x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

UAE banking chief calls for more Emiratisation in his industry

AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, the chairman of the UAE Banks Federation and the chief executive of Mashreq says more can be done to retain the best talent in the most senior roles.

The chief of the UAE banking industry body has urged more action to ensure better representation of Emiratis in leadership positions.

AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, the chairman of the UAE Banks Federation and the chief executive of Mashreq, applauded the industry’s Emiratisation efforts of the industry in an article for The National today. But he said more can be done to retain the best talent in the most senior roles.

While banks have been among the most aggressive industries in the UAE to hire Emiratis, there is still a notable absence of locals at the highest levels of management, Mr Al Ghurair says. UAE national staff at banks last year was about 11,700, or 32 per cent of the industry’s total workforce, after reaching a peak of 12,500 in 2012, according to Mr Al Ghurair.

Recent statistics and public efforts made by banks to recruit more Emiratis bear out Mr Al Ghurair’s editorial. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank said in its last earnings release that the number of Emiratis working at the bank made up 40 per cent of its workforce at the end of last year. Meanwhile, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the nation’s largest lender by market value, said that it planned to hire 100 Emiratis this year as part of its drive to attract and develop the skills of Emiratis.

Still, the population of chief executives at the leading banks remains overwhelmingly foreign. Last year NBAD hired Alex Thursby, an Australian former ANZ bank executive, for the top job. Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender, appointed another Australian, Shayne Nelson, as CEO in the same year from Standard Chartered. FGB has been headed by the Lebanese-Canadian Andre Sayegh for a number for years; Tirad Al Mahmoud, a Qatari citizen, is the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Notable Emirati bank chief executives apart from Mr Al Ghurair include Hussain Al Qemzi of Noor Bank and Alaa Eriqat, the chief executive of ADCB.

mkassem@thenational.ae

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