Companies’. A comprehensive list comprised of women across the region with the largest stakes in publicly listed companies, the ranking only includes those with a wealth of more than US$1 million.

The result of the combined wealth from the total of 50 individuals is an impressive US$498.2 million. Our research also concluded that the UAE ranked first on this list boasting a total combined wealth of US$117.6 million.

Leading the pack with the largest sum of personal wealth is Sheikha Amna bint Mohammed Al thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar and a stakeholder in the Mannai Corporation (MCCS) with US$86.9 million to her name. Coming in second is Maryam Khalfan Al Naeemi from the UAE who owns a sizeable stake in the Commercial Bank International with US$69.1 million. Third was given to Laila Gomaa Gowaily, an Egyptian national with a small stake in the Maridive & Oil Services Co. with US$34.6 million.

Forbes Middle East’s editor-in-chief, Khuloud Al-Omian is fervent about the ranking, commentating on the changing role of women: “Historically, women have not had an equal platform to many of the societal levers of power as their male counterparts.  However, much has changed over the past half century.

"Finally, we are witnessing a time when women are solidifying their positions themselves substantially and becoming more successful with record-breaking momentum. And keeping in line with breaking records, collectively, the total net worth of all the Arab business women in the stock market reached an astounding US$498.2 million.”

It has become increasingly evident that women have a larger role to play both in society and in the business world. They have already garnered an impressive presence in many different sectors of business across the entire MENA region and in some cases they have matched and even surpassed their male counterparts.

This exemplifies where women have been and where they are taking the business world. There is a connection between each individual sector and the global businesswoman orientation movement and the impact that these women have had on policies, programs, companies and various financial agencies.

Building on a theme of equality, women have certainly taken their place side by side with men, working together to develop all sectors of business: industry, energy, construction and even banks. This unity of action has allowed them to create their own platform and establish their names amongst their male peers that have shinned for so long nearly independently.

Forbes Middle east is working on other lists for the future and looks forward to receiving more information from business women across the Gulf, across all sectors. If you would like to be part of our rankings, please e-mail info@forbesmiddleeast.com.

About Forbes Middle East

Forbes Middle East is the licensed Middle Eastern version to the world renowned Forbes magazine and extends the Forbes brand of journalism across the MENA region. Forbes Middle East's distinctive editorial style attracts a readership community of Billionaires, Powerful Arab Men and Women, Entrepreneurs, C-Level executives, government officials and investors united by a belief in the spirit of free enterprise and entrepreneurial values. 

Across the region, Forbes Middle East is setting the pace for preemptive business journalism. By uncovering trends and anticipating opportunities in the regional marketplace, each monthly issue, brings top executives the information critical to their success – in both Arabic & English language editions.  Forbes Middle East is the guiding compass for investments and best practices in the Arab region.

The magazine researches and publishes original and relevant Lists/Rankings, based on the criteria of neutrality, authenticity, commitment to the methodology of scientific research and the quality of standards set globally by Forbes Media, US.



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