Zain Group boss is first Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes list of Top Middle East Leaders

LONDON: Forbes Middle East has named Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi CEO of Zain Group. as one of the Top 100 CEOs in the Middle East for 2022.

He is ranked 35th and leads a number of other Kuwait-based leaders on the list, including Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah of KIPCO Group, Essam Al-Sager of National Bank of Kuwait, Tareq Al-Sultan of Agility, Elham Mahfouz from Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Osaimi from Boursa Kuwait and Talal Al-Ajmi from VI Markets.

Al-Kharafi was appointed Vice Chairman of Zain Group in 2014 and CEO in 2017. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Executive Committee of Boursa Kuwait, Member of the Board of Directors of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees and founder of BNK Holding. , a private joint-stock company.

The CEOs ranked on the Forbes list come from 26 countries in the region. Companies from the United Arab Emirates lead with 19 entries, followed by Egypt with 16 and Saudi Arabia with 15.

In 2021, the bosses on the list managed over $1 trillion in revenue and the combined value of their businesses is over $5 trillion. The sector with the most CEOs on the list is banking and financial services, with 27, followed by telecommunications with eight, and energy and logistics with seven.

“Regardless of the economic environment, market conditions and other factors, it is the CEO who bears the bulk of the responsibility for the success or failure of the company he leads,” wrote Forbes Middle East.

“This is becoming more evident in the Middle East, where corporate governance has been improving for several years. There is now a clear separation between ownership and management in businesses in the region.

“This trend is particularly strong in state-owned companies, even sectors such as defense and utilities are now incorporated and even publicly traded. This has led CEOs to focus more on the long-term benefits that come from innovation, technology and ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives.

In 2021, when Forbes Middle East published its first list of the region’s top CEOs, the magazine found that the mood of leaders was geared towards business security and protection.

“This year has seen a reversal of fortunes, with record earnings, new investments, major IPOs (initial public offerings) and mega-deals taking center stage,” according to the magazine.

“For example, so far in 2022, Amin H. Nasser has led Saudi Aramco to once again become the world’s most valuable company by market value, usurping Apple. Meanwhile, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber led ADNOC as he took three of its subsidiaries – ADNOC Drilling, Fertiglobe and Borouge – public, with Borouge’s $2 billion IPO becoming the biggest ever. on the stock market ever made in Abu Dhabi.

CEOs have been ranked based on the impact they have had on the region, their country and the markets they serve; their overall experience and time spent in their current role; company size in terms of revenue, assets and market capitalization; their achievements and performance over the past year, as well as the innovations and initiatives for which they are responsible.

To create the ranking, Forbes Middle East sent out questionnaires and collected data from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports and financial statements, among other primary sources.