Qatari nationals accounted for one tenth of Gulf Business‘ annual Top 100 Powerful Arabs list in 2017.
Here are the top five most powerful Arabs from Qatar –
1. Saad Sherida Al Kaabi
Overall rank: 12
Al Kaabi made one of the most important business announcements in Qatar last year with the revelation of plans to merge RasGas and Qatargas under a single entity. In his position at the top of Qatar Petroleum he will oversee this process on top of the country’s hydrocarbon strategy as it continues to abide by a new production cap. He also continues to oversee its industrial efforts as managing director and chairman of Industries Qatar.
2. Akbar Al Baker
CEO, Qatar Airways
Overall rank: 14
An up to 100-aeroplane order with Boeing worth $18.6bn, a joint business agreement with British Airways, Qatar Airways’ first financial results and deals for 49 per cent and 10 per cent stakes in troubled Italian airline Meridiana and LATAM Airlines respectively were just some of the reasons Al Baker was in the news over the last 12 months. The Qatar Airways CEO also did not turn away from his usual controversy either, repeatedly warning the airline would walk away from an order for up to 80 A320 neos due to concerns over their Pratt & Whitney engines before announcing plans in January to switch to A321s. He also found time to criticise US rival Delta after it said it would not renew its sponsorship of a stadium in Atlanta that hosted a Qatar Airways launch party. “This shows that they have absolute disregard for the famous institutions of Atlanta,” he was quoted as saying.
3. Nasser Al Khelaifi
Overall rank: 17
Former professional tennis player Al Khelaifi’s influence in the global media industry is growing by the year as he builds a regional powerhouse to rival the likes of OSN. In 2016, BeIN Media group acquired global film studio Miramax, for which he is now chairman and interim CEO, completed the acquisition of the holding company of Turkish pay-TV group Digiturk and signed an exclusive multi-year TV deal with Warner Bros. On top of this media power and BeIN’s exclusive regional sports broadcasting rights, he is an influential figure in the sporting world as president of Qatar Tennis Federation, honorary chairman of the Asian Tennis Federation and the man who led Qatar sports Investment’s takeover of French club Paris Saint-Germain in 2011.
4. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Bin Saud Al Thani
CEO, Qatar Investment Authority
Overall rank: 22
Ruling family member Sheikh Abdullah had an active 2016 as Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sought to diversify its holdings. Moves last year included a $622m investment in the owner of New York’s Empire State building and the $2.45bn acquisition of the Asian Square Tower 1 in Singapore. The fund also told US officials of plans to invest $10bn in US infrastructure projects in December, according to reports. Outside of overseeing QIA, which has an estimated $338bn in assets, according to Sovereign Wealth Center, Sheikh Abdullah chairs Qatari telco Ooredoo and sits on the board of Qatar National Bank.
5. Ali Shareef Al Emadi
Minister of finance, Qatar, chairman QNB
Overall rank: 24
After a successful eight years leading Qatar National Bank (QNB) on its journey to become the largest bank in the Middle East and Africa by assets, Al Emadi was appointed the country’s finance minister in 2013. He has since proven his credentials in both the public and private sectors, as minister and QNB chairman, despite difficult economic conditions. QNB has predicted a 38.9 per cent decline in the country’s deficit this year to $7.8bn but the bank itself posted a 10 per cent rise in net profit for 2016 to $3.4bn. Among his other roles, Al Emadi is deputy chairman of telco Ooredoo.