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50 Most Powerful Businesswomen as per Forbes Middle East

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This year’s list of MENA’s most influential and successful businesswomen features representatives of 19 different nationalities and 17 sectors. The U.A.E. and Egypt scored the most entries with seven each, followed by Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, and Oman, with four entries each.

The banking and financial services sector is the most dominant with 16 entries, followed by diversified conglomerates and the retail sector with six entries each, and the technology sector with five.

Over 25% of the women on this year’s list are leaders of regional offices and divisions for multinational companies, such as Saeeda Jaffar of Visa, Derya Matras of Meta, Sophie Doireau of Cartier, and Rima Assi of McKinsey & Company. And there are 12 newcomers, eight of which are based in the U.A.E., Two in Qatar, and two in Saudi Arabia.

Many of these businesswomen have led their companies to cross major milestones in 2021. Under Sarah Al Suhaimi’s leadership, Saudi Tadawul transformed into a holding group and executed a long-awaited IPO. Mona Ataya of Mumzworld sold a majority stake in the company to Saudi-based Tamer Group in what was one of MENA’s most significant exit deals in 2021. And Sophie Doireau of Cartier oversaw the jewelry giant’s collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai to launch the Women’s Pavilion, the first standalone pavilion dedicated to women at a world exhibition.

Methodology

When creating the ranking, we considered the following criteria, with each point assigned a weight:
• Revenues, assets, AUM, market capitalization, and number of employees
• Accomplishments achieved over the last year by the businesswomen
• Designation
• Overall work experience
• CSR and other initiatives led by the businesswomen
• Editorial points

  50 Most Powerful Businesswomen  

1. Raja Easa Al Gurg

Company: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

Title: Group Managing Director & Vice Chairperson

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Diversified

The U.A.E.-based Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group is a family-owned conglomerate consisting of 27 diverse companies that has been operating for more than 60 years. Al Gurg is also the Deputy Chairperson of the National Bank of Fujairah and serves on the advisory board of Coutts Bank, the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. She is also the President of Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), and a member of the board of directors of Dubai Chambers.

2. Renuka Jagtiani

Company: Landmark Group

Title: Chairwoman & CEO

Nationality: Indian

Sector: Retail

The Landmark Group is a Dubai-based multinational consumer conglomerate that was founded in Bahrain in 1973 by Jagtiani’s husband, billionaire Micky Jagtiani. The group operates over 2,200 outlets, encompassing over 30 million square feet across 21 countries and has more than 50,000 employees. Jagtiani led the group’s expansion into new countries and launched its franchise division and e-commerce platform. In 2021, the group provided COVID-19 relief to 94 partner vendors and over 100,000 workers and their families across 13 cities in India and beyond.

3. Hana Al Rostamani

Company: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

Title: Group CEO

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al Rostamani is the first female CEO of FAB, which is the U.A.E.’s largest bank with total assets of $268 billion as of September 2021. Before she was made CEO in January 2021, she was Deputy CEO and Group Head of Personal Banking. Al Rostamani has more than 23 years of experience in banking and financial services. She is also a board member of her family business, the A.W. Rostamani group, which is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the region.

4. Sarah Al Suhaimi

Company: Saudi Tadawul Group

Title: Chairperson

Nationality: Saudi

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

The Saudi Tadawul Group runs the largest stock exchange in the Middle East. In April 2021, the Saudi stock exchange transformed into a holding company with four subsidiaries, including the stock exchange. The Saudi Tadawul Group listed on the Saudi stock exchange in December 2021. AlSuhaimi is a also Board Member at the Saudi Telecom Company, the Saudi Arabian Airlines Public Agency, and the Cultural Development Fund, and she is a trustee of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation.

