The Middle East’s Most Influential Women 2018

women, influential, middle east

Women across the region are coming to the forefront as they take on the lead in businesses and across the public sector organizations. Female university graduates outnumber the male graduates in the region, bucking a global trend.

Today women in the Arab world have advanced in industries that were typically male dominated, breaking the proverbial glass ceiling. They lead companies in oil and gas while pioneering the next innovation in cryptocurrencies or fintech. Our latest list of The Middle East’s Most Influential Women honors these high achievers. The list features 100 female executives and businesswomen and 10 women heading government departments in the region.

Unlike in the Western countries where the banking industry is male-dominated, women in the region have made a mark with 29 of the 100 influential women working in the banking and financial services industry. In addition, women have major roles to play as regulators of the economy. The stock exchanges in both Saudi Arabia and Morocco are headed by women while the Road Transport Authority in the U.A.E. and the Central Bank of Egypt are also led by women.

Women across the region are also playing a growing role in the governance of their countries. The region had over 50 women ministers while some of the countries have the most gender diverse cabinets.

This year we have also included expat women in the Middle East who have contributed greatly to regional economy. The list features 16 expat women across industries.

To formulate this ranking of the most influential businesswomen, we considered:
• Revenues of the companies that they lead.
• The title, scope and impact of the role that they perform.
• The amount of experience that they possess.
• The growth of their firm, and other initiatives that they have led in the last three years.

We ranked the top 10 women heading government departments on the basis of:
• The GDP of their countries.
• The scope of their departments.

This year the Middle East’s Most Influential Women’s list also features top 10 women heading government departments.

