Lubna Olayan first woman to head Saudi business council

Web Desk BOL News

18th Sep, 2021. 02:35 pm

Lubna Olayan in her office at Olayan Financing Company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April.

JEDDAH: Prominent Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan has become the first woman to head up a foreign business council in the kingdom; following her approval as president of the Saudi-Swedish Business Council by the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Arab News reported.

Mohammed Batterjee and Saud Al-Suleiman were named as her deputies.

Olayan has been a major figure in Saudi business for decades and was named as one of the 100 most influential people by the Time magazine in 2005 and has featured in the Forbes list of most powerful women many times over the years, most recently at No 58 in 2018.

She became the chairwoman of the Saudi British Bank in 2019 and was reappointed to a three-year term in January 2020; following its merger with Alawwal Bank to create the kingdom’s third-largest lender.

Olayan was CEO of the Olayan Financing Company, one of the Saudi Arabia’s largest conglomerates, until she stepped down in April 2019, but remains on the board.

The company, founded by her father in 1947, is a private multinational engaged in distribution, manufacturing, services and investments.

She thanked the members of the council for their trust in her and her two deputies, as they assumed their responsibilities, stating that she will continue to work to improve the council’s work and activate its role in developing inter-economic relations between the two countries.

The 36 Saudi foreign business councils operate under the supervision of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, as well as the umbrella of the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, with the goal of strengthening economic ties between the Kingdom and friendly states, increasing access to foreign markets for Saudi products, and encouraging foreign investment.

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