Four Qatari leaders in the worlds of business and the arts have been named in a magazine’s latest list of top 50 Arabs in the region. Middle East Magazine’s rankings include two Qatari women this year: Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani, founder and chairperson of asset management company Amwal; and Qatar Museums (QM) chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani. They are joined by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and the head of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani. All are prominent figures who are regularly named on lists of the most influential people in the Arab world.
The magazine, whose website appears to be based in the UK, derived its list from reader votes. All four Qataris also made last year’s index.
But the 2015 Power 50 list also included two others. They were Bader Abdullah Al Darwish, a billionaire whose conglomerate Darwish Holding developed Lagoona Mall; and Omar Hamad Al Mana, founder of Al Mana Group. Meanwhile, the UAE had 16 leaders named this year, and Saudi Arabia had six. The index also contains leaders from Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia. Saudi Arabia’s business magnate and philanthropist Prince Alaweed bin Talal was the most popular person in the reader-voted list, according to editor Pat Lancaster. In her introduction to this year’s top 50, Lancaster said: “Our most voted for contender, HRH Prince Alwaleed, is clearly admired for his business acumen but also for his philanthropy and genuine concern for those less privileged than himself. He was cited as an ‘entrepreneurial genius’ but – by the same reader – as an ‘admirable Muslim’ who has not ‘lost sight of the charitable teachings of his Islamic faith.'”
As co-founder and chairperson of Amwal, Qatar’s first regulated investment company, Sheikha Hanadi is regularly named on business power lists. She is also deputy chief executive of the Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani & Sons Group and CEO of Al Wa’ab City Real Estate development project. Additionally, Sheikha Hanadi has been heavily involved with community projects and is a trustee on the board of the Arab Women’s International Forum as well as chairperson of non-profit youth organization INJAZ Qatar and a board member of INJAZ Al Arab. Sheikha Al Mayassa is another regular name on regional and global lists of the most influential people in the art world. Reportedly presiding over an art-buying budget of up to $1 billion a year, the chairperson of Qatar Museums is ” responsible for cultivating significant cultural events in the region,” the magazine said. Her work with NGO Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and the Doha Film Institute also contributed to her entry in the listings. Meanwhile, Akbar Al Baker made the top 50 for his role in pushing Qatar Airways to become “one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world,” the magazine said. It noted that when Al Baker became CEO nearly 20 years ago in 1997, Qatar Airways only had four aircraft. It now operates more than 180 aircraft and flies to over 150 destinations globally. Meanwhile, the chief executive of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) takes the final of Qatar’s spots in the list. Sheikh Abdulla Al Thani took over the role at the QIA at the end of 2014 and oversees assets worth up to $300 billion, including stakes in Volkswagen Group, Barclays, Credit Suisse and London department store Harrods.