1Lubna Al OlayanCEOOlayan FinancingDiversifiedSaudi Arabia
2Raja Easa Al GurgManaging DirectorEasa Saleh Al Gurg GroupDiversifiedU.A.E.
3Renuka JagtianiCEOLandmark GroupRetailIndia
4Rania Mahmoud NasharCEOSamba Financial GroupBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
5Khawla al-AsadiGeneral ManagerRafidain BankBanking and Financial ServicesIraq
6Eaman Al RoudhanCEOZain KuwaitTelecommunicationsKuwait
7Shaikha Al BaharDeputy Group CEONBKBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
8Mona AlmoayyedManaging DirectorYK Almoayyed & SonsDiversifiedBahrain
9Huda KhattanFounder and CEOHuda BeautyRetailU.S./ Iraq
10Amal BahwanVice ChairSuhail Bahwan GroupDiversifiedOman
11Huda Al RostamaniManaging Director and Board MemberAW RostamaniDiversifiedU.A.E.
12Henadi Al-SalehChairAgilityLogistics and TransportationKuwait
13Rafiah EbrahimPresident, Middle East and AfricaEricssonTechnologyMalaysia
14Randa SadikDeputy CEOArab BankBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
15Muna Al HashemiGroup Deputy CEOBatelcoTelecommunicationsBahrain
16Elham MahfouzCEOCommercial Bank of KuwaitBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
17Nabilah Al-TunisiChief EngineerSaudi AramcoPetrochemicalsSaudi Arabia
18Mona ZulficarFounding PartnerZulficar & Partners; EFG HermesLawEgypt
19Suzanne Al AnaniCEODubai Aviation Engineering ProjectsConstructionU.A.E.
20Dalia ElBazHead , Risk, Banking Operations, Information Technology, Deputy ChairNational Bank of EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
21Hind BahwanFounderBahwan CyberTekInformation TechnologyOman
22Haifa Al KhaifiCFOPetroleum Development OmanPetrochemicalsOman
23Sahar El DamatiManaging DirectorUnion CapitalInvestmentsEgypt
24Rawan Ahmed Al SaidCEO; ChairpersonTakaful Oman; National Bank of Oman;Banking and Financial ServicesOman
25Rita Maria ZniberCEODiana HoldingFood and BeveragesMorocco
26Miriam Bensalah ChaqrounCEOLes Eaux Minerales d'OulmesDiversifiedMorocco
27Elissar Farah AntoniosCEOCitibank U.A.E.Banking and Financial ServicesLebanon
28Nadia Al SaeedCEOBank Al EtihadBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
29Asil AttarCEOAlyasra FashionRetailU.K.
30Nevine El-MesseeryCEOAhli United Bank�EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
31Mervat Zohdy SoltanCEOExport Development Bank Of EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
32Maitha Al DossariCEO- Strategic Projects at Emaar Properties From Jan 2018 ( she was CEO at Emaar Entertainment)Emaar PropertiesReal Estate and constructionU.A.E.
33Céline BrémaudVice PresidentMicrosoft Middle East and AfricaTechnologyFrance
34Haifa Dia Al-AttiaCEOQueen Rania Foundation for Education and DevelopmentEducationJordan
35Carmen HaddadCEOCiti's Private Bank Family Office - Middle East & Citibank Saudi ArabiaBanking and Financial ServicesGermany
36Dalya Al MuthannaPresident and CEOGE GulfDiversifiedU.A.E.
37Maysa JalboutCEOAl Ghurair Foundation for EducationEducationU.A.E.
38Iman MutlaqFounder and CEOSigma InvestmentsBanking and Financial ServicesJordan
39Devaki KhimjiExecutive DirectorAl Tasnim GroupConstructionOman
40Shrimati DamalCFOMajid Al FuttaimBanking and Financial ServicesIndia
41Suha KarzoonCFOBahrain Mumtalak Holding CompanyInvestmentsBahrain
42Jalila MezniCEOSociete d'Articles HygieniquesConsumer ProductsTunisia
43Sahar FarahatSenior Executive Vice PresidentEgypt Kuwait HoldingBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
44Latifa Homoud AlsabhanCFOArab National BankBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
45Rasha El-AzharyCFOVodafone EgyptTelecommunicationsEgypt
46Hania SadekCOO and Executive DirectorHSBC Bank EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
47Marwa El-AyoutiCFOOrange EgyptTelecommunicationsEgypt
48Farah FoustokCEO, Middle EastLazard Asset ManagementBanking and Financial ServicesPalestine
49Ghada Y. Al-AmerVice President�Finance and AdministrationKUFPECPetrochemicalsKuwait
50Nisreen ShoucairPresident and CEOVirgin Megastore Middle East & North AfricaRetailSyria
51Donna BentonFounder and ChairmanThe EntertainerTechnologyAustralia
52Donna SultanPresident and CEOKEO International ConsultantsDiversifiedKuwait
53Salwa Idrissi AkhannouchCEOAksal GroupRetailMorocco
54Hend El SherbiniGroup CEOIntegrated Diagnostics HoldingsHealthcareEgypt
55May Al MudhafCEO, KuwaitFirst Abu Dhabi BankBanking and Financial ServicesKuwait
56Simona Sabella BishoutyCEO, Managing DirectorArab Banking Corp. (Jordan)Banking and Financial ServicesJordan
57Mona BawarshiCEOGezairi TransportLogistics and TransportationLebanon
58Zanubia ShamsCo-ChairpersonZulekha Healthcare GroupHealthcareIndia
59Laila MamouCEOWafasalafBanking and Financial ServicesMorocco
60Ingie ChalhoubPresident and Managing DirectorEtoile GroupRetailLebanon
61Huda Al LawatiChief Investment OfficerSavola GroupFood and BeveragesOman
62Randa El AssaadCEOArif & Bintoak Consulting Architects and EngineersConstructionLebanon
63Cynthia CorbyPartner Audit & AssuranceDeloitteConsultingU.K.
64Reem AsaadCEORaya Contact CenterInformation TechnologyEgypt
65Poonam BhojaniCEOInnoventuresEducationIndia
66Halla SakrManaging DirectorAttijariwafa Bank�EgyptBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
67Hala FadelPartnerLeap VenturesInvestmentsLebanon
68Alida ScholtzCEO Middle EastG4S Security servicesSecuritySouth Africa
69Deema SukhtianCEOMunir Sukhtian Group CompanyDiversifiedJordan
70Shaikha Al MaskariChairAl Maskari HoldingsDiversifiedU.A.E.
71Areej Mohsin DarwishChairMohsin Haider Dawrish LLCDiversifiedOman
72Ghosson Al KhaledDeputy CEOACICOIndustrialsKuwait
73Doha AbdelkhaleqCo-founder & Executive PartnerESKADENIA SoftwareTechnologyJordan
74Karine LabakyGeneral Manager and Country Chair- LevantSanofiPharmaceuticalsLebanon
75Joumana ChelalaDeputy General Manager, Head of Consumer BankingByblos BankBanking and Financial ServicesLebanon
76Leila HoteitManaging Director & PartnerBoston Consulting GroupConsultingLebanon
77Shafeena Yusuff AliCEOTablez Food CompanyFood and BeveragesIndia
78Hoda MansourManaging DirectorSAP EgyptTechnologyEgypt
79Randa BessisoFounding Director, Middle EastManchester Business School, University of ManchesterEducationPalestine
80Kawthar MakahlahCEOBCI GroupServicesU.A.E.
81Christine SfeirCEOTreats HoldingFood and BeveragesLebanon
82Nashwa Al RuwainiCEOPyramediaMediaU.A.E.
83Enji Al-GhazzawiExecutive Vice President, OperationsRiyad BankBanking and Financial ServicesSaudi Arabia
84Jane DruryGroup CEOMiddle East Digital GroupTechnologyU.K.
85Noha El GhazalyManaging Director and Head of Investment BankingPharos HoldingBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
86Shahira ZeidCEO Vice ChairMZ Investments, Maridive GroupLogistics and TransportationEgypt
87Najla Al ShirawiCEOSecurities & Investment CompanyBanking and Financial ServicesBahrain
88Giselle PettyferCEOFalcon & AssociatesServicesU.K.
89Rana AdawiManaging DirectorAcumen Asset ManagementBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
90Nadia CheaibFounder, CEOClingroup HoldingHealthcareLebanon
91Nadia ZaalCEOZayaReal EstateU.A.E.
92Manal JarrarGeneral ManagerNational Insurance Company (Watania)InsuranceJordan
93Myrna SoufanCOOBanque BemoBanking and Financial ServicesLebanon
94Jenny HuntPartner and CEOGateway Group of CompaniesServicesU.K.
95Amna BinHendiDeputy ChairBinHendi EnterprisesDiversifiedU.A.E.
96Soha El-TurkyCFOBanque du CaireBanking and Financial ServicesEgypt
97Kritika RawatCo-FounderK KompanyMediaIndia
98Sumaya Al-NasserFounderSumaya 369ConsultingSaudi Arabia
99Sana KhaterCFOWaha CapitalInvestmentsLebanon
100Jinan ZoyaGeneral ManagerFamily Business Council � GulfServicesLebanon