From leaders in banking to telecoms, logistics to energy, these 10 CEOs helm some of Egypt's best-performing companies by market cap and have earned their leadership stripes spearheading restructures, leading acquisitions and improving productivity.
Here’s what they do and how they’ve done it.
CEO and Managing Director
Market value: US$5.2 billion
As CEO of CIB since June 2017, Hussein Abaza leads strategy and operations at Egypt’s largest bank, which employs 7,700 people and serves two million customers – including Egypt’s 500 largest corporations across more than 200 branches.
Established in 1975 as a joint venture between the National Bank of Egypt and the Chase Manhattan Bank, CIB owns various subsidiaries, including CVentures, Damietta Shipping and Commercial International for Finance.
Under Abaza’s leadership, the team successfully managed Ripplewood’s 2009 exit from CIB, the entry into the shareholding structure of global emerging markets private equity firm Actis, and the subsequent sale of Actis’s 6.5% stake to Fairfax Financial Holding. While the Bank’s IR program has secured wins from the Extel / MEIRA poll for five consecutive years, from 2014 to 2018.
Prior to becoming CEO, Abaza served as the Bank’s COO and before that as its Chief Risk Officer, Since the early 2000s, he has led the Bank’s award-winning Investor Relations programme – helping CIB grow in market value from EGP 10.8 billion in 2007 to 82.3 billion as of July 2021.
With a career at CIB spanning 25 years, Abaza has been actively involved in the Bank’s credit training programme, providing talented young bankers with experience.
He has also served in leadership roles at EFG Hermes Asset Management.
Market value: US$1.3 billion
As CEO of QNB Al Ahli since 2021, Mohamed has led the bank to its highest-ever net profits, rising 36% in 2022 from the year before and for the first nine months of 2023 securing net profits of US$41 million – higher by 71% year-on-year (YoY).
First established in 1978 as NSGB Bank, Qatari QNB Group acquired a majority stake (94.97%) 10 years ago changing the name to QNB Al Ahli – and today, it is one of the leading financial institutions in the country and the second-largest private bank.
Considered a pioneer in sustainable financing for both the corporate and retail sectors, QNB Al Ahli has set an ambitious sustainability strategy that entails establishing partnerships with major development institutions to provide adequate finance programmes to support business owners to cope with and promote the transition to the green economy.
Bedeir was instrumental in launching the bank’s first green retail-financing programme in conjunction with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), backed by the EU, and the Green Climate Fund – becoming the first bank in Egypt to cooperate with EBRD in such programmes.
The cooperation portfolio between the EBRD and QNB Al Ahli to support the green economy has reached more than $170m.
Under his leadership too, the bank became a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and has offered financing packages to companies in various sectors to establish everything from solar power plants to waste management facilities.
Prior to joining QNB Al Ahli, Bedeir spent six years at Bank Audi Egypt, where he most recently served as CEO and managing director. He has an MBA in banking and financial services.
CEO and Managing Director
Market value: US$1.3 billion
Armed with a degree in telecommunications engineering and with more than two decades of experience in the telecoms sector, in Egypt and Hong Kong, Eng. Mohamed Nasr Eldin is arguably one of the most experienced telecom sector leaders in the region.
Following three years as Deputy ICT Minister for Global Information Infrastructure at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Eldin took the helm of Telecom Egypt just six months ago.
Already well-acquainted with Telecom Egypt, Eldin had represented the government as a non-executive board member for the telco over the last three years and also spent a decade with the company from 2006 to 2016 – when he served as Head of the International Cables and Networks Business Unit.
He also has extensive experience in managing international programmes and projects, having held several roles since 2016 at PCCW Global, the global operating division of Hong Kong Telecom.
With his extensive telco and ICT experience, he is driving the vision and strategy of the telco to become the leading ICT provider whilst still growing its position as the leading integrated telecom operator.
The telco, which is majority-owned (70%) by the Egyptian government, and itself owns 45% of Vodafone Egypt, recently signed six new commercial and strategic agreements with Etisalat Misr worth US$549.5 million.
CEO and Group President
Market value: US$1.2 billion
Armed with a degree in electrical engineering and 35 years of experience in the electricity and energy industries, Ahmed Elsewedy has created one of the largest worldwide providers of integrated energy solutions.
Taking the helm of the family business in 1986, Ahmed led the first private cable factory in Egypt, and through streamlining operations, acquisition of new businesses, and penetrating new markets, grew the company rapidly – today, it operates more than 30 production facilities in 16 countries, employing 17,000 professionals and exporting to more than 110 countries.
