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Two Bahrainis on Arab power list

Bahrain Business
Tue, 06 Mar 2018
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MANAMA: Two Bahrain-based business leaders have made it to Gulf Business magazine’s Arab Power List 2018.

In 42nd place is Mahmood Al Kooheji, chief executive of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) Mumtalakat, and in 61st place is Mishal Kanoo, chairman of Bahrain-based Kanoo Group, who now is a UAE resident.

The Gulf Business website says Mumtalakat continued its track record of making smart investments throughout 2017, joining investment firm Arcapita in acquiring a 90 per cent stake in NAS United Healthcare Services, among others.

Under the watchful eye of Mr Al Kooheji the SWF also made some clever partnerships, including one with Mueller Industries and Cayan Ventures to establish the first regional copper tube manufacturing facility in Bahrain – scheduled to start operations this year and create hundreds of local jobs.

Now five years into his role, the CEO continues to do impressive work for the fund, and for Bahrain, it adds.

About Mr Kanoo’s listing, the website says the family-owned conglomerate underwent a year of change in 2017, as it set about restructuring the business in preparation he launched two new investment ventures – KAAF Investments and Kanoo Capital – removing some family members from management positions and appointing new recruits from outside the firm.

This type of confident move is typical of Kanoo, who has proved himself not only one of the region’s most capable business leaders, but also one of its most proactive. He has also proven at times among the most opinionated as a writer of op-eds, adds Gulf Business.

Topping the list is Emirates and Emirates NBD chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The uncle of Dubai ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum takes his position at the top of the list this year in part due to the diminishing fortunes of those around him, but few would argue he doesn’t deserve to be here after decades of overseeing some of Dubai’s most important businesses, and a particularly impressive 2017, the magazine says.

According to Gulf Business, the last 12 months were eventful, as business leaders and cultural icons sought to navigate at times choppy waters.

Some have seen their fortunes increase thanks to successful business deals and rising stock market valuations, others have seen their potential recognised with major appointments and the completion of key projects.

And then there are those who have had a year to forget.

Gulf Business says its ranking is defined just as much by the ups as the downs in 2018, with Saudi Arabia’s corruption investigation that snared hundreds of leading businessmen, royals and government officials having a particularly strong effect.

Welcoming new faces to the annual list, the magazine says the leaders have either worked their way into contention over the years, or made a dynamic impression during 2017.

In both cases they must prove they have the staying power to be more than a one-hit wonder.

But as we have seen since starting the ranking more than half a decade ago, power is very much like the ebb and flow of the tide.

Even though the current may not be in favour of some in 2018, they could return on an even stronger wave next year, it adds.

avinsah@gdn.com.bh