Voices from the top: Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered UAE
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Voices from the top: Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered UAE

Voices from the top: Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered UAE

Standard Chartered recently announced its Q3 results which demonstrated a return to top-line growth

Gulf Business

Despite the challenges that accompanied the pandemic, 2021 was a good year for both the organisation and myself. On a personal level, I had the opportunity to engage in person with clients and friends especially after a long time of virtual correspondence.

This encouraged me and provided me with the much-needed hope that humanity can succeed in overcoming Covid-19. On an organisational level, we recently announced our Q3 results which demonstrated a return to top-line growth, in addition to achieving further progress against Standard Chartered’s strategic priorities.

As for the global industry, the prolonged low interest rate environment, which emerged as a result of the global pandemic, weighed-in on the financial industry’s performance mainly on banks’ net interest margins.

However, financial institutions were able to adjust to this environment and align their portfolios to accommodate for the low interest rates. Our team of experts at Standard Chartered believe that central bank bond purchase tapering and rising expectations of policy rate hikes across developed economies are signs of growing confidence in the economic recovery.

As such, I believe that the economic recovery witnessed post the Covid-19 pandemic will continue throughout 2022, however, at a slower pace. The hawkish stand taken by central banks across the world on actively managing the recovery is expected to continue, therefore supporting industries despite the uneven economic recovery and the supply-chain disruptions currently witnessed across the globe.

Like any other leader, I faced several challenges throughout my career. Some of these challenges were mainly due to the male dominant nature of banking – a phenomenon that has existed globally within the financial industry. Overcoming these challenges was not easy at all, especially with the distractions life throws at you during your career path.

The trick for me was to remain focused, no matter what. Always remind yourself of your objectives and never give up. You’ll face a lot of challenges and you’ll fail at several tasks; just don’t allow distractions to derail you from your objectives. Never get discouraged and learn from your mistakes while moving forward; in my belief, the only direction towards success is forward.

My advice to aspiring women leaders and entrepreneurs is to concentrate on business outcomes, maintain open communication, and always be confident. This has led me to effectively oversee a massive workforce of an international bank in the UAE, a responsibility I am more than happy to have undertaken.

Furthermore, they need to stay motivated and invest the time and effort needed to expand their network. This would support their business, while expanding their circle of influence, which reflects positively on their company as well as their professional growth.

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