5. Maryam Al Suwaidi

Company: The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA)

Title: CEO

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al Suwaidi became the first female CEO of the U.A.E.’s SCA in October 2021. She is responsible for strengthening the legislative framework necessary for the development of capital markets in the U.A.E., including the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX), and the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) . She has a PhD in law from the University of Leeds. In September 2021, the Financial Action Task Force accredited Al Suwaidi as the first Emirati female assessor expert in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

6. Hutham Olayan

Company: Olayan Group

Title: Chairperson

Nationality: Saudi

Sector: Diversified

The family-run Olayan Group was founded by Suliman Olayan 75 years ago as a contracting and trading company in Saudi Arabia. Today it has a diverse commercial, industrial, and investment portfolio. The family owns 4.9% of Credit Suisse, which was worth $1.3 billion as of January 2022, and 20.3% of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), which was worth $4.1 billion. Real estate assets include 550 Madison Avenue in New York, Knightsbridge Estate in London, and the Hotel Ritz in Madrid. In Saudi Arabia, it bottles Coca-Cola, runs Burger King restaurants, and manufactures cans and paper. In January 2021, Olayan was appointed to the board of Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

7. Randa Muhammad Sadik

Company: Arab Bank

Title: CEO

Nationality: Jordanian

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Sadik assumed her role as the CEO in February 2022, prior to which she was the Deputy CEO for more than ten years. The Arab Bank has one of the largest global Arab banking networks with over 600 branches across five continents. It recorded $63.7 billion in assets and $1.6 billion in total income in the first nine months of 2021. Sadik previously worked with NBK for 24 years, where she was the group general manager of the International Banking Group. The Arab Bank Group owns a 49% stake in the Oman Arab Bank, which merged with Alizz Islamic Bank in 2020.

8. Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani

Company: Amwal; AL Wa`ab City Real Estate

Title: Founder & Chairperson; Founder & CEO

Nationality: Qatari

Sector: Financial Services; Real Estate

Al Thani started her career at Qatar University as a lecturing assistant in the economics department. She founded Amwal, formerly known as Qatar Ladies Investment Company, in 1998, which was the first investment company to receive a license from the Qatar Central Bank to operate in the investment banking, asset management, and wealth management industries in the country. Al Thani also founded the AL Wa`ab City Real Estate development project in 2005 with a cost of $3.2 billion. She is the current CEO of the project, which spreads over 1.2 million square meters and will be home to over 8,000 people once complete. Hanadi is also a founding Chair at INJAZ Qatar, Vice Chairman of NBK Holdings, and serves on the boards of several other organizations and firms.

9. Nezha Hayat

Company: Morocco’s Capital Market Authority

Title: Chairperson & CEO

Nationality: Moroccan

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Hayat has been at the helm of Morocco’s Capital Market Authority since 2016, which is responsible for the country’s non-banking capital markets such as the stock exchange and brokerage firms. The Casablanca Stock Exchange had a market cap of more than $74.2 billion as of January 2022. As an advocate of women’s rights, she is one of the founding members and president of Club des Femmes Administrateurs d‘entreprises in Morocco (CFA Maroc), a non-profit organization that works to promote the participation of women on the boards of directors of public and private companies. Hayat is also president of the Africa/Middle East Regional Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions until the end of 2022.

10. Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar

Company: National Bank of Kuwait Group

Title: Deputy Group CEO

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al Bahar oversees NBK’s operations in 14 countries, with a total workforce of 8,250 people. During the pandemic, she worked on the digital transformation of the bank, establishing the NBK Group Digital Office. The bank recorded total assets of $107.8 billion and a profit of $881.7 million in the first nine months of 2021, which was 50% more than the profit it achieved in the same period of 2020. Al Bahar has more than 30 years of experience in the banking sector. Besides her role at NBK, she is also chairperson of Human Development and Urban Planning at Kuwait’s Supreme Council for Planning and Development.

11. Lubna Olayan

Company: Saudi British Bank (SABB)

Title: Chairperson

Nationality: Saudi

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

After serving as CEO of the Olayan Financing Company for over 33 years, Olayan announced her retirement in 2019. She became chairperson of SABB in June 2019, which made $1.5 billion in total operating income in the first nine months of 2021. She also served as the chairwoman of Alawwal Bank, which merged with SABB last March. Olayan was the first woman to join the board of a publicly-listed company in Saudi Arabia. She sits on the boards for the Olayan Financing Company, Schlumberger, and Ma’aden, and she sits on the international advisory boards of Akbank, Allianz SE, McKinsey & Co, and the Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She is also a trustee of KAUST, MIT, and the Asia Business Council.

