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Awards for Excellence 2016: Outstanding contribution to financial services in the Middle East

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Results index

Hisham Ezz Al Arab, chairman, Commercial International Bank

Hisham Ezz Al Arab is a man committed to Egyptian banking. That is where he began his career in the late 1970s, and that is where he is now, towards the end of his career, heading Commercial International Bank, widely considered to be the country’s best private-sector bank.

But it was in London, where he spent 13 years working for Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and finally Deutsche Bank, that he learned the essential skills for his daily work – there that, in his own words, he “formulated [his] perspective on banking”.

“You go through the ups and the downs, the crises,” he clarifies. During the late 1980s and 1990s, his London years, there were certainly plenty of those to work through. “I saw the crash of 1987 and how we dealt with it, the Gulf War and how we dealt with it. I saw the British break from the ERM [European Exchange Rate Mechanism]; I saw the tech crash.”

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