Awards for Excellence 2014 Middle East: Outstanding contribution award, Middle East

Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO, Arab Bank

When Nemeh Sabbagh joined as Arab Bank’s CEO from Lebanon’s BankMed in 2010, early progress was not always smooth. Appointed as a long-term successor to group chairman (and at the time CEO) Abdel Hamid Shoman, the two did not always see eye to eye on Sabbagh’s methods. Shoman, the founder’s grandson, resigned as chairman with three other members of his family in August 2012, citing concerns about Sabbagh’s approach.

But two years on, it is clear that Sabbagh’s methods have borne fruit. Managing a regional bank that operates in 30 countries and within which more than 75% of revenues come from outside the Jordan home base presents a challenge that is almost unique in the Arab world, but the institution has gone from strength to strength and was a very credible candidate for our overall Best Bank in the Middle East award.