The board of Gulf International Bank (GIB) has picked Abdullah al-Kuwaiz, a senior Gulf financial official, to be the bank’s new general manager. The 57-year-old Al-Kuwaiz will join GIB when current manager Ghazi Abdul-Jawad leaves in February to become chief executive at Arab Banking Corporation (Banking, MEED Special Report, 20:12:96).

Al-Kuwaiz, who is from Saudi Arabia, was previously deputy economic affairs minister in the kingdom. He has also been associate secretary-general for economic affairs at the GCC and chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund. He was also a member of GIB’s board for 13 years from 1977.

As a respected, high-ranking government official, Al-Kuwaiz should be well-placed to manage the political aspect of GIB, which is indirectly owned by the six Gulf Arab states and does much of its business in the region. ‘He’ll add a great deal of weight and recognition and he’s going to be able to unify GIB’s shareholders, who he has dealt with for years,’ says a senior Saudi banker.

‘Prior to the resignation of Mr Abdul-Jawad, GIB had been reviewing its medium-term strategy and looking at entry into new markets, such as India, Lebanon and Egypt, where it believes it may have competitive advantages. The appointment of Doctor Al-Kuwaiz is not expected to result in any material changes to GIB’s target markets’ focus,’ says Martin Gallagher, analyst at Cyprus-based ratings agency Capital Intelligence.