Recent Executive Moves in Banking & Financial Services – MENA

Contact RRA consultant | Kanu Rajguru


APRIL 2023

  • BANK OF SINGAPORE has hired Ranjit Khanna as Market Head of the Middle East and Chief Executive of its DIFC Branch. Beginning 3rd April 2023, Khanna will be part of the bank’s management committee and will report to Singapore Chief Executive Officer Jason Moo. Khanna will manage all branches of the Bank of Singapore located in the Middle East to further the bank’s business growth as it enhances its presence in the region. Khanna has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and leading major roles. He joins from UBP in Singapore where he was Chief Executive, Singapore & Head of Private Banking, South Asia for seven years. Before this he has held roles at Coutts, Bank Sarasin and Standard Chartered having started his career at American Express Bank in New York. 
  • BURGAN BANK announced the appointment of Tony Daher as its new Group Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Daher succeeds Mr. Masoud Hayat, who had served as the GCEO since April 2019 and Vice Chairman since 2013. Mr. Daher brings over 25 years of experience and strong industry knowledge. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Daher served as Deputy CEO of Gulf Bank from 2013 until 2016 and as CEO from 2016 until 2023. Previous roles include General Manager for Domestic Corporate Banking at National Bank of Kuwait from 2011 to 2013 and Head of the Domestic Multinational unit from 2007 to 2011. Earlier in his career, Mr. Daher also worked at National City Bank in the United States, where he held several positions in Project Finance, Structured Finance, Corporate Banking, and Capital Markets. Mr. Daher holds a BSc in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.

  • CITIBANK (UAE ONSHORE BRANCH) announced the appointment of Shamsa Al-Falasi as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer for the UAE for all Citi firms that are based in the country and those that operate offshore. With over 20 years of experience at Citi, Al Falasi is an experienced banker. Before this she worked across numerous locations, including Dublin, London, and Sao Paulo. Al-Falasi was appointed in 2015 as the GSG's (Global Subsidiaries Group) Head for the UAE and Iraq. In 2018, her role was expanded to include regional duties as the GSG's Head for the GCC and Iraq, based in the UAE. Shamsa has been the interim Citi Country Officer (CCO) and interim CEO of Citibank UAE Onshore Branch since the beginning of 2023. Until a permanent hire is made, she will continue to serve as interim CCO.

  • CITI GLOBAL WEALTH has appointed Selim Elgen as Head of Middle East and Africa as well as Wealth Head for UAE in addition to his leadership responsibilities for the region. As part of his new consolidated role, Elgen will expand the private bank’s business across MEA while growing the UAE Citigold, and Citigold’s private client and cards businesses. Elgen has been with Citi for 28 years, starting on the private bank graduate programme back in 1994. He was appointed Global Market Manager for emerging markets in 2016, managing teams based in London, Luxembourg, Geneva, Zurich, Tel Aviv and Dubai, that increasingly focused on the top segments of wealth under his leadership. Elgen’s regional responsibilities were expanded in 2021 to include MENAT as Private Bank Cluster Head for MEA. Elgen will report to Ida Liu, Global Head of Citi Private Bank, and Luigi Pigorini, EME Head of Citi Global Wealth and Citi Private Bank. He will also become a member of the leadership team headed by Ebru Pakcan, CEO of EMEA emerging markets based in London.

  • DAMAN INVESTMENTS, the UAE-based asset management firm has hired Mark Friedenthal as the Managing Director for Asset and Wealth Management, effective May 2023. Friedenthal was previously the Chief Investment Officer at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank for more than 15 years. He was responsible for the wealth and investment management activities of the bank, including in-house managed funds, external portfolio manager selection, trading and execution, advisory and discretionary portfolio management. Prior to joining ADCB, he was the head of funds and quants at Emirates NBD. With a career spanning 25 years in asset and wealth management, Friedenthal has also been associated with firms including RMB and Sentinel Retirement Fund in Luxembourg. In December last year former CIO Ali El Adou departed Daman Investments to join DIFC-based Aditum Investment Management Limited.

