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.


Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

Updated 22 February 2019
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Crown prince award ‘will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges’

ARAB NEWS BEIJING: Leading academics and literary talents from Saudi Arabia and China will be honored under an award scheme sponsored by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom and China during a visit to King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University in Beijing on Thursday.
The announcement was made on the eve of the Saudi crown prince’s visit to China, the latest stop on an Asian tour.
The cultural cooperation award will honor leading academics, translators and high-achievers from the Kingdom and China in the categories: Best scientific research in Arabic, best artistic work, best Chinese-Arabic book translation and vice versa, person of the year, and most influential person of the year in the cultural milieu.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said: “This partnership is in the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and represents the common commitment to build cultural bridges between the two countries, developing cultural exchange, and promoting artistic and academic opportunities for our citizens.”
He said the yearly award will promote language, literature, and Arabic and creative arts in China, and encourage cultural exchange.
The Kingdom and China have a long history of cultural cooperation, including the annual Arabic Arts Festival.
The King Abdul Aziz Public Library at Peking University was inaugurated in 2017 during King Salman’s official visit to China, where he received an honorary doctorate degree.