Banking is in the blood for Ariel Salama, global head of private banks at ABN Amro's wholesale clients business. For almost 300 years his family ran a bank that financed Egypt's cotton business, until the 1952 revolution forced closure and a move to Paris. There, his great-uncle, Maurice de Botton, (uncle to Gilbert de Botton, founding chairman of Global Asset Management) established Banque Générale du Commerce, where Salama began his banking career.
He moved into wholesale banking at Bankers Trust, working his way up to managing director in six years, running a global origination group for capital markets and derivatives out of New York.
From there he went to Tokai Bank Europe (now UFJ) as global head of corporate finance, helping to build the Japanese bank into a serious contender for mandates. "It was an exciting time. We had more corporate clients than any other Japanese bank and became a highly successful derivatives house," he says.
The schedule was gruelling. Salama had to spend half the week in New York and half in London, plus travelling back and forth to Tokyo.