12. Sima Ganwani Ved

Company: Apparel Group

Title: Founder & Chairwoman

Nationality: Indian

Sector: Retail

The Apparel Group is one of the largest retailers in the Middle East. It is based in the U.A.E. with operations in Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The company has more than 75 brands, 1,750 stores, and over 16,500 employees. Sima is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

13. Mona Yousuf Almoayyed

Company: Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons

Title: Managing Director

Nationality: Bahraini

Sector: Diversified

Almoayyed joined her family business, Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons, 20 years ago. It is a diversified group in Bahrain focused on automobiles, electronics and luxury goods. The group represents over 300 international brands including Infiniti, Nissan, Renault, Ford, Sony, Nikon, Westpoint, and Toshiba. In December 2018, Mona was appointed as a member of the Bahrain Shura Council by HRH King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa. She is also a member of the Public Utilities & Environment Committee, which works towards a greener Bahrain.

14. Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch

Company: AKSAL Group

Title: Founder & CEO

Nationality: Moroccan

Sector: Retail

Akhannouch founded the AKSAL Group in 2004. The group, which has more than 1,000 employees, is the sole franchisee for 45 leading brands in Morocco, including Emporio Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Oysho, Ralph Lauren, Zara, Banana Republic, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, and Gap. In 2008, Akhannouch launched the Morocco Mall, which opened in 2011. The mall covers 10 hectares with 70,000 square meters of commercial space. In 2011, Akhannouch also created the AKSAL Training Academy for careers in retail, and the AKSAL Social Initiative to support social, cultural, educational, and health projects.

15. Basmah Abdulaziz Al-Mayman

16. Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun

Company: Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes; Holmarcom Group

Title: Vice President & CEO; Director

Nationality: Moroccan

Sector: Consumer Goods

Chaqroun joined her family business, the Holmarcom Group, in 1990. It was founded in 1978. She is also the vice president and CEO of Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes, which is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange and is one of the leading mineral water brands in Morocco, with distribution capacity of 800 million bottles supplying 90,000 points of sale. Chaqroun was appointed by the UN Secretary General as a member of the Global Investors Alliance for Sustainable Development, and she sits on several national and international boards, including Al Akhawayn University, the Suez Group, and the Renault-Nissan Group.

17. Wadha Ahmed Al-Khateeb

Company: Kuwait National Petroleum Company

Title: Deputy CEO Mina Abdulla Refinery

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Sector: Oil and Gas

Al-Khateeb has been with the Kuwait National Petroleum Company for more than 25 years and assumed her current position in 2019. In the same fiscal year, the company recorded $25 billion in revenues. Al-Khateeb was the first woman to head the Gas Processors Association GCC Chapter. She was a board member for the Kuwait Styrene Company in the fiscal year 2018/19, and she has been the chairperson for the Kuwait Paraxylene Production Company since May 2019. Kuwait’s Mina Abdullah Refinery can produce 270,000 barrels per day and was the second refinery in Kuwait to be registered on the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.

18. Henadi Al-Saleh

Company: Agility

Title: Chairperson

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Sector: Logistics

Al-Saleh joined Agility 15 years ago. In 2020, Agility recorded revenues of $5.2 billion, an increase of 2.7% compared to 2019. In January 2021, it invested $35 million in the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, to target businesses offering sustainable solutions in clean energy, healthcare, financial technology, industrials, mobility and emerging technology. In December 2021, Al-Saleh signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, which aim to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

19. Huda Al Rostamani

Company: AW Rostamani Group

Title: Managing Director

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Diversified

The AW Rostamani Group family business was founded in 1954. Today, it employs over 4,000 people, with operations in the automotive, real estate, logistics, and travel sectors, among others. The Arabian Automobiles Company, the group’s automotive flagship, is the exclusive distributor for Nissan, INFINITI and Renault vehicles in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Huda oversees new business development and business turnaround functions.

