Exclusive: GIH’s Ghunaim says lessons have been learnt from default
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Exclusive: GIH’s Ghunaim says lessons have been learnt from default

At the beginning of the year Kuwait’s biggest investment company, Global Investment House, announced that it had defaulted on about $2.5 billion in debt. It became the first big financial institution in the Gulf to default since the credit crisis began. In an exclusive interview its chairwoman Maha Al Ghunaim tells Dominic O’Neill how she plans to turn the company’s fortunes around.

Editor's note:
On Sunday April 26th we posted the following story about a default by Global Investment House. In the introduction, we incorrectly identified GIH as Gulf Investment House. The rest of the story correctly referred to Global Investment House. This error has now been corrected, but we apologise to Gulf Investment House, a Kuwaiti publicly traded investment firm, for our mistake and any confusion it may have caused.

Two years ago Maha Al Ghunaim, the chairwoman of Global Investment House (GIH), was the darling of the Middle East’s investment community. Now, the company she helped create is an emblem of all that has gone wrong in the Gulf.

As Euromoney saw today, however, the chairwoman is still to be found in the brand new skyscraper she built for her company at the height of the Gulf’s boom. Much of the bank’s human capital appears to be intact too. Despite an overall reduction of 10% in the workforce, and salary cuts of up to 20% for senior staff, no-one above the rank of vice-president has quit, according to Al Ghunaim.

A steering committee is in talks to restructure around $2.5

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