She's only 39, a Harvard graduate and she now leads the largest bourse in the Middle East. Wow.
In the hyper-masculine state of Saudi Arabia, where women were only recently allowed to drive (the ban was lifted in September 2017), the government has appointed the first woman to lead Saudi Arabia stock exchange.
The appointment of Sarah al-Suhaimi — the CEO of National Commercial Bank — to chair the Saudi Arabia stock exchange is a historic move that will likely pave the way for more women to break through traditional glass ceilings.
The finance sector, not just in the Middle East, but also the rest of the world, is largely dominated by males.
The first woman to lead Saudi Arabia stock exchange: Paving the way for others
According to Deloitte, the representation of women on corporate boards have increased, 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.
It is an empowering move for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to allow for such an appointment. Al-Suhaimi will be leading the 2 trillion Saudi Riyal stock market, the largest in the region and number 21 internationally.
The stock exchange opened to foreigners in 2015. Today, it is seeking to attract more inflow in overseas investments to diversify the economy away from oil.
It is also working with index provider MSCI Inc. to be reclassified as an emerging market in the hope of triggering billions of dollars of inflows, Tadawul CEO Khalid Al Hussan told Bloomberg early this year.
With al-Suhaimi spearheading the bourse, it is interesting to see how this will turn out.
Sarah al-Suhaimi: First woman to lead Saudi Arabia stock exchange
Of course, al-Suhaimi’s appointment incredibly merited. Before her role as CEO at National Commercial Bank, the Harvard graduate was the chief investment officer at Jadwa Investment and a senior portfolio manager at Samba Financial Group.
In September 2013, al-Suhaimi was appointed as a member of the stock exchange’s consultancy committee, making this quite a natural progression for her. Al Suhaimi is also expected to stay on as CEO of NCB Capital while chairing the bourse.
At only 39 years old, this is quite the achievement for anyone in the financial sector globally.
Featured photo: Youtube/Pixabay
Isn’t she such an inspiration to be the first woman to lead Saudi Arabia stock exchange?
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