20. Mona Zulficar

Company: Zulficar & Partners; EFG Hermes

Title: Founding Partner & Chair of Executive Committee; Chairperson

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Law; Investment

Zulficar has handled key transactions at Zulficar & Partners including the first FiT Program for the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company in 2017, which aimed to develop and finance the then-largest solar park in the world in Benban. EFG Hermes recently became the first universal bank in Egypt. In November 2021, it completed its 51% acquisition of the Arab Investment Bank.

21. Pakinam Kafafi

Company: TAQA Arabia

Title: CEO

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Oil and Gas

Kafafi started her career in investment banking, and entered the oil and gas industry in 2003 by joining the Gas & Energy Group, which was acquired by Qalaa Holdings in 2006. She became CEO of TAQA Arabia in 2013. Today, the company has 1.5 million clients, with around 150,000 new clients added to its portfolio over the past year alone. TAQA Arabia recorded a net income of $19.4 million as of Q3 2021 compared to $15.6 million in the same period in 2020. The company doubled its compressed natural gas stations to 32 in 2021, up from 16 in 2020.

22. Eaman Al Roudhan

Company: Zain Kuwait

Title: CEO

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Sector: Telecommunications

Al Roudhan started her career at Zain in 1998 and has been CEO of Zain Kuwait since 2015, when she became the first female CEO within Zain Group. Zain Kuwait, which has 2.3 million clients, recorded revenues of $779 million in the first nine months of 2021, making it the group’s most profitable company with a net income of $193 million. Al Roudhan is also a member of the GSMA Arab World regional interest group and the GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer Group. In December 2021, Zain Kuwait announced a collaboration with the Kuwait Clearing Company, to offer telecommunications services and digital transformation solutions.

23. Lujaina Mohsin Haider Darwish

Company: Mohsin Haider Darwish

Title: Chairperson – ITICS

Nationality: Omani

Sector: Diversified

Lujaina Mohsin Haider Darwish leads the Infrastructure, Technology, Industrial & Consumer Solutions (ITICS) cluster at Mohsin Haider Darwish, one of Oman’s largest family-owned businesses. In 2021, she led an Omani delegation to Expo 2020 Dubai and inaugurated a postage stamp to celebrate Omani Women’s Day. She is also a member of the U.K.’s Royal Society for Arts and the Oman’s Upper House of the State Council.

24. Areej Mohsin Haider Darwish

Company: Mohsin Haider Darwish

Title: Chairperson – ACERE

Nationality: Omani

Sector: Diversified

Areej Mohsin Haider Darwish oversees the Automotive, Construction Equipment & Renewable Energy (ACERE) cluster of Mohsin Haider Darwish, one of the region’s largest family conglomerates. She is also the chair at Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives SAOC and Duqm United Logistics, and she is a board member for Muscat University, the Unicef Leadership Circle, and Dar Al Atta.

25. Elissar Farah Antonios

Company: Citigroup

Title: MENA Cluster Head & CEO of U.A.E.

Nationality: Lebanese

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Antonios became the first woman appointed by Citigroup to run its MENA operations in December 2020. She oversees 12 countries and 2,100 employees. Last year, Antonios led the partnership with the U.S. pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, where the bank is the Official Financial Sponsor. Citigroup launched a Global Technology Hub in Bahrain in 2021, in cooperation with Tamkeen and the Bahrain Economic Development Board, which aims to create 1,000 coding jobs over the next ten years. She is also the chairperson of Injaz Al-Arab UAE and a board member of the Dubai International Chamber.

26. Samia Bouazza

Company: Multiply Group

Title: CEO & Managing Director

Nationality: Lebanese

Sector: Technology

Bouazza founded the Multiply Marketing Consultancy (MMC), which was acquired by Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company (IHC) in 2020. After the acquisition, MMC was transformed into the tech-focused holding company, Multiply Group. The group listed its shares on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX) in December 2021. After the listing, the group signed a binding commitment to invest around $74.8 million in visual content creator and marketplace Getty Images. It had a market capitalization of $5.2 billion as of January 2022. The group executed six domestic and foreign investment deals in 2021.

