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September 15, 2018,   4:05 PM

Forbes Unveils Middle East’s Most Influential Women

Forbes Middleeast

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  • The list features 100 female executives and businesswomen and 10 women heading government departments
  • 29 out of 100 influential women work as leaders in the banking and financial services sector
  • For the very first time, the list features 16 expat women from different industries
  • Lubna Al Olayan, CEO- Olayan Financing leads the list for female executives and businesswomen
  • Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister; Chair- Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Media Zone Authority- Abu Dhabi and twofour54 leads the list of women heading government departments


Dubai, UAE, September 16, 2018: Forbes Middle East recently unveiled the list of the Middle East’s Most Influential Women for the year 2018. During a gala night held in Dubai, Forbes recognized women who are frontrunners in business and at various levels across the public sector organizations.

Khuloud Al Omian, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Middle East said, “The region is undergoing a paradigm shift with women-led businesses dominating major sectors. Countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia have showcased most gender diverse cabinets and the landscape is ever evolving.”

The list features 100 female executives and businesswomen and 10 women heading government departments. For the very first time, the annual list has included successful expat female leaders who have scaled heights in their careers.

Lubna Al Olayan, CEO, Olayan Financing leads the Middle East’s most influential list. Lubna is followed by Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group and Renuka Jagtiani, CEO Landmark Group

Amongst the women heading government department Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister; Chair Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi and twofour54 leads the list. Noura is followed by Sarah Al Suhaimi Chair; CEO, Tadawul; NCBC and Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor, Central bank of Egypt.

Today, women are influencing policies and are emerging as powerful figures in business across the GCC, and the next generation of female trailblazers are following in the footsteps of their predecessors and making their own mark on the future of the Arab world.

Today, women have advanced across industries breaking the proverbial glass ceiling and many are leading sectors ranging from oil and gas, banking, automobiles and fintech among others. Female university graduates outnumber the male graduates in the region, bucking a global trend.

To formulate this ranking of the most influential businesswomen, the team considered revenues of the companies these women lead, their title, scope and impact of the role that they perform, work experience that they possess and the growth of their firm, and other initiatives that they have led in the last three years.

The most influential women heading government departments were evaluated based on the GDP of their respective countries and scope of their departments.

The invitation-only evening was held at Roda Al Murooj and was attended by over 200 guests. The event was hosted in partnership with VPS—one of the largest healthcare groups in the Middle East; Ajmal Perfume—an iconic fragrance house; Malabar Gold and Diamonds—one of the BIG 5 jewelry retailers globally; Petrochem—the number one chemical distributor in the Middle East; Danube Properties—the region’s leading property developer; Roda Al Murooj Downtown—a prominent hotel management company; AYM (Bin Dawood & Danube) —specializing in breakthrough digital technologies and online business.

The complete list can be viewed at:

The Middle East’s Most Influential Women 2018

Women Heading Government Department

About Forbes Middle East

Forbes Middle East is a licensee of Forbes Media, and extends the Forbes brand of journalism across the Arab world. Forbes Middle East's distinctive editorial style attracts a readership of Arab leaders, 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 sets 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 and English language editions.

The magazine researches and publishes original rankings, based on methodologies set by Forbes Media.

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