Mona Almoayyed, first Bahraini woman on Forbes' list of Middle East's 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023

Five Bahraini women have been recognised on Forbes' list of Middle East's 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023, taking their place among some of most influential female leaders regionally.

Leading the national contingent is YK Almoayyed & Sons managing director Mona Almoayyed in 16th place on the list.

She assumed her current role at her family business in 2000. The diversified group focuses on automobiles, electronics, and luxury goods. It represents over 300 international brands, including Infiniti, Nissan, Renault, Ford, Sony, Nikon, Westpoint, and Toshiba.

Ms Almoayyed is also chairwoman and head of the audit committee for Ebdaa Bank, and she sits on the board of the Arab International Women’s Forum, which aims to support and enhance the role of women in the social and economic development of their countries across the Middle East.

Next in line from Bahrain is SICO chief executive Najla Al Shirawi, ranked 69.

Ms Al Shirawi has more than 25 years of experience in investment banking. She has been working with SICO since 1997 and was appointed CEO in 2014.

She previously served with Geneva-based Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, where she established private banking operations for the group in the Gulf region.

Ms Al Shirawi is also a board member of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, a chairperson on the board of directors for the SICO Funds Services Company in Bahrain and SICO Financial Brokerage in Abu Dhabi, and a vice chairperson for SICO Capital.

SICO nearly doubled its assets under management from $2.1 billion in 2019 to $4.1bn in 2021.

In 83rd place, Bahrain Development Bank Group chief executive Dalal Al Qais was appointed to her current role in December 2021.

Before joining BDB, she was the chief retail banking and wealth management officer at Bahrain Islamic Bank and held various leading roles at Standard Chartered Bank and United Bank.

In July 2022, Export Bahrain and BDB signed an MoU to provide support in export financing services to Bahrain-based businesses.

Also also making a mark internationally is Bahrain Bourse chief operating officer Narjes Jamal, taking 90th place in the ranking.

Ms Jamal joined the Bahrain Bourse in 1998. As COO, she heads digital transformation at the Bahrain Bourse and is responsible for embedding ESG practices and building partnerships with GCC exchanges. In October 2022, the Bahrain Bourse signed an MoU to enhance co-operation between the Bahrain Bourse and the Muscat Stock Exchange. The Bahrain Bourse’s market capitalisation stood at $30.2bn as of January 2023.

Ms Jamal is also a board member at Bahrain Clear, which is fully owned by the Bahrain Bourse.

In August 2022, Bahrain Clear launched the Bahrain Private Market, a new comprehensive platform for closed shareholding companies.

Bringing up the rear among Bahrain’s flag-bearers is Khalil bin Ebrahim Kanoo Company chief executive and president Suzy Kanoo in 92nd place.

Ms Kanoo leads Khalil bin Ebrahim Kanoo Company and IMTA, which is a distributor of Mazda, JAC Vehicles, Sailun tires, Elito Batteries, Veedol Lubricants, and other auto-related products.

She is also a member of the YPO top CEO network and has published a book titled Hear Us Speak: Letters from Arab Women in 2021.

Hana Al Rostamani, group chief executive of First Abu Dhabi Bank and Raja Easa Al Gurg, chairperson and managing director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, were both recognised and have taken the top two places in this year’s list of the region’s most powerful businesswomen.

The banking and financial services sector dominates the list with 23 entries, followed by 11 who are leading diversified businesses, eight from the investments sector, six from the retail sector, and five from healthcare.

The UAE and Egypt scored the most entries at 15 and 12, respectively, followed by 11 from Saudi Arabia.


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