The appointment of the CEO of National Commercial Bank, Sarah al-Suhaimi, as the first Saudi woman to chair the Saudi Arabia stock exchange – Tadawul - the largest bourse in the Middle East, is a step that breaks the male-dominated upper echelons in the finance sector.
According to Deloitte consultancy, the representation of women on corporate boards continues to increase but the number of women leading boards still remains low globally. Overall, women now hold 12 percent of seats worldwide with only 4 percent chairing boards.
The selection of al-Suhaimi to lead the Kingdom’s 2 trillion SR stock market, the largest in the region and number 21 internationally, according to the World Federation of Exchange, underscores the Kingdom’s incessant pursuit to empower women.
Before joining the National Commercial Bank as CEO, al-Suhaimi was the chief investment officer at Jadwa Investment and a senior portfolio manager at Samba Financial Group.
In September 2013, the Harvard graduate was appointed, along with 16 others, as a member of the stock exchange’s consultancy committee.