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Maha Al Ghunaim: The woman behind Global Investment House

Maha Al Ghunaim’s rarity factor as a female chief executive in Middle Eastern finance makes her a celebrity. Under her leadership, Global Investment House has become one of the region’s largest investment companies. Here she talks to Euromoney about the secrets of her own and her company’s success.

Maha Al Ghunaim, Global Investment House

MAHA AL GHUNAIM is something of a celebrity in Middle Eastern finance. She chairs or sits on the boards of a string of companies across the region and beyond, including Kuwait’s National Industries Group, Bank Muscat International in Bahrain, Baring Private Equity Asia and Jehangir Siddiqui Capital Markets in Pakistan. Added to that is the fact that she is a woman: something of a rarity in the finance industry even outside the Middle East.

But perhaps her most important achievement came in 1998 in founding Global Investment House, one of Kuwait’s and the region’s largest investment companies.

Al Ghunaim is the managing director and, following the departure this March of Anwar Al Nouri, now the chairperson of this investment company, which from the beginning has striven to do more than just asset management. Indeed, apart from being one of the regions most relied-on brokers, Global undertakes IPOs, private equity and corporate advisory work. In 2005, for example, the firm helped take public Lebanese telecom Investcom in London and Dubai, raising $200 million. It has offices or strategic investments in financial institutions in 14 countries and is listed in Kuwait, Dubai and Bahrain.

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