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Bader Al-Kharafi leads Kuwait’s CEOs on Forbes Middle East list

KUWAIT: Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi has been named by Forbes Middle East among the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East for 2022. Kharafi, Zain Group CEO, leads Kuwait-based CEOs featured on the list. The list features seven CEOs from Kuwait. It also includes Alshaya Group CEO John Hadden, KIPCO Group CEO Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah, National Bank of Kuwait Group CEO Essam Al-Sager, Agility CEO Tareq Al-Sultan, Commercial Bank of Kuwait CEO Elham Mahfouz, Boursa Kuwait CEO Mohammad Al-Osaimi and VI Markets CEO Talal Al-Ajmi.

Bader Al-Kharafi became Zain Group’s vice chairman in 2014, and group CEO in 2017. He is also the chairman of the board for the executive committee of Boursa Kuwait and a member of the board of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He is also a founder of BNK Holding, a privately held shareholding company. John Hadden became CEO of Alshaya Group in 2019, before which he was the company’s COO.

Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah was appointed as KIPCO’s Group CEO in early 2022, having been a board member since 2020. She is also the founder and chair of the board of trustees of the American University of Kuwait and the chairperson of the United Education Company. She sits on the boards of the Gulf Insurance Group, OSN, and Kamco Invest. She was previously the CEO of the Al Futtooh Holding Company.

Essam Al-Sager is the Vice-Chairman and Group CEO of NBK. He also serves as the chairman of NBK (International) and sits on the boards of Watani Wealth Management, NBK Properties, and NBK Trustees. Tareq Al-Sultan became CEO of Agility in 1997. He is also a member of the Board of Stewards of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production and serves as a trustee for the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

Elham Mahfouz became CEO of Al Tijari in 2014, having previously been the general manager of international banking since December 2010. Mahfouz is also a member of the legal bankers institute in London. Mohammad Al-Osaimi first joined Boursa Kuwait in 2015 as a member of the board. He became CEO in 2019, before which he was head of markets. Talal Al-Ajmi founded VI Markets in 2010. He is also a board member at One Financial Market.

The region’s top 100 CEOs represent 26 nationalities, Forbes Middle East wrote on its website. Emiratis dominate with 19 entries, followed by Egyptians with 16, and Saudis with 15. Combined they managed revenues of over $1 trillion in 2021. Their companies are currently collectively worth more than $5 trillion. Banking and financial services is the most represented sector on the list with 27 CEOs, followed by eight telecom CEOs, and seven that each head energy and logistics companies.

“Irrespective of the economic environment, market conditions, and other factors, it is the CEO who bears most of the responsibility for the success or failure of the company they lead,” Forbes Middle East wrote. “This is becoming more apparent in the Middle East, where corporate governance has been improving for several years. There is now a clear separation between ownership and management in companies throughout the region. This trend is particularly strong in government-owned businesses, with even sectors such as defense and utilities now being incorporated and even being listed on stock exchanges. This has made CEOs focus more on long-term benefits that stem from innovation, technology, and ESG initiatives.”

When Forbes Middle East released its first Top CEOs ranking in 2021, the mood among the Middle East’s CEOs was focused on safety and the protection of business, the magazine wrote. “This year has seen a reversal in fortunes, with record profits, new investments, large IPOs, and mega deals taking center stage,” it indicated. “For example, so far in 2022, Amin H Nasser has led Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company by market value again, usurping Apple. Meanwhile, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber led ADNOC as it took three of its subsidiaries – ADNOC Drilling, Fertiglobe, and Borouge – public, with Borouge’s $2 billion IPO becoming Abu Dhabi’s largest-ever IPO.”

The CEOs were ranked based on the impact that they have had on the region, their country, and the markets that they serve, the CEO’s overall experience and time in their current role, the size of the company in terms of revenues, assets, and market cap, the achievements and performance of the CEO in the last year, as well as the innovations and initiatives that the CEO has implemented. Forbes Middle East had sent out questionnaires and collected information from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports and financial statements, and other primary sources to create the ranking.

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