Saudi Arabia’s first female CEO makes Forbes 100 most powerful women

Saudi Arabia’s first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is named in Forbes 100 most powerful women in the world for a second time.

Rania Nashar, Samba Financial Group CEO, was ranked 97th in the list that also included 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The list also included the United Arab Emirates’ Raja Easa Al-Gurg ranked at 84. The Emirati, who is a Board Member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was also featured in the list in 2017.

The top 10 in the list included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde, who was newly appointed president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Nashar was appointed CEO in 2017, becoming Samba’s first female CEO and simultaneously, the first female CEO of a listed Saudi Arabian bank.

Nashar arrived in the post with 20 years in the banking sector having served as a board member of Samba’s global markets subsidiary and a Pakistani unit.

Samba is Saudi Arabia’s third-largest bank by assets with more than $61bn in assets under management.

Nashar has achieved several ‘firsts’ at Samba. She was the first female Chief Audit Executive; the first female Compliance Head of a bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council; and the first Saudi Arabian woman certified as an Anti-Money Laundering Officer.

In her time with Samba, she has worked on its merger with United Saudi Bank, oversaw the development of its digital services and then helped the transition to a fully Saudi institution following Citibank’s decision to withdraw its management agreement. Samba Financial Group is Saudi Arabia’s third-largest bank by assets. Nashar graduated from King Saud University with a degree in Computer Science and Technology.