First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s largest bank, has appointed Hana Al Rostamani as group chief executive officer, promoting a woman to the top leadership position in a male-dominated sector.
Ms. Al Rostamani will be the first female CEO of the $44 billion lender in the UAE, taking over from Andre Sayegh, who spent less than a year in the role. She is currently deputy group CEO and head of personal banking.
Ms. Al Rostamani is among a growing number of women tapped to lead companies in the Middle East. Last week, Oman named Haifa Al Khaifi as the CEO of a new firm that controls the country’s biggest oil block.
Other women in leadership positions in the region include Sarah Al Suhaimi, chairwoman of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange and head of NCB Capital Co., and Carmen Haddad, vice chairperson of Citigroup’s operations in the Middle East.
“FAB has always been an organization that champions diversity and the appointment of our first female Group CEO to lead our company into the future is truly something to value,” Chairman Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said.
“Hana Al Rostamani is very capable and is going to bring a breath of fresh air to FAB which has been strong in corporate but still can do more in retail. Appointing a female chief executive also sends a strong signal by the leadership about women taking on key roles in business. This is significant because she is entrusted by the leadership to manage such a big bank that is essential to the Abu Dhabi and UAE economy.”
Hana Al Rostamani has served as independent director at Emirates Integrated Telecommunication and as vice chairperson of Emirates Institute for Banking & Financial Services.
Ms. Al Rostamani takes the reins of the state-controlled bank at a challenging time for the domestic financial sector. Distressed loans linked to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are on the rise and there’s mounting pressure to further cut costs as lenders become try to become more digital.