Operating across business lines including wires and cables, electrical products, turnkey products, transformers and renewables, Elsewedy Electric saw its revenues rise more than 50% in 2022, with almost half coming from its wires and cables segment.
Among recent projects secured by the firm, the building of the US$870 million Zliten power plant in Libya and the US$328 million implementation of underground high voltage cables for Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation.
The company, which is listed on the Cairo Stock Exchange, and majority-owned by the Elsewedy Family (68.1%), plans to ramp up its production of EV chargers and pursue new investments in green projects and renewable energy.
As an expert in his industry, Ahmed is sought-after by professional associations and serves as the Chairman of the Egypt China Business Council, among others.
Market value: US$1.029 billion
Under the leadership of well-respected businessman, Sherif El-Zayat, EKH has emerged as one of the most rapidly expanding direct investment enterprises in the Middle East and Africa region.
The firm, which was founded in 1997 by a consortium of Egyptian and Kuwaiti businessmen, has in recent years witnessed remarkable revenue growth and margin expansion across its extensive investment portfolio – with EKH’s bottom line delivering an impressive 41% YoY expansion during FY2022.
El-Zayat, who has a 4.26% stake in the holding company, boasts a wealth of experience across a wide cross-section of industries – making him perfectly suited to dual-listed EKH, which has a majority stake in 19 subsidiaries across industry verticals including petrochemicals, fertilisers, gas distribution, power generation, upstream gas, insurance and non-banking financial services.
Included in the company's portfolio, Sprea Misr, AlexFert, NatEnergy, Delta Insurance and Bedayti, among others.
As part of El-Zayat’s ambitious expansion strategy, to cement EKH as a leading and rapidly growing investment entity in the MENA region, the company is planning to invest US$170 million in the Egyptian market this year.
Under El-Zayat’s leadership, EKH has prioritised acquisitions with key ones including an additional 13.12% stake in Bawabet Al Kuwait Holding Company and recently launched a state-of-the-art petrochemical factories to supply sulfuric acid to a number of its subsidiaries.
Prior to taking the helm of EKH, El-Zayat was the founder and chief executive of Misr Glass Manufacturing and he also served as managing director and deputy chairman of Al-Ahram Beverages Co.
El-Zayat is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Chemical Industries (part of the Federation of Egyptian Industries) and serves as Chairman of its Diversified Chemicals Division, while he has also served as a board member of the Egyptian Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council since 2008.
Market value: US$1.2 billion
As CEO since 2018, Hany Aman has led Egypt’s biggest tobacco manufacturer to a market value of US$1.2 billion and assets of US$864 million.
Under his leadership, and since the company’s legal restructuring in 2018, Eastern has been among the top companies in the Middle East.
Aman spearheaded the acquisition of 24% of the United Tobacco Company, and under his leadership, profits have been record-breaking. Net profit increased 24% YoY during the first nine months of 2020/2021, with each consecutive quarter delivering record results. Since then, company revenues have increased by 7%, in the fiscal year ending June 2022.
Productivity and efficiency have improved too, with the company recorded record production volumes using the same machines, while market share for Eastern has grown to 70% with the expectation this will continue to rise over the next few years.
Established in 1920, Eastern Company trades in tobacco products and also has direct investment in real estate, industrial machinery and packaging products. Emirati firm Global Investment Holdings recently acquired a 30% stake from Egypt’s government in the tobacco manufacturer. Around 20% remains with the state-owned Chemical Industries Holding Company, 35% is freely traded on the Egyptian Stock Exchange and 15% is owned by several small shareholders.
Prior to Eastern, Hany worked at Henkel for 11 years, including as CEO of Henkel Jordan, and also had a stint at Coca-Cola.
Market value: US$687 million
With a career in investment banking spanning more than two decades, Karim Awad worked his way up the leadership ranks at EFG Hermes before taking the Group reins a decade ago.
Since taking the helm of one of the largest financial institutions in the MENA region, Awad has led a significant restructure of the firm, streamlining expenses and divesting non-core assets, as well as spearheading a major shift in the company’s strategy – transforming EFG Hermes from a MENA-based investment bank to a frontier markets financial solutions house.
Under his decade-long leadership, EFG has improved market share in its core sell-side operations of investment banking, brokerage, and research in its key markets, while further expanding its presence to seven new markets spanning Africa and Asia. The firm has also significantly increased its suite of products by building a full-fledged non-bank financial institutions platform and following the acquisition of a commercial bank in Egypt, completed transformation into a universal banking platform.
And last year, Awad – who was listed in Forbes’ top 10 CEOs in the Middle East – spearheaded a company rebrand, to better reflect the group’s expansion across financial services. He also led the advisory on the US$2.5 billion IPO of ADNOC Gas on ADX earlier this year.
