Another first for women in the Kingdom

A Saudi woman has been appointed to run a Saudi bank for the first time ever.

Businesswoman Lubna Al Olayan will lead the merger of Alawwal Bank and Saudi British Bank, the third biggest bank in the region. The new bank will be part of HSBC.


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Lubna was the deputy chair of Alawwal Bank for four years and she has long pioneered women’s leadership in the Kingdom. In 2004, she was elected to the board of the Saudi Hollandi Bank, becoming the first woman in the country to feature on the board of a public company.

In the same year, she became the first Saudi woman to deliver the keynote speech at the Jeddah Economic Forum. One year later, she co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In 2018, she topped the ranking of Forbes’ Middle East’s most influential women.

Barely a day seems to go by now without Saudi Arabia announcing another reform that empowers the women in the Kingdom. As part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to increase women’s participation in the workforce, a number of job opportunities have become available to women.

Saudi women can now work as tour guides, air traffic controllers and can launch their own business without the permission of a male guardian.

Congratulations Lubna!

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Images: Getty