The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) has appointed Sarah Al-Suhaimi as its first female chairperson, it announced late last week.
Al-Suhaimi, the CEO of NCB Capital, was elected by the exchange’s board, which includes representatives from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce and Investment.
She has now become the first woman in the kingdom to chair a major governmental financial institution.
One of the few women leaders working in Saudi’s finance sector, Al-Suhaimi became the first female CEO of a Saudi investment bank when she was appointed to lead NCB Capital in 2014.
Prior to joining NCB Capital, Al-Suhaimi worked as chief investment officer at Jadwa Investment and senior portfolio manager at Samba Financial Group.
In 2013, the Harvard graduate was appointed as a member of the Tadawul’s consultancy committee.
Al-Suhaimi will reportedly maintain her post at NCB Capital along with her new role.
Her appointment comes even as the Tadawul – the Arab region’s biggest stock exchange – is undertaking reforms to increase foreign investment. Most recently, it allowed overseas institutional investors to buy shares directly in IPOs.
It is also working with index provider MSCI to be reclassified within the emerging markets index.
Next year, the bourse is also expected to list the shares of national oil giant Saudi Aramco, in what is anticipated to be the world’s biggest IPO.