  • HSBC has promoted Abdulfattah Sharaf to Chairman of the Board of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (HBME) with Mohamed Al Marzooqi succeeding him as Chief Executive Officer for UAE. Both appointments are effective from 1st May. Abdulfattah takes on the chairmanship after serving as HSBC UAE CEO for 13 years, a role that he had combined with oversight of the bank’s operations in Algeria, Bahrain and Kuwait as Head of International since 2017. Mohamed is a career HSBC banker joining in 2002 and gaining experience across retail, commercial, corporate and investment banking, encompassing roles that have seen him lead coverage of some of HSBC’s most important client relationships, most recently as Head of Global Banking, UAE. The Board appointment for Abdulfattah comes as he marks his 15th anniversary of service with HSBC in the UAE, having joined the bank in 2008 to lead its retail banking business as CEO, Personal Financial Services, MENA. He succeeds Samir Assaf, who will remain a Non-Executive Director of the HBME Board and also Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of HSBC Middle East Holdings, the holding company of HBME.

  • ISLAMIC ARAB INSURANCE COMPANY (SALAMA) has appointed a new Chairman and Vice Chairman to the Board of Directors, as well as a board of directors. The board elected Saeed Alhajeri as Chairman and Mohammed AlShehhi as Vice Chairman. Maha Al-Fahim’s appointment as the first female Board Member at Salama is a significant milestone towards gender diversity and empowering women in leadership positions.

  • LOMBARD ODIER & CO. officially announced the appointment of Amer Malik as Local Managing Director of Dubai. He brings over two decades of experience in the sector and over 15 years of experience in the Middle East and has worked for financial institutions in the United States and the Middle East, including Julius Baer and HSBC Private Bank. To support its expansion in Dubai, Lombard Odier has also appointed Bobby Chana as a Senior Private Banker. Prior to taking up the role, Chana was Executive Director at Julius Baer in Dubai, where he served the needs of wealthy individuals and families. He has also worked at Emirates NBD, ABN Amro Bank, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (now First Abu Dhabi Bank).

  • SICO in Bahrain announced the appointment of Abdulla Ahmed Kamal as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective April 10, 2023. The move follows the resignation of Shaikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who leaves his post after being appointed as CEO of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company. Abdulla has been a Director on SICO’s Board of Directors since 2020, representing Social Insurance Organization. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role including more than 20 years of experience in investment operations, audit, corporate governance and business risk consultancy, having held several senior leadership positions at well-established companies. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Osool Asset Management and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Bahrain Car Parks Company (Amakin) and Amlak Real Estate Company.

  • TARABUT GATEWAY, a regulated open banking platform headquartered in Bahrain, announced the appointment of Chun Ong as its new Chief Operating Officer. Chun has extensive experience in consulting, legal, operations, and business development. He is a seasoned C-suite leader with expertise in helping businesses scale as well as end-to-end customer experience and operational efficiency. He will lead the company’s operations as it continues to expand across multiple jurisdictions. This latest senior appointment follows the Company’s recent hiring of two new Vice Presidents in Customer Success and Engineering. Chun previously served as Vice President of Customer Insights and Operations at WorldRemit, a UK Fintech transforming how people send money abroad. He set up, scaled and led the company’s Business Analytics and Global Operations teams.


MARCH 2023

  • ABU DHABI INVESTMENT AUTHORITY (ADIA) has appointed Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan as Chair of the $790bn Sovereign Wealth Fund. Sheikh Tahnoon is the UAE’s national security adviser and also chairs the state holding company ADQ, First Abu Dhabi Bank and International Holding Company. 

  • ABU DHABI ISLAMIC BANK (ADIB) announced the appointment of Ashley Veasey as its new Group Chief Information Officer. Veasey will work on leading the bank's information technology strategy, services and operations. He has over 30 years of experience in technology and digital innovation in banking. Prior to joining ADIB, Veasey held senior positions at several leading banks, including Barclays, Standard Chartered, and Citibank, where he focused on managing digital transformation and technology. Most recently Veasey served as Group CIO at Scotiabank.

