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Banking

Arab Bank: The Shoman succession

Arab Bank: It’s all about liquidity

Abdel Hamid Shoman has spent eight years as chief executive of Arab Bank (and three years as chairman) and for a man in his early 60s still has plenty of years ahead of him.

Given that a Shoman has run the bank since its inception, it is easy to assume that his daughter, Dina, who works in marketing, or one of his other two children will one day replace him, not that there is a rule that a Shoman must be chairman or chief executive.

Some people have also speculated on the possibility of a member of Lebanon’s Hariri family, which has an 18.7% stake in the bank, assuming control. Shoman, though, says that the Hariris have never stated that they want to manage the bank. "They have two board members out of 11 but they have never interfered with the management," he says. Indeed, he adds, although the Hariri family has facilities with the bank, their terms are stricter than they are for other clients.

Still, it would be strange for a Shoman not to run the bank one day. The family name is as synonymous with Arab Bank as the Al-Ghurair’s is with Dubai’s Mashreqbank, and a Shoman presence at the helm is a source of comfort to the bank’s shareholders.

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