Operating across 12 countries, including Egypt, Saudi, the UAE, Kuwait, the US and the UK, the company has assets under management of more than US$3.5 billion as of December 2022.
Awad is also the Chairman of the executive committee and a member of the board.
Market value: US$77.719 million
Named among the Forbes Middle East 100 Most Powerful Women in 2023, Abir Leheta has been leading the Egyptian Transport and Commercial Services Company, aka EgyTrans, since 2015.
A leading transportation and logistics industry player, Egytrans offers a wide range of services such as import and export, general cargo handling, dry cargo handling, customs clearance, warehousing, packing and specialised transportation.
An accomplished CEO, Board Chair and non-executive director, Abir has a proven track record in driving organisational growth and transformation – consistenly delivering positive impacts on bottom-line performance and operational excellence, while also actively enging with the community to address critical industry issues.
Abir successfully steered Egytrans through the pandemic, managing the impact through tight operations cost and agile capacity deployment – and despite a revenue decrease, managed to emerge in the green with net profits reaching EGP 13.1 million. And in the first half of 2023, Egytrans posted a 66% YoY increase in its net profits to EGP 33.446 million.
Under her watch too, Egytrans has made significant moves towards green supply chains, investing in capabilities with a strategic focus on providing complete logistics solutions for renewable energy projects.
Leheta joined Egytrans in 1997, and spent the first decade in software development and as Deputy IT Manager. Since then, she has held increasingly senior leadership roles, including as Chief Systems Officer and Chief Strategy Officer.
In board roles, too, Abir has guided companies through turnarounds, providing stability during challenging times, and contributed to strategic vision designed to sustain high growth. She currently serves as chairman of Barwil Egytrans and ScanArabia.
Widely considered an accomplished business leader and technologist, Hossam Seifeldin was poached by Capgemini Egypt a year ago to establish and grow the tech consultancy’s first delivery centre in the country.
Designed to meet growing client demand for Capgemini offerings in cloud infrastructure services, intelligent operations, engineering, R&D, and data and AI, the centre provides large organisations with 24/7, multi-lingual business and transformation services across Europe and the Middle East.
Hossam, who has been at the forefront of digital transformation across the region for decades, has a strong track record in building, shaping and leading technology business units and teams founded on trust and inclusivity.
Prior to joining Capgemini as Egypt CEO last November, Hossam spent nearly three decades at IBM where he held a number of leadership roles across various business units and geographies.
Among these, he served as Vice-President of Middle East and Africa, where he delivered strong performance across the various metrics, and he also led the operations, transformation and strategy operating model across MEA. Among other VP-level roles, Hossam served as GM for Saudi, Gulf, and Pakistan and as GM for Africa.
Along with a degree in engineering from Ain Shams University, Hossam has a diploma in management from Henley University and is a certified board director from IF, World Bank Group.
Market cap: US$223 million
Long-time GB Corp executive Nader Ghabbour took the reins first as Deputy CEO in 2019 before being made CEO of the family-run automotive trading business in 2021.
Established in the 1940s in Egypt, GB Auto Group rebranded to GB Corp early in 2023. With 25 brands in its portfolio, the group reported US$963 million in sales and a net profit of US$341 million.
Among its many subsidiaries, GB Corp boasts superapp scaleup MNT-Halan, one of Egypt’s few unicorns, along with GB Capital, GB Ventures and GB Academy.
Under Nader, the company has not only rebranded with a new identity strategy focused on two main pillars (digital transformation and sustainable development) but successfully conducted its first carbon footprint assessment and set specific GHG reduction targets – with plans to install solar PV systems at all its manufacturing facilities by 2024, to supply up to 40% of the facilites’ annual energy needs.
The company has also launched an initiative to recycle all metal, plastic, paper and other waste and has designed an integrated programme to qualify female students to work in the automotive technical sector.
Naser has more than 15 years of automotive industry experience, cultivated through various managerial and operational roles he has held during his decades-long career at GB Corp.
Nader started his career at GB Auto as a showroom sales representative for the passenger car division. As Group COO, responsible for a multitude of vehicular operations in Egypt and the wider region, Nader was awarded the Symantec EMEA IT Visionary Award, and prior to this, he served as Passenger Car COO and Project management Officer leader.
He has an MBA from IE Business School in Madrid.
- Interview: Mufazzal Kajiji, CEO of Zurich International LifeLeadership & Strategy
- Interview: Mohammed Alardhi, Investcorp Executive ChairmanLeadership & Strategy
- Top 10 largest companies in the United Arab EmiratesCorporate Finance
- Why executive education is more important than everLeadership & Strategy