18117 Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair has been elected chairman of the oldest local bank in the United Arab Emirates, Mashreq.

Gulf News reported on Tuesday that the founder and chairman Abdullah Ahmed Al Ghurair had stepped down, and the role will now be filled by his son.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair was elected chairman of the board of directors of the bank after accepting his resignation from the position of CEO of the bank.

“For over 30 years I have had the privilege to serve as the leader of UAE’s oldest financial institution. It is with great humility I will be taking up the new role, building on the legacy of my father’s work,” said Al Ghurair in a statement.

Earlier this year, Gulf News reported that Mashreq plans to close 50 per cent of its branch network in 2019 while some of these branches will be transformed into digital branches.

Al Ghurair has been spearheading the family business for decades, after graduating with honours in industrial engineering from California Polytechnic State University.

He continues to play a pivotal role in providing substantial views to the UAE's financial and banking industry, in addition to playing a key role in UAE society.

Al Ghurair first joined Mashreq (previously known as Bank of Oman) in 1977, climbed up to the permanent role of a Board Member in 1979, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 1991.

Previously, he sat on the Board of Directors of major companies such as Emaar, Dubai Investments, Visa International, MasterCard, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Co-Chairman of the Arab Business Council – World Economic Forum (WEF). He was also a member of the Constitutive Council for GCC Leaders and President of The Knowledge Fund.

In 2012, he was appointed as Chairman of the UAE Banking Federation, and is currently Vice Chairman of higher board of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), as well as serving on the Board of Emirates Foundation.

Al Ghurair is also the Chairman of Masafi Company, Oman Insurance, as well as President of FBN GCC – a non-profit international network that is run by family businesses, for family businesses with the aim of strengthening family business governance and ensuring success over generations.

The highlight of Al Ghurair’s distinguished record of public service was his tenure as Speaker of the UAE’s Federal National Council. His period of office ran from 2007 to 2011.

He also worked hard to improve the working processes in the FNC. “We set a new and higher standard of working. For example, we changed the length of the term in office from two years to four. We discussed it with the government and we all agreed that made sense and the FNC terms became four years,” he previously told Gulf News.

Furthermore, Al Ghurair is also a member of New York University President's Global Council.

In 2015, Al Ghurair had pledged one-third of his group's assets to a foundation that invests in education in the UAE. His foundation aims to help 15,000 Arab students get a secondary and university education by 2025 by providing scholarships.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of Mashreq Bank. Image Credit: Supplied

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair was recognized multiple times in leading platforms, such as awards, conferences and seminars, both internationally and local. His endeavours have earned him various local and international accolades most significantly, a five time recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards.

  • Innovator of the Year Award – Gulf Business Industry Award 2014
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Gulf Business Industry Awards 2012
  • Best CEO Award - CEO Middle East magazine 2008
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - The Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA) - USA in 2008
  • Best CEO Award for supporting Emiratisation initiative in UAE from the National Career Fair - Banking and Finance in 2008
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Euromoney in 2008
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Banker Middle East 2009
  • Best Banking Contributing Personality Award – Banker Middle East 2011
  • MEED Leadership Award 2011
  • The Arab Banker of the Year in the Private Sector Award 2010-2011 from The Union of Arab Banks (UAB) in Rome, Italy.