Forbes magazine has recognised six individuals from Qatar in its ‘Top 100 CEOs 2023’ list for the Middle East.

According to Forbes, Middle East CEOs often hold significant power and responsibilities, overseeing companies that dominate the Arab world and excel globally. This influence is attributed in part to GCC countries directing their sovereign wealth into major domestic enterprises.

CEOs face unique challenges, managing both profitable businesses and aligning with government visions, especially given that many also lead government bodies or hold ministerial roles in addition to their corporate duties.

Forbes’ third annual list of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East features leaders representing 22 nationalities. Emiratis dominate with 23 entries, followed by Egyptians with 19 and Saudis with 18.

In this year’s list are the following:

4. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi

Designation: Deputy Chairman & President & CEO
Company: QatarEnergy
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Qatari
Sector: Energy

Al-Kaabi became president and CEO of QatarEnergy in 2014, 28 years after joining the company while he was still a university student. In October 2023, QatarEnergy signed a long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement with Eni to supply up to one million tonnes of LNG annually from Qatar to Italy. In 2018, Al-Kaabi was appointed as Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs. QatarEnergy’s revenues for 2022 stood at USD52 billion, and its profit for the year was USD42.5 billion.


11. Abdulla Mubarak Al-Khalifa

Designation: Group CEO
Company: QNB Group
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Qatari
Sector: Banking

Al-Khalifa joined the group in 1996 and assumed his current role in November 2018. In the first nine months of 2023, QNB Group’s net profit increased by 8% to USD3.3 billion, and its total assets increased by 4% to USD326 billion. In September 2023, the group announced a banking partnership with Expo 2023 Doha, contributing to its green financing strategies. QNB Financial Services (QNBFS), a subsidiary of the QNB Group, received official recognition from the Qatar Stock Exchange in June 2023 for implementing and launching the exchange’s new trading system.


35. Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo

Designation: Group CEO & Managing Director
Company: Ooredoo Group
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Qatari
Sector: Telecommunications

Fakhroo has been a member of the board of directors since 2011 and assumed his current role in November 2020. In the first nine months of 2023, Ooredoo reported a 2% growth in revenue to USD4.7 billion compared to the same period in 2022. In October 2023, the Ooredoo Group signed an MoU with the GCC ESG Telecommunications Alliance to drive sustainability and knowledge exchange across the regional countries. Fakhroo is also a board member at Katara Hospitality, a member of the board of trustees of Qatar Museums, and the deputy president commissioner at Indosat.


58. Bassel Gamal

Designation: Group CEO
Company: Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB)
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Egyptian
Sector: Banking

Gamal assumed his current position in 2013, with over 30 years of experience in the banking and finance industry. By Q3 2023, QIB recorded a total income of USD2.2 billion, net profits worth USD838 million, and assets worth USD51.3 billion. In February 2023, QIB partnered with Mastercard to launch a smart payment solution for merchants. The new QIB SoftPOS app secures acceptance of contactless payments using embedded near-field communication functionality. Before joining QIB, Gamal worked at Ahli United Bank Group in Bahrain and CIB in Egypt. He is also chairman of QIB-UK and a board member of Qinvest.


81. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti

Designation: CEO
Company: Nakilat
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Qatari
Sector: Logistics

Al-Sulaiti joined Nakilat in 2011 and assumed his current role in 2013.By the end of Q3 2023, Nakilat made over USD954.4 million in revenues and had $8.8 billion in assets by the end of September 2023. In March 2023, Nakilat signed a long-term service agreement with HSD Engine. Al-Sulaiti has over 20 years of industry experience. He is also the chairman of Nakilat-Keppel Offshore and Marine and the Qatar Fabrication Company, a joint venture between Nakilat and McDermot. Al-Sulaiti previously held roles at Qatargas Operating Company.


83. Tarek El Sayed

Designation: CEO & Managing Director
Company: Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC)
Country: Qatar
Nationality: Egyptian
Sector: Travel & Tourism

El Sayed has led ARTIC since 2017, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding. ARTIC has expanded across Europe, the U.S., and MENA and built a diversified portfolio of over 35 hotels. It has key partnerships with international companies and hotel operators such as Four Seasons, Marriott International, Hilton, Hyatt, and Radisson Blu. In 2023, ARTIC signed a franchisee agreement with IHG Hotels & Resorts to rebrand the New York Times Square Hotel to Crowne Plaza New York Times Square. In 2022, ARTIC opened Delta Hotels by Marriott City Center Doha and Element City Center Doha by Marriott International, among others. El Sayed also serves as the chairman of ARTIC’s subsidiary, Seldar Misr.


According to Forbes, the region’s top CEOs have focused on sustainability, consolidation, and growth in 2023. Saudi Arabia, in particular, invested across sectors. Accelerated corporatisation boosted economies, and the consolidation of government companies saw larger corporations emerge. A number of large IPOs in the region also unlocked value for companies. Global events also contributed to burgeoning corporate profits, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and COP28 in Dubai.

To create this ranking, Forbes sent out questionnaires and collected information from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports, financial statements, and other primary sources. Only CEOs of companies headquartered in MENA were considered. They ranked the CEOs based on:

· The impact that they have had on the region, their country, and the markets that they serve.
· The CEO’s overall experience and time in their current role.
· The size of the company in terms of revenues, assets, and market cap.
· The achievements and performance of the CEO in the last year.
· The innovations and initiatives that the CEO has implemented.

To view the full list, click here.


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