Mr. Omar Kutayba Alghanim – CEO, Alghanim Industries & Chairman, Gulf Bank
Omar Kutayba Alghanim is the CEO of Alghanim Industries, one of the largest companies in the region, with more than 30 businesses in 40 countries. He is also the Chairman of Gulf Bank, one of the oldest and fastest-growing commercial banks in the GCC.
Prior to joining Alghanim Industries, Omar worked in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley in London, where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions, financial restructuring and corporate finance. During his tenure, he worked on large global transactions such as the US$71 billion merger of Astra and Zeneca to form AstraZenaca (the largest pharmaceuticals deal at that time) and the US$29 billion merger of Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc to form Aventis. In addition, Omar played a key role in the founding of two major financial services firms: Asiya Investments and Perella Weinberg Partners.
Omar was elected as the Chairman of Gulf Bank in March 2013. Previously, he held the position of Deputy Chairman, being elected in 2012, and he has served as a board member since 2009.
Beyond his role as CEO of Alghanim Industries and Chairman of Gulf Bank, Omar is passionate about youth development, with an interest in empowering youth, particularly through introducing entrepreneurship and business self-sufficiency programs. He is a founding member and board member of INJAZ Al-Arab, and serves as the Chairman of INJAZ-Kuwait, part of the international non-profit NGO, Junior Achievement. He is also a continuous supporter of the Tmkeen Youth Symposium and Startup Weekend Kuwait, which promote start-ups and early stage businesses.
On the international arena, Omar is involved in promoting the economic development of the MENA region, having served as the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Chair of the MENA Regional Business Council and Chair of the initiative, ‘A New Vision for Arab Employment’ (2014-2015). His commitment to the WEF and its mission to ‘improve the state of the world’ spans over 10 years. In recognition of his contributions, he was appointed by the WEF as a ‘Young Global Leader’. In addition, Omar was selected as the Co-Chair of the WEF’s MENA meeting in Jordan (May 2015). During the 2016 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Omar highlighted the critical question of the future of jobs and championed the importance of gender parity in creating inclusive economies. For the 2017 WEF Annual Meeting, he was selected to serve on the Stewardship Board of the Education, Gender, and Work System Initiative.
Omar also takes an active role in addressing the dire challenges facing refugees in the region, acting as a member of the UNHCR MENA Sustainability Board. Additionally, Omar sits on Harvard Business School’s MENA and Central Asia Advisory Board, developing and strengthening relationships with business and academic leaders in the region.
In 2016, he received the Knowledge and Education Development CEO Excellence Award from the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute, which recognizes business leaders who have contributed to the growth and development of the Gulf region and greater global economy. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Visionary of the Year Award from CEO Middle East, and was named Businessman of the Year by Arabian Business in 2013.
Omar received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Commerce from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1997 and has an MBA from Harvard Business School (Class of 2002).