Monday, February 17, 2014

100 Arab Powerful Players - 2014 Edition

Who are the 100 most powerful arabs? What does power mean and how did Gulf Business assemble these results?

Power, according to Gulf Business, means everything. It's crucial for every business. Power translates into the influence needed to make things happen. It's the fuel that shapes people, plans and profits. This is the 3rd year Gulf Business run this, they assemble a team of expert from within Motivate's broad business division. Based on the events in 2013, and the power merit of those individual. Politicians and royalty have been excluded. The spheres of influence they looked at were the following:
  • Financial capital
  • Human capital
  • Expansion plans
  • Personal fame levels

Those women and men represent different sectors such as Finance, Industry, Culture and Society (Fashion), Real Estate, Science, Energy, etc... Among the 100; 20 of them are female (which is a very good percentage given the nature of our patriarchal societies), and 30% of the total are from KSA, followed by 21% from UAE.

From my side, I will highlight the 6 Lebanese who are among the top 100, and powerful female players who we should keep an eye on and who some of them are new risers to the huge responsibility they recently took on and impressed us with their work.

 #5 on the list is HE Reem AL Hashimy (highest new entry), she is the Minister of State and Managing Director of Dubai World Expo 2020. There is no denying of how big the mission she took on and the results she achieved so far by winning the bid, and from the looks of it it's going to be an expo that the whole world will know about and plenty will come visit Dubai for that reason.

My 2nd favorite entry is Dr. Hayat Sindi, a media researcher and the first Saudi and Muslim woman in the Middle East to obtain a PhD in biotechnology. If this isn't impressive, I don't know what is. She invented MARS, a biotechnology machine, and co-founded Diagnostics for All, a non-profit that develops disease diagnosis. She has done much more, I recommend that you google her name!

Dr. Iqbal Al Assaad

My 3rd favorite female Powerful Arab is Dr. Iqbal Al Assaad, a 22 year old Pediatric Doctor. Graduated from highschool at 12, noticed by Prime Minister Hariri at the time who helped her secure a medical scholarship in Qatar. Iqbal is originally Palestinian who hopes to retyrn to Lebanon and work as a doctor.

A general observation is that all entries that are of the nationalities from KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar are also residing in their countries, contrary to their fellow arab powerful men who are from Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon or Egypt, who most of them reside in Europe, Australia or the US.

The Lebanese powerful men include:
  1. Elie Saab (World renowned Haute Couture Designer) at #30
  2. Nayla Hayek (Chairwoman of Swatch Group, CEO of Harry Winston) who lives in Switzerland at #32
  3. Dr. Charles Elashi (NASA's Curiosity rover landing on Mars) at #61 in the US
  4. Zuhair Murad (Fashion Designer) at #62
  5. Fady Michel Abouchalache (CEO Quilvest) at #90 who is in France 
  6. and finally Ahmed Fahour (MD and CEO of Australia Post) at #91 who resides in Australia
What is remarkable here is the fact that 66% of Lebanese have found their success abroad, and that only 6% of top 100 powerful Arab people are Lebanese. This shows that we need to provide more support and continuity when it comes to education and entrepreneurship. This is a long topic to be tackled in another post, but we all know that we have an issue that we need to address.
A final entry I would like to mention is the new notorious Bassem Youssef, the host of Egyptian talk show Al Barnameg, a very similar in style of the Jon Stewart Daily show! Glad to see entertainment make it to the list as well.

I would advise you to pick up a copy of the February 2014 Gulf Business magazine, quite interesting profiles that inspiring to know about and impressive to see such work coming from the Arab region. I personally was really to see women step up in really challenging and interesting areas and do magnificent work.


  1. Dear Liliane,
    I'm back :)
    A bit late but still the best for this new year !

  2. Same to you Christian! Glad to see you're back :)