27. Farida Khamis

Company: The Orientals Group

Title: Chair

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Retail

The Khamis sisters lead one of the largest machine-made rug and carpet manufacturers in the world. In 2020, the company’s net profit increased by 30% compared to 2019 to hit $70.7 million. Its revenues in the first nine months of 2021 reached $534.2 million. Farida also chairs the British University in Egypt and the Egyptian Propylene and Polypropylene Company. She also co-founded and chairs the Khayrazad Organisation for Social Care.

28. Yasmine Khamis

Company: Oriental Weavers Carpet

Title: Chairwoman

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Retail

The Khamis sisters lead one of the largest machine-made rug and carpet manufacturers in the world. In 2020, the company’s net profit increased by 30% compared to 2019 to hit $70.7 million. Its revenues in the first nine months of 2021 reached $534.2 million. Yasmine became chairperson of the group after the passing of the founder, Farid Khamis.

29. Mona Ataya

Company: Mumzworld

Title: CEO & Founder

Nationality: Palestinian

Sector: E-commerce

Ataya co-founded Mumzworld in 2011, a U.A.E.-based e-commerce platform for mother, baby, and children. Today, the platform sells over 250,000 products from 5,500 global brands across 20 countries. Mumzworld has raised over $50 million in total funding, making it MENA’s most funded e-commerce business led by women. In June 2021, Ataya and her co-founder sold a majority stake to Saudi-based Tamer Group, in an undisclosed deal, in what was one of MENA’s significant exit deals in 2021. Ataya is also an advocate for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

30. Saeeda Jaffar

Company: Visa

Title: Senior Vice President & Group Country Manager for the GCC

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Jaffar was appointed to her current role in June 2021. In August, Jaffer signed an MoU with the Arab Monetary Fund to support the growth and efficiency of cross-border payments between the Arab region and global markets. Before joining Visa, Jaffar was the Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal Middle East. She has also worked with Bain & Company and McKinsey & Company, working with private and public sector clients. She has a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT, which she gained through the HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum EDAAD Scholarship.

31. Derya Matras

Company: Meta

Title: Vice President—Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

Nationality: Turkish

Sector: Technology

Matras was appointed to her current role in early 2020. In 2021, Meta developed and built technologies such as Instagram Lite, DINO, Expire-Span, Time Appliance, 2Africa Pearls, and Horizon Workrooms. Just before announcing that it was rebranding from Facebook to Meta in September 2021, Facebook announced that it was launching a two-year $50 million investment in programs and research alongside educational, wellness and safety entities, nonprofit organizations, and government and cultural institutions in Europe and the Middle East. Matras holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

32. Reem Asaad

Company: Cisco

Title: Vice President—Middle East and Africa

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Technology

Asaad joined Cisco in early 2020 and became the first woman to be appointed Vice President for the Middle East and Africa. In October 2021, Cisco and Expo 2020 Dubai announced a collaboration to launch a U.A.E. program to reduce food waste. The Cisco Networking Academy has trained over two million students across the Middle East and Africa. In January 2021, Cisco launched Future Class in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates University, which is a smart AI-based lecture room project. Cisco recorded $12.9 billion in revenues in Q1 of the 2022 financial year, ending October 2021.

33. Nadia Al Saeed

Company: Bank al Etihad

Title: CEO

Nationality: Jordanian

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al Saeed has been leading Bank al Etihad since 2007, which employs over 1,260 people. She was previously the ICT minister for Jordan. The bank’s profits increased by 39% between January and September 2021. It sponsored the training of more than 500 employees through the King Hussein Cancer Foundation’s Education and Training Academy throughout 2021.

34. Elham Mahfouz

Company: Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK)

Title: CEO

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Mahfouz was appointed CEO of CBK in 2014. In 2020, CBK contributed to Kuwait’s initiatives in fighting COVID-19 launched by the central bank, which aimed to raise $33 million. The bank also launched its Double Your Reward with Al-Tijari campaign in cooperation with charities, committing to match the charitable donations made by its customers. CBK recorded a net profit of $135 million for the first nine-months of 2021.

