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Lubna Olayan is first Saudi woman to head a Saudi foreign business council
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 09 - 2021

RIYADH — Prominent Saudi business leader and senior executive Lubna Olayan was named as the chairperson of the Board and Executive Committee of the Saudi-Swedish Business Council (SSBC) for its four-year session from 1443 to 1447.
Muhammad Batterjee and Saud Al-Sulaiman were named as her deputies. The General Authority for Foreign Trade has accorded approval for the final formation of SSBC accordingly, it was announced by the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce.
The appointment of Olayan as chairperson of the council is the first of its kind in the history of Saudi foreign business councils. She is the first Saudi woman to hold this position since the issuance of a royal decree to expedite the establishment of Saudi foreign business councils more than 20 years ago.
Olayan expressed her appreciation of the great confidence reposed in her and her two deputies by the council members with choosing them to take up these prestigious positions.
She promised to exert more efforts to improve the council's activities and activate its role in developing inter-economic relations between the two countries by promoting joint work between the Saudi and Swedish business sectors and encouraging the establishment of commercial and investment partnerships between the two sides, as well as introducing investment opportunities in both countries.
She also vowed to promote the council's work to overcome the obstacles that businessmen face in their trade and investment relations, apart from attracting Swedish companies headquarters into the Kingdom.
Olayan is regarded as one of the well-known Saudi economic figures and a model for Saudi women who were able to put a clear imprint in the business field.
From the boards of directors, trustees and advisory boards of local and international companies, institutions and universities, Olayan was listed as one of the top 100 most influential people of 2005 by Time magazine, and continued to be on the Forbes list of most powerful women until 2011 and returned to the list in 2014.
She served as CEO and deputy chairperson of Olayan Financing Company for 30 years and deputy chairwoman of Alawwal Bank. On June 16, 2019, Olayan was named chairwoman of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), making her the first Saudi woman to head a bank
It is noteworthy that there are 36 Saudi foreign business councils that work under the supervision and follow-up of the General Authority for Foreign Trade and under the umbrella of the Federation of Saudi Chambers with the aim of developing economic relations between the Kingdom and friendly countries.
The councils also work to enhance and expand the access of Saudi goods and products to foreign markets, in addition to encouraging foreign investment.
Members of these councils include a group of Saudi business leaders along with their counterparts from the respective countries, and they form an economic grouping representing various economic and business sectors.


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