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Sheikha Mayassa/Twitter

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani and two other Qataris have once again been ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen.

The Qatar Museums chairperson is joined on the 2017 Forbes power list by Mira Al Attiyah, chief executive of QNB Capital.

Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani, founder and chairperson of asset management company Amwal, was also named.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

All three made the rankings last year, but two of them have fallen down the list in the latest index.

Up and down

That includes Sheikha Al Mayassa, who ranked fifth last year and third in 2015. This year, she was in 11th place.

Sheikha Hanadi also dropped on the list, by 10 places. She is now 64th.

However, as CEO of QNB’s investment banking subsidiary, Al Attiyah rose eight places from last year, and is now 25th.


Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani

Forbes does not explain its methodology for designations on the list.

But factors that play a role include annual reports and company websites, company revenues or GDPs for government departments/ministries, years of experience and a ministry’s scope.

Other countries

In terms of the 14 countries represented on the list, the UAE claimed the most spots, with 18 women ranked. It was followed by Egypt with 16 women and a dozen people from Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait both had 10 heads of business named, Jordan eight, Oman seven, Morocco six and Bahrain five.

Palestine and Tunisia each had two, while Syria and Iraq had one apiece.

World Economic Forum/Flickr

Lubna S. Olayan, chief executive of Olayan Financing Company

The top three spots on this year’s list remained unchanged compared to 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s Lubna S. Olayan, chief executive of Olayan Financing Company, again took the top ranking.

She was followed by Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, and then Raja Easa Al Gurg, managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group.

Forbes has also published a top 10 list of the most powerful Arab women in government.

Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Qatar’s former ICT minister, featured in 2015. However, Qatar does not have any representation in this year’s ranking.

The government list is topped by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance in the UAE.


Sheikha Al Mayassa

Sally Crane

Sheikha Al Mayassa

Four Qatari leaders in the worlds of business and the arts have been named in a magazine’s latest list of top 50 Arabs in the region.

Middle East Magazine’s rankings include two Qatari women this year: Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani, founder and chairperson of asset management company Amwal; and Qatar Museums (QM) chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani.

They are joined by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and the head of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani.

All are prominent figures who are regularly named on lists of the most influential people in the Arab world.

Other leaders

The magazine, whose website appears to be based in the UK, derived its list from reader votes.

All four Qataris also made last year’s index.

But the 2015 Power 50 list also included two others. They were Bader Abdullah Al Darwish, a billionaire whose conglomerate Darwish Holding developed Lagoona Mall; and Omar Hamad Al Mana, founder of Al Mana Group.

Meanwhile, the UAE had 16 leaders named this year, and Saudi Arabia had six.

The index also contains leaders from Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia.

Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia

Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s business magnate and philanthropist Prince Alaweed bin Talal was the most popular person in the reader-voted list, according to editor Pat Lancaster.

In her introduction to this year’s top 50, Lancaster said:

“Our most voted for contender, HRH Prince Alwaleed, is clearly admired for his business acumen but also for his philanthropy and genuine concern for those less privileged than himself.

He was cited as an ‘entrepreneurial genius’ but – by the same reader – as an ‘admirable Muslim’ who has not ‘lost sight of the charitable teachings of his Islamic faith.'”

Qatar’s leaders

As co-founder and chairperson of Amwal, Qatar’s first regulated investment company, Sheikha Hanadi is regularly named on business power lists.

Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani


Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khalid Al Thani

She is also deputy chief executive of the Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Group and CEO of Al Wa’ab City Real Estate development project.

Additionally, Sheikha Hanadi has been heavily involved with community projects and is a trustee on the board of the Arab Women’s International Forum as well as chairperson of non-profit youth organization INJAZ Qatar and a board member of INJAZ Al Arab.

Sheikha Al Mayassa is another regular name on regional and global lists of the most influential people in the art world.

Sheikha Mayassa interview on CNNi

Qatar Museums

Sheikha Mayassa interview on CNNi

Reportedly presiding over an art-buying budget of up to $1 billion a year, the chairperson of Qatar Museums is ” responsible for cultivating significant cultural events in the region,” the magazine said.

Her work with NGO Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and the Doha Film Institute also contributed to her entry in the listings.

Meanwhile, Akbar Al Baker made the top 50 for his role in pushing Qatar Airways to become “one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world,” the magazine said.

Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways

Akbar Al Baker

It noted that when Al Baker became CEO nearly 20 years ago in 1997, Qatar Airways only had four aircraft. It now operates more than 180 aircraft and flies to over 150 destinations globally.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) takes the final of Qatar’s spots in the list.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani


Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani

Sheikh Abdulla Al Thani took over the role at the QIA at the end of 2014 and oversees assets worth up to $300 billion, including stakes in Volkswagen Group, Barclays, Credit Suisse and London department store Harrods.

He is also chairman of telecommunications organization Ooredoo.


Sheikha Al Mayassa

Sally Crane

Sheikha Al Mayassa

Media criticism of Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup has only made organizers more determined to hold the football tournament, Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani has said.

“The more the press attacks Qatar for hosting the World Cup, the more excited we are to host an amazing World Cup,” the Qatar Museums chairperson said.

Sheikha Al Mayassa was speaking during a panel session yesterday at the New York Times Art for Tomorrow conference at the W Doha.

During that session, she also fielded questions about whether she is worried that the World Cup is causing tension and “disruption in such a traditional place.”

To this, she answered that the decision-making process involving the tournament has been “very democratic and very collaborative.

However, the sister of the Emir also acknowledged controversies, such as widespread criticism of the under-construction Al Wakrah Stadium.

The facility, which was designed by architect Zaha Hadid, has been lambasted by some who said it looks like a female body part.

Alluding to this, Sheikha Al Mayassa said:

“There’s the Zaha Hadid building which everybody didn’t like but we liked it so we went ahead and starting to construct the Wakrah Stadium.

I think art is a matter of taste, just like fashion and everything else – food – it’s going to be I think very interesting for us in 10 years time to see the result of our innovative efforts today.”

The conference continues until tomorrow. It is not open to the public, but a pop-up art gallery on the 29th floor of the W Doha hotel will open to all tomorrow (March 15) from 8am to 1pm.

The Art Lab features work from Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark; Qatari Sheikh Hassan Al Thani, Qatar-based expat Omar Khalifa and others.