35. Rita Maria Zniber

Company: Diana Holding

Title: Chairman & CEO

Nationality: Moroccan

Sector: Food and Beverage

Zniber has been the Chairman and CEO of Diana Holding since 2014, leading over 7,500 people. The Moroccan food and beverage company has ventures in agriculture, olive growing, poultry farming, trade, and distribution. In late 2021, Diana Holding and University Mohammed VI Polytechnic Signed a strategic partnership to strengthen research, development, and innovation in agriculture. Zniber is also the founding president of the non-profit public utility association the Rita Zniber Fondation, which is dedicated to helping abandoned children.

36. Hend El-Sherbini

Company: Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH)

Title: Group CEO

Nationality: Egyptian

Sector: Healthcare

El-Sherbini has been leading IDH for 17 years. The group has a presence in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, and Jordan. In December 2021, IDH acquired 50% of the Islamabad Diagnostic Centre in Pakistan from the Evercare Group for $72.3 million. The company recorded $239.9 million in revenues for the first nine months of 2021—it also served 7.5 million people and performed at least 25 million tests.

37. Sophie Doireau

Company: Cartier

Title: CEO—Middle East, India and Africa (MEIA)

Nationality: French

Sector: Retail

Doireau assumed her current role in September 2021, becoming the first woman to lead the MEIA region for Cartier. Last year, Cartier expanded its operations to include Turkey, and launched its e-commerce platforms in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia. The company collaborated with Expo 2020 Dubai to launch the Women’s Pavilion, the first standalone pavilion dedicated to women at a world exhibition. Doireau also launched the Cartier Community Days initiative, which is a digital platform that connects employees with charities.

38. Hoda Mansour

Company: SAP

Title: Head of Business Process Intelligence—Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa

Nationality: Egyptian/British

Sector: Technology

Mansour was promoted to her current role at the end of 2021, becoming the first woman from the Middle East to hold the position. The Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa region covers 75 countries. Mansour established the SAP Businesswomen’s Network in Egypt, which promotes open dialogue and equal opportunities for women. She also collaborated with the UN’s Goals for Production and Development in Egypt, which aims to promote sustainable ideas and initiatives by startups that touch upon inclusivity, diversity, and innovation.

39. Haifa Al Khaifi

Company: Petroleum Development Oman LLC (PDO); Energy Development Oman (EDO)

Title: Finance Director & Board Secretary; Interim CEO

Nationality: Omani

Sector: Oil and Gas

Al Khaifi leads the Finance Directorate at Oman’s largest oil and gas producer. PDO delivers 70% of Oman’s oil and nearly all of its gas. Al Khaifi is a member of PDO’s Executive Committee and its Oil and Gas Boards, and she chairs its Tender Board and Pension Fund Board of Trustees. She is also the Interim CEO for the newly-formed EDO until the end of Q1 2022.

40. Jalila Mezni

Company: Societe d’Articles Hygieniques (SAH Group)

Title: Co-Founder & CEO

Nationality: Tunisian

Sector: Consumer Goods

Jalila Mezni co-founded the SAH Group in 1994 and listed it on the Tunisian stock exchange in 2014. The company traditionally made hygiene products and diversified into detergents in 2018. The SAH Group operates in 20 counters across Africa and has manufacturing plants in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal. Through her other company, JM Holdings, Mezni controls 62.7% of the company, valued at $162 million.

41. Hind Bahwan

Company: Bahwan CyberTek Group (BCT Group)

Title: Founder & Chairperson

Nationality: Omani

Sector: Technology

Bahwan is the founder and chairperson of multiple companies. The BCT Group employs more than 3,400 people. In 2021, it received a patent for the company’s predictive analytics platform, RETINA, which aims to minimize operational risks. The company has trained more than 10,000 young people in Oman.

42. Najla Al Shirawi

Company: SICO BSC

Title: CEO

Nationality: Bahraini

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al Shirawi was appointed CEO of SICO in 2014. In October 2021, SICO launched a Digital Ambassadors Programme in collaboration with the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance for students and graduates. SICO recorded a profit of $9.4 million for the first nine months of 2021, a 107% increase compared to 2020. Al Shirawi is also board member of the Bahrain Economic Board and chairs the board of directors for two SICO subsidiaries: the SICO Funds Services Company in Bahrain and the SICO Financial Brokerage in Abu Dhabi. She is also a vice-chairperson for SICO Capital.

