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May 30, 2017

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Saudi first as woman made investment bank honcho

RIYADH--Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank said Wednesday it has named Sarah al-Suhaimi to head NCB Capital, making her the first woman to lead a top investment bank in the kingdom.

Such appointments are rare in the ultra-conservative kingdom where women face multilayered restrictions, including not mixing with men at the workplace.

Suhaimi has an impressive resume.

She joins NCB from Jadwa Investment, where she was head of asset management, responsible for assets exceeding 17 billion riyals (US$4.53 billion), NCB Capital said in a statement.

She was earlier head of portfolio management at Jadwa, which she joined in 2007 after five years in a senior position at Samba Financial Group.

In February, Soumayya Jabarti became the first woman to be named editor-in-chief of a Saudi daily, when she was promoted to lead the Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Arabia imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, forbidding women to work or travel without authorization from their male guardians.

It is also the only country to ban women from driving, and a woman cannot obtain an identification card without the consent of her guardian.

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