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Saudi Aramco chief tops Forbes Middle East CEO rankings

Published: Updated:

The chief executive of Saudi Aramco has been named the number one business leader in the list of Forbes’ ‘Top CEOs in the Middle East 2021’ rankings.

Amin Nasser landed the top spot in the annual list, which also saw a host of Saudi executive been named among the best 100 corporate leaders in the region.

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The Middle East arm of the American business magazine Forbes recognizes celebrated business icons in the region who are making “significant contributions to the region’s economy.”

With a career spanning three decades, Nasser leads the world’s most valuable oil company with a market cap of $1.8 trillion. He also oversaw the acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in SABIC for $69.1 billion in June 2020.

Nasser has held several leadership positions in Saudi Aramco and today manages a workforce of almost 79,000 employees.

CEOs at the helm of the region’s oil and gas industry led the Forbes rankings, published on Sunday.

Four out of the top five chief executives were from the sector.

Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was named second in the list.

Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was named second in the list. (File photo: AFP)
Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was named second in the list. (File photo: AFP)

Hashem Hashem, of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest contributors to Kuwait’s GDP, and Toufik Hakkam, of Algerian oil and gas firm Sonatrach, were named fourth and fifth respectively in the CEO list.

Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of the Emirates Group, was named third in the list, which comprised of 100 CEOs representing 24 nationalities and 21 sectors.

Saudi nationals dominated the list with 18 entries, followed by Emirati and Egyptian leaders with 16 entries each. Combined, these three groups make up half of the ranking.

“At a time where the only certainty is more uncertainty, these business leaders are demonstrating that agility and adaptability are the keys to survive and thrive,” a statement from Forbes Middle East said. “Some are scaling large family businesses; others are responsible for government-owned companies.”

Forbes Middle East assessed the size of the CEO’s company using various measures, the individual’s accomplishments over the past year, and their impact on their firm and the wider industry.

The banking and financial services sector contributes nearly a third of the ranking, with 29 members. Abdulla Mubarak Al-Khalifa, Group CEO of Qatar National Bank, stands as the Middle East’s top banking and financial services executive.

Hana Al Rostamani, who began her role as FAB’s new Group CEO in late January 2021, is a new entrant and ranks 19th on the list.

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