FaceOf: Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Co.

Lubna Olayan
Updated 31 August 2018
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FaceOf: Lubna Olayan, CEO of Olayan Financing Co.

  • Olayan is the only Saudi whose name has made it to the board and one of three women who will contribute their expertise to the Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative
  • Her career began in 1983 under her father’s wing at Olayan Group

Lubna Olayan is the CEO of Olayan Financing Co. and is the first woman in Saudi Arabia to give a keynote opening at one of the largest conferences in the Kingdom.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) in Saudi Arabia has named a top-tier team of international business experts to work on the Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative (FII).

The event debuted in the Kingdom last year and introduced the government’s economic reform plans, focusing on hi-tech sectors, including robotics and artificial intelligence.

Olayan is the only Saudi whose name has made it to the board and one of three women who will contribute their expertise to the initiative.

Olayan was born in 1955 to a businessman and leader who founded the Olayan Group. She grew up valuing education and holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University, as well as an MBA from Indiana University.

Her career began in 1983 under her father’s wing at Olayan Group, but the two maintained a businesslike relationship in the office.

Her current role is the CEO of Olayan Financing Company, the holding entity of Olayan Group’s full operations in Saudi and the Middle East, and she also sits on the group’s board with her brother and two sisters.

In 2005 Olayan became a non-executive board director at WPP, and in the next two years, she served as an international advisory member of the board for both Rolls-Royce and Citigroup. She joined the board of INSEAD directors late in 2005 and was elected as a member in the board of trustees for Cornell University in 2007.

In 2010, she was awarded the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award, and Forbes listed her as the 86th most powerful woman in the world in 2014.


World celebrates Saudi National Day

Updated 23 September 2018
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World celebrates Saudi National Day

DUBAI: From Dubai to Beirut to New York and Washington, D.C., Saudi National Day was celebrated outside of the Kingdom on Sunday as a show of patriotism by Saudis abroad and as a sign of friendship by countries around the world.

The Dubai airline operated a special one-off A380 service, known as EK 813 and EK 814, on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30 p.m. The return flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50 p.m.

A YouTube video from Emirates also showed crew handing out scarves embroidered with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers while boarding the A380 aircraft.

 

The Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the Saudi flag last night, while the Nasdaq Tower’s electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square was lit up with photos of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

The images were posted by Nasdaq Dubai, the UAE-based operation of the New York equities exchange, on Twitter with the message: “Best wishes from #NasdaqDubai to #SaudiArabia on the occasion of the 88th National Day.”

 

 

In Lebanon, Pigeons’ Rock, also known as the Rock of Raouché, located in the sea of the western capital of Beirut, was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. The rock, one of the most important Lebanese monuments, was lit during a ceremony attended by the charge d'affaires of Saudi Arabia, Waleed bin Abdullah Bukhari, along with a crowd of dignitaries, including the Mayor of Beirut.

In Washington, the Saudi embassy’s National Day bus toured around the capital on the weekend inviting people to its celebrations on Sunday in National Harbor, Maryland.

In the UAE’s capital, the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police decorated 88 of their cars - one for every year being celebrated – with the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the words “Together Forever.”

The UAE’s airlines got in on the game. Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on the routes EK 813 and EK 814 on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30pm. Crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers boarding the aircraft.pic.twitter.com/U36yYpxE8T

Etihad said it was using the only Saudi A380 pilot in the world, Wesam Sameer Al Najjar, to fly its Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah with the UAE’s Captain Ahmed Almalood.

In the UAE, children at some schools dressed in green and sang the anthems of both countries, carrying both of their flags. In the evening, there was a Saudi National Day celebration at La Mer beachfront in Dubai that featured a supercar parade, traditional Saudi dancers and, of course, fireworks.