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Lebanon debate: Participants

Lebanon debate: Lebanon aims to build on new era of stability



Alain Bifani (AB) was appointed as the youngest ever director general at the finance ministry in 2000, managing taxes, the reform agenda, capital markets and debt management. He previously worked at Arthur Andersen, ABN Amro, Thomson Financial, and the UN Development Programme, and also launched the financial consultancy Pitch SAL.


Samir Hanna (SH) started his banking career with Bank Audi in 1963, holding various positions before his appointment as general manager in 1986. He initiated and managed the expansion and restructuring strategy of the bank, transforming it into a strong banking powerhouse that offers universal banking products and services. After the diversification of the bank’s business lines, he has overseen the bank’s expansion, targeting key captive markets in the MENA region.


Saad Azhari (SA) started his banking career in 1986 at PBZ Privatbank in Switzerland, before joining Blom Switzerland in 1991 where he became general manager in 1997. In 2001 he moved to Blom Bank in Lebanon as vice-chairman and general manager, becoming chairman in 2007. Since 2001 he has also held the position of vice-president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon.


Joe Issa-El-Khoury (JIK) worked for several years with Merrill Lynch in Paris before joining the Méditerranée Group in Lebanon as advisor to the chairman and deputy general manager of Méditerranée Investment Bank. He has also served for many years as chairman-general manager of Saradar Investment House, the investment banking arm of Saradar Group. He is currently an executive director at M1 Group, the investment arm of the Mikati family.


Dr Jihad Azour (JA) served as a senior adviser to Lebanon’s minister of finance until 2004, before becoming finance minister himself under Fouad Siniora’s government from 2005 to 2008. He has held various roles in the private sector, including as a consultant at McKinsey. He now works as vice-president, senior executive and adviser to Booz & Co.


Mohamed-Ali Beyhum (MAB) started his banking career with the Irving Trust Company in the US. He was appointed as vice-president of Bank of New York, where he later managed the Beirut office until December 2005, the date he joined the BankMed team. He was appointed deputy executive general manager of BankMed in October 2009, and chairs BankMed’s management and international committees.


Mazen Hanna (MH) joined the ministry of finance in 1996 as an economist and later moved to the ministry of economy and trade, acting as adviser to the minister. Today he heads the economic unit at the Office of the Prime Minister and is the prime minister’s adviser for economic affairs. He has been involved in many of the macroeconomic reforms that Lebanon has implemented in the past 10 years. 


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