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Four Saudi women listed in Forbes top 50 most powerful businesswomen

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Four Saudi women made it to this year’s Forbes list of top 50 most powerful businesswomen, which featured women from 19 countries and 17 sectors.

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The Saudi Arabian women who made it to the list are Sarah al-Suhaimi, Hutham Olayan, Lubna Olayan, and Basma al-Maiman.

Sarah al-Suhaimi

Sarah al-Suhaimi (Forbes Middle East)
Sarah al-Suhaimi (Forbes Middle East)

In fourth place was Sarah al-Suhaimi, the first Saudi woman to chair the Kingdom’s Stock Exchange Tadawul. The Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange is the Middle East’s largest stock market.

She is also a board member of the country’s largest telecom operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and is a trustee of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation.

Al-Suhaimi also serves on the Board of Directors of the Saudi Cultural Development Fund and Saudia airlines.

Hutham Olayan

Hutham Olayan. (Forbes Middle East)
Hutham Olayan. (Forbes Middle East)

Hutham Olayan ranked in sixth place is the chairwoman of the Olayan Group, a private, multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of global investments. Founded in 1947, the Olayan Group is an international investor that operates in an array of different sectors.

In January 2021, Olayan was appointed to the board of Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Real estate assets include 550 Madison Avenue in New York, Knightsbridge Estate in London, and the Hotel Ritz in Madrid, according to Forbes Middle East.

In Saudi Arabia, the Olayan Group bottles Coca-Cola, runs Burger King restaurants, and manufactures cans and paper.

Lubna Olayan

Lubna Olayan. (Forbes Middle East)
Lubna Olayan. (Forbes Middle East)

Lubna Olayan ranked 11th place in the Forbes list. She served as the Chief Executive officer of Olayan Finance for over 30 years and retired in 2019.

In 2019, she became the chairwoman of Saudi British Bank (ABB). She also chaired the board of Alawwal Bank which merged with SABB in 2021.

Olayan was the first woman to join the board of directors of a Saudi-listed company.

Additionally, she is part of the board of Olayan Finance, Schlumberger and Ma’aden, Allianz, McKinsey & Cp, Bank of American Merrill Lynch and Akbank.

Basmah Abdulaziz al-Mayman

Basmah Al Mayman. (UNWTO)
Basmah Al Mayman. (UNWTO)

In 15th place was Basmah al-Mayman, the Regional Director for the Middle East at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a position which she has held since 2018, making her the first GCC national to hold a leadership position at UNWTO and the first woman to spearhead the region in the organization’s history.

Al-Mayman also established the World Tourism Academy in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with the UNWTO. In 2020, she was recognized by the World Bank as one of the MENA region’s youngest CEOs.

Prior to this, she worked at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and national heritage (SCTH) for over 17 years.

This year’s Forbes Middle East list of the top 50 most influential and successful businesswomen also includes women from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait and Oman.

When creating the ranking, Forbes said that it took revenues, assets, market capitalization, designation, overall work experience, accomplishments achieved over the past year, corporate social responsibility and editorial points into consideration.

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