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 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.
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
• Overall work experience
• CSR and other initiatives led by the businesswomen
• Editorial points