Women are now taking up important roles in our respective societies and that move has proved worthwhile over the years. From being subjects of domestic topics to being world powerhouses; it’s just amazing how they’ve managed those amazing feats over the years. Their achievements have been supported by several media powerhouses all across the globe, most notably, Forbes magazine. For over a decade, Forbes has celebrated successful women across several countries in the world in its annual 100 Most Powerful Women in the World list. This has proved to be an amazing avenue to celebrate women worldwide as they continue to show just how important they are to the community as the other gender.
Although the cry for total gender equality in every commercial industry in the world is far from being fully heard, we can’t turn a blind eye to the progress women have made over the past few decades. Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Kamala Harris, Melinda Gates; women are now beginning to dominate whatever industry they find themselves now, albeit, to a certain point.
The case has been the same in the Gulf region where women are now beginning to take charge of some of the most important industries in the region. Some of these Middle Eastern women have been ranked as some of the most powerful women in the world. This further highlights how much efforts are going into putting the region in the global spotlight, but not just that. Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the world, has created quite an impression worldwide as a country with too many restrictions on women. These restrictions have been relaxed by the Crown Prince but way before that, some women in the countries have actually been doing well for themselves.
In this article, we’re going to be discussing the richest women in Saudi Arabia in 2021.
1. Lubna S. Olayan
Lubna S. Olayan is one of the most powerful and richest women to ever come out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Her influence in her region and the rest of the world has hugely been celebrated and recognized worldwide as she has once been listed as one of the most powerful women by Forbes magazine in 2011 and 2014, while she has also been listed as one of the most influential people of 2005 by Time magazine. She is well known in the Middle East as one of the region’s most successful women. In 2004, she became the first woman to ever deliver an opening at a major event in Saudi Arabia when she delivered the opening keynote address at the Jeddah Economic Forum. She previously served as the CEO of the popular Olayan Financing Company, a conglomerate founded by her father. She was eventually replaced by Jonathan Franklin after announcing her retirement but she’s still in charge of some of the company’s most important decisions due to her role as a board member. The company remains one of the largest investors in stock markets in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries.
Lubna Olayan has always strongly supported women in her home country and as a result of that, she has employed over 500 women. She also became the first Saudi woman to head a bank when she was appointed the Chairwoman of the Saudi British Bank in 2019. She is also on the International Advisory Boards of Citigroup and Rolls-Royce through her role as a board member of Alawwal Bank.
Today, she is one of the richest women in Saudi Arabia and one of the most powerful women in the world through her years of services in the finance sector which have further propelled her into the global spotlight.
2. Rania Nashar
After 20 years of hard work in the banking sector and having previously served as a board member of Samba’s global markets subsidiary, Rania Nashar was finally appointed as the CEO of Samba Financial Group, making her the first female CEO of a listed Saudi commercial bank. For those who do not know, Samba Financial Group is the third-largest bank by assets in Saudi Arabia and the group has even thrived more under the leadership of Rania Nashar. Under her guidance, talks have been ongoing about SFG’s merger with United Saudi Bank but her most obvious achievement with the group would be the development and implementation of digital services which customers have found very helpful.
Just like Lubna Olayan, Rania Nashar has been a regular face on Forbes’ list of the most influential women in the Middle East. The experience she has makes her a great asset to any industry and it’s safe to say the Samba Financial Group as a unit is lucky to have her on board. She has been widely praised for her flair for tech and its implementation in the banking sector. As a computer science graduate, it is no surprise to see her push for digitization in the banking sector to make life easier for customers.
Rania Nashar’s appointment as the CEO of Samba Financial Group came at a time when the country began rooting for gender equality and that must have motivated other women in the country to continue to aspire for the highest positions possible without being limited in their thinking.
3. Sarah Al-Suhaimi
After bagging her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the popular Riyadh-based King Saud University, Sarah Al-Suhaimi’s reputation has grown rapidly in her home country as well as other Middle Eastern countries. In 2017, she became the Chairwoman of Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange which is also known as Tadawul, Middle East’s largest stock market, becoming the first woman to chair the board of directors of the company since it was founded over 70 years ago. Before that, she had previously served as the CEO and a Board Director of NCB Capital, the investment arm of the National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia. Just like Rania Nashar, Sarah Al Suhaimi also started out at Samba Capital with asset management where she honed her skills to be one of the richest Saudi Arabian women today. Sarah became even more popular for leading the listing of one of the world’s largest companies, Saudi Aramco, at a value of $1.9 trillion USD.