Lubna Olayan becomes first chairwoman of a publicly-listed Saudi bank

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Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan became the first chairwoman of a Saudi bank after the Saudi British Bank (SABB) and Alawwal bank confirmed their merger.

Olayan had been deputy chair of Alawwal Bank since 2014 and was the CEO of Olayan Financing Company (OFC). She also worked for Morgan Guaranty New York from 1979 to 1981 when she returned to Saudi Arabia to work with Olayan again.

Olayan received a Bachelor of Agriculture degree from Cornell University in the United States and an MBA from the University of Indiana in business management.

SABB and Alawwal bank have now become the third largest bank by assets in Saudi Arabia. The two banks signed a binding merger agreement last October which was followed by months of regulatory and shareholder approvals.

The two banks will continue to operate a normal service while work continues to fully integrate their products and services, according to a joint statement.

“Now our size, enhanced capabilities, and fantastic talent will help us build on that history and legacy to become the bank of choice for a modern Saudi Arabia. We will be the best place to bank and the best place to work in the Kingdom, for a new generation of Saudi men and women and for the new era of development under Vision 2030,” Olayan said.

SABB also said that Khalid Bin Abdullah al-Mulhem would continue as vice chairman of SABB and David Dew as managing director.

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