Success Stories of Leading Women: Business Heiresses of the Middle East
If there were glass ceilings to be smashed, women from the Middle East, varying between entrepreneurs and CEOs, are the first to smash it. Arab women are the ones who are leading our nation and putting up a tough competition, creating impactful and strong businesses, women who have been working their way up on a steep career ladder for years to reach the top of their professional lives, never surrendering to our societal narratives where it’s very rare to find women in such positions.
Forbes Middle East has recently released its “Power Businesswomen in The Middle East 2020” Arab women from different backgrounds and nationalities taking over high-ranking businesses. Today we’re going to focus on Arab women who have taken over their family’s businesses, continuing to excel and carry on the legacy.
Raja Easa Al Gurg
Vice-Chairperson and Managing Director of one of the biggest conglomerates in the Middle East, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg is a well-known Emirati businesswoman who has achieved stellar leadership of the group under the guidelines of her father, the Chairman, H.E. Easa Saleh Al Gurg. Her valuable counsel and insights have significantly contributed to the growth and success of ESAG.
Lubna S. Olayan is the CEO and Deputy Chairman of Riyadh-based investment arm and holding company for the Middle East, Olayan Financing Company. She manages The Olayan Group’s trading, real estate, investment, consumer and other industrial related operations that are conducted in the Gulf region.
Lubna actually retired from her position in mid-2019, however, she will continue to lead as president of the Suliman S. Olayan Foundation carrying out the Group’s charitable activities.
Mona Yousuf Almoayyed
Mona is the Managing Director of the Bahraini-based Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons Group. A diversified group that was established back in 1940 specializes in trading, contracting, concrete products, air-conditioning, telecom services, and property development.
Mona is also a big advocate of living in an environment-friendly world and is a gardening enthusiast, she eventually won her first King Cup for Big Gardens back in 2007. She also continues to support a number of non-profit initiatives including the Migrant Workers Protection Society, the Bahrain Business Women’s Society, Al Muntada and the MWPS Shelter for Domestic Abuse.
Areej & Lujaina Mohsin Darwish
Areej and Lujaina are the Joint Deputy Chairpersons of the leading Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD), a company that their late father founded. MHD group’s diverse interests range from Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Building Materials, Engineering Products, Telecom, Office Automation, Projects, Logistics, and Training Institute.
MHD is one of the largest groups in Oman and over the years the company has witnessed significant growth under Areej and Lujaina leadership.
Caroline Fattal Fakhoury
Caroline is Senior Vice President & Board Member of the Lebanese-based Fattal Group. Fakhoury’s family group operates in eight different countries, has seven lines of the distribution business, and has nearly 3,500 employees. Caroline plays a key role in operating the business and she also has another role as an important investor in the first Lebanese Women Angel Fund.
Yasmine & Farida Mohamed Farid Khamis
Daughters of Egyptian business mogul, Mohamed Khamis, the sisters lead one of the largest machine-made rugs and carpet manufacturers in the world, Oriental Weavers, which their father founded back the 1970’s.
Their father retained his title as CEO, however, he has left the day-to-day operations of the company to his two daughters while he focuses on strategic planning and business expansion. Today, Oriental Weavers has more than 17,000 employees worldwide with revenues reached $500 million in 2018.
Amal is the Vice-Chairperson of one of the largest privately-owned companies in the Sultanate of Oman, Suhail Bahwan Group. The company specializes in fertilizers, oil and gas services, and car dealerships, and for the past 15 years, she has been the driving force behind restructuring the group’s businesses.
Amal is very much at the sharp end in leading Oman’s largest business and she has been leading the group’s investments with her heart and soul to transform its fortunes and successfully steer it into the 21st century. And although she’s the daughter of the founder, her success wasn’t handed to her on a silver platter, but rather, it was her immerse drive to reach the sky and dominate the male corporate world.