43. Najla Ahmed Al Midfa

Company: Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa)

Title: CEO

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Entrepreneurship

Over the last five years, Sheraa has supported over 120 startups, which have created more than 1,300 jobs and generated $130 million in revenues. In 2021, the company launched the government-backed Sharjah Startup Studio, which focuses on creating solutions in fields such as femtech, sustainability and edtech. Al Midfa is also on the board of directors of Dana Gas and founded Khayarat in January 2014.

44. Rima Assi

Company: McKinsey & Company

Title: Senior Partner and Managing Partner, Abu Dhabi

Nationality: Lebanese/French

Sector: Consulting

Assi joined the Middle East office of McKinsey & Company in 2006. She advises country leaders across the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Before joining McKinsey, she worked as a banker in France. Assi has contributed to supporting female empowerment through quantifying the economic impact of women’s rights reforms. She has participated in CSR activities such as Qiyada Emerging leaders, which aims to help young Emiratis become better leaders.

45. Linda Fitz-Alan

Company: ADGM Courts

Title: Registrar and Chief Executive

Nationality: Australian

Sector: Law and Policy

Coming from Australia to the U.A.E., Fitz-Alan has over 20 years of experience and assumed the leadership of ADGM Courts in 2015. Three years later, ADGM Courts launched its unique eCourts Platform, where parties and their lawyers have a completely digital experience including commencing cases and filing documents. Under her leadership, the Abu Dhabi-based international financial center also opened the ADGM Arbitration Centre, MENA’s first state-of-the art digital hearing facility.

46. Rola Abu Manneh

Company: Standard Chartered Bank

Title: CEO—U.A.E.

Nationality: Emirati

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Abu Manneh became the first Emirati woman to head a bank in the U.A.E. when she assumed her current role at Standard Chartered Bank in 2018. The bank’s U.A.E. business has become one of the biggest five markets for the Standard Chartered Group. The bank launched a sustainable account for corporates in the U.A.E. in 2021, whereby deposits will be used to fund sustainable projects. In 2021, Abu Manneh became a member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai International Chamber.

47. Alanoud Bint Hamad Al-Thani

Company: Qatar Financial Centre (QFC)

Title: Deputy CEO & Chief Business Officer

Nationality: Qatari

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Al-Thani joined QFC in 2016. She was the Managing Director of Business Development before taking on her current role. She was honored by the World Economic Forum in 2021 as a Young Global Leader. In 2021, 282 new firms joined QFC from 60 countries, and QFC signed 20 MoUs, the latest of which was with the Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation Council.

48. Zainab Kufaishi

Company: Invesco Asset Management

Title: Head of Middle East and Africa and Senior Executive Officer

Nationality: British/Iraqi

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Kufaishi has been at Invesco Asset Management for 12 years. She is responsible for growing revenues and diversifying the company’s business by winning new clients. She is also a member of the EMEA-wide executive committee. Besides her role at Invesco, she is an active member and mentor of Ellevate, a professional women’s network committed to diversity and inclusion.

49. Leila Hoteit

Company: Boston Consulting Group

Title: Managing Director & Senior Partner

Nationality: Lebanese

Sector: Investments

Hoteit is the global lead for the education, employment, and social welfare sectors at BCG. In 2020, these sectors grew by over 50% compared to 2019. Hoteit was BCG’s only female senior partner in the Middle East in 2021. She was also selected in late 2019 to be on the leadership team of BCG’s social impact practice, which expanded by more than 60% in 2020 and 2021. Hoteit also sits on the board of the Queen Rania Foundation, and she is a member of the jury for the Global Teacher Price.

50. Narjes Farookh Jamal

Company: Bahrain Bourse

Title: COO

Nationality: Bahraini

Sector: Banking and Financial Services

Jamal heads digital transformation at the Bahrain Bourse and is responsible for embedding ESG practices and building partnerships with GCC exchanges. In November 2021, the Bahrain Bourse signed a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange to facilitate and enhance investments between the two countries. Its market capitalization reached $28.8 billion in January 2022. As head of the company’s Gender Equality Committee, Jamal endorsed the Working From Home initiative in 2020.

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