  • AHLI UNITED BANK: After two decades at the helm, Adel El-Labban has stepped down as Group CEO leaving a legacy of achievements, accolades, and transformative change. El-Labban is credited with the creation of Ahli United Bank, as he contributed to the efforts that led to the merger between United Bank of Kuwait PLC (UBK) and Al-Ahli Commercial Bank B.S.C (ACB), resulting in the emergence of Ahli United Bank in 2000, and fully involved in all its subsequent acquisition deals. He went on to build a bank spanning three continents and eight countries. Recognized twice as CEO of the Year – Middle East by EMEA Finance, while the Union of Arab Banks named him the Arab Banker of the Year 2009.

  • ALLIANCEBERNSTEIN is expanding its Middle East proposition and relocated Eduard van Nes - Director – Middle East Clients to Dubai and is scheduling the opening of a new office in the region in the months ahead. Van Nes has been serving the GCC for seven years from London.  As of 2022-end, the firm had 17 products registered with the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and has a significant number as well in Bahrain. 

  • AL RAJHI FOR COOPERATIVE INSURANCE disclosed that it had appointed Saud Ghonaim Al Ghonaim as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer after Mahmoud Salem Dahduli resigned from his post due to personal reasons effective on 28 February. Saud has held several leadership positions for over 23 years, including the CEO of Emkan Finance. Saud holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Akron, USA.

  • ABU DHABI COMMERCIAL BANK (ADCB) has hired Gavin Rankin as Chief Investment Officer (joined February 2023). Rankin has succeeded Mark Friedenthal, who has left ADCB after more than 15 years. Prior to joining ADCB, Rankin was the Head of Investments and Products Group, EMEA, and Global Head of Advisory Services at HSBC Private Banking based in London. He was focused there on driving greater coordination between HSBC’s EMEA private banking markets. An experienced senior executive, Rankin’s previous employers include Citi, UBS and Goldman Sachs.

  • BANK DHOFAR has appointed Amit Kapoor as the Head of Private Banking (joined February). Kapoor will be responsible for building the bank’s private banking business, with a focus on providing a tailored, service-centric approach that adds value for its clientele. Before joining Bank Dhofar, Kapoor was the Director of Sales at Frankfurt-headquartered ACATIS Investment KVG, where he focused on providing financial solutions for Scandinavian and Middle Eastern clients. He worked with US heavyweights including Fidelity Investments and Russell Investments, as well as Russia-focused Prosperity Capital Management and VTB Capital. A Londoner born and bred, the move to Muscat ends Kapoor’s 20-year professional career in the city.

  • COMMERCIAL BANK OF DUBAI announced the promotion of Khaled AlHammadi to General Manager - Personal Banking Group. In his new role, Mr. AlHammadi will be responsible for managing CBD's retail banking program, including the Personal Banking, Private Banking and SME segments. He will also oversee the development of new products and the improvement of processes and technologies to enhance the customer experience. Mr. AlHammadi is a seasoned Emirati banking executive with over 20 years of experience in retail banking. He joined CBD in 2015 as Head of Retail Sales & Distribution, having previously held several senior management roles with First Abu Dhabi Bank and HSBC Bank in the UAE, including heading the branch network.

  • EMIRATES NBD PRIVATE BANKING has appointed Deepak Agarwal as a Senior Director and Head of its Global External Asset Management Coverage. Before joining Emirates NBD, Agarwal was the CEO of Indian asset management firm Kotak Mahindra (UK) for more than 15 years, based in Dubai. With 24 years of experience in the financial industry, he has also worked at Kotak Mahindra Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

  • KKR announced that Johannes Huth, Partner & Head of KKR EMEA, has been named Chairman of EMEA (in February). As Chairman, he will prioritize his time on investing, sourcing new deals, deepening KKR’s industry and management team relationships, and supporting KKR’s portfolio companies, in addition to helping build KKR’s democratized private equity strategy. Johannes has been with KKR for over 24 years. Before this he spent over eight years at Investcorp in London as part of their management committee having started his career at Salomon Brothers.

  • MENA FINTECH ASSOCIATION has appointed Akshay Chopra to their Advisory Board. Akshay is currently Head of Innovation & Design, CEMEA (Central & Eastern Europe, ME & Africa) at Visa. Akshay brings over 16 years of experience across Asia-Pacific and CEMEA, with a focus on driving inclusive innovation and next-gen product development in payments and commerce. Akshay also holds seven  FinTech patents and is a serial venture investor in tech startups. In his role at Visa, he leads a team responsible for developing and executing the innovation strategy for the CEMEA region. Akshay has also been instrumental in driving adoption of new payment technologies such as tokenization, contactless payments, small merchant solutions and mobile wallets. As a member of the advisory board, Akshay will provide strategic guidance and support to MFTA, as well as help drive dialog with industry leaders and stakeholders. He will also play a key role in shaping the future of fintech in the MENA region.

  • NBK CAPITAL has hired Valerio Salvati as Chief Executive Officer & Global Head of Asset Management. Valerio joins from SEDCO Capital in KSA where he was Chief Investment Officer & Head of Asset Management. He has almost 30 years of experience in asset and wealth management at leading, global financial institutions across several locations. Having started in Fixed Income at Commerzbank in Germany, he joined Banco di Roma (UniCredit) as Fixed Income Portfolio Manager before moving to Equities. After leading the Portfolio Management department at BCC in Italy, he joined JPMorgan Asset Management as Head of Portfolio Management, Italy. After spending half of his career at JPMorgan, he then moved on to Deutsche Bank Wealth Management as Head of Discretionary Portfolio Management, UK. Valerio has been a member of the global and regional investment committees at both JPM and DB, as well as Chair of the UK Investment Committee at the German lender. He holds a Master in Business Administration for Banking and Insurance (Sinnea) and a Bachelor in Political and Economic Sciences (University of Rome). 

  • STANDARD CHARTERED BANK announced the appointment of Muhannad Mukahall as the new Chief Executive Officer of Qatar. Muhannad brings with him a wealth of regional experience that spans over 20 years. He joined Standard Chartered in 2013 and has since held senior assignments including CEO of Jordan, Head of Global Banking in Jordan and Head of Local Corporates in Abu Dhabi.  Prior to joining Standard Chartered, Muhannad held multiple leadership roles at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Arab Bank, HSBC Dubai and Jordan Kuwait Bank. 

  • SAUDI NATIONAL BANK (SNB) has appointed Mohammed al-Ghamdi as the new Chair. He will succeed Ammar Al-Khudairy, who resigned for personal reasons. Deputy CEO Talal Ahmed al Khereiji will take over as the Acting CEO.

  • SYGNUM the digital asset bank that provides a portfolio of Swiss-regulated crypto banking services has opened its Middle East hub in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Giulia Finkbeiner-Bertoni will Head operations across the region. The bank will offer personal, concierge-style client service, enabling local client access to a portfolio of Swiss-regulated digital asset banking, asset management, tokenization, and B2B banking services. Clients will be drawn from a diverse range of sectors, ranging from existing local crypto foundations and projects to traditional institutional investors and qualified HNWIs looking for trusted crypto-asset exposure through a regulated partner. The opening will strengthen Sygnum’s global reach, following Sygnum Singapore’s growth as well as the expansion of regulated offerings into Luxembourg.




Contact RRA consultant | Kanu Rajguru

Kanu Rajguru
Kanu Rajguru oversees Banking & Financial Services for Middle East & Africa and is a member of the global financial services practice. He has over 26 years executive search and recruitment experience and has completed searches in over 35 countries including for the past 16+ years across the Middle East & Africa.
Mobile: +971 50 845 2830


Burak Gorbon
Based in our Dubai office, Burak Gorbon is a member of the Middle East leadership team and also heads the firm’s Turkey operations. He advises regional and global clients on their leadership teams and boards. Burak’s focus is on recruiting CEOs, other C-level executives and non-executive directors. He is a trusted advisor to a wide range of  Banks, and other  financial institutions.
Mobile: +971 52 646 5256


Nic Cutts
Nic Cutts is a senior member of the firm’s global Leadership & Succession Practice and Head of Financial Services Advisory Services for Russell Reynolds EMEA. He is a (UK) Chartered Psychologist with over 20 years international consulting experience, having assessed and coached many C-level executives. He has led several large scale M&A and transformation initiatives in the financial services sector, where his consulting services have focused on individual, team and organization-wide initiatives.
Mobile: +971 55 560 9820