Lebanon economy

20 December 2011

Six leading advisers on the Lebanese economy: Toufic Gaspard, Joseph Torbey, Mohamed Choucair, Mazen Soueid, Nassib Ghobril and Jihad Azour

Toufic Gaspard

Position: Economic adviser to the Finance Minister

Biography: Toufic Gaspard is the economic adviser to Lebanon’s Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi. Prior to this, he worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. Gaspard has lectured in economics at the American University of Beirut, the Universite Saint-Joseph and the University of Balamand in Beirut. He has also worked as a commercial banker with the US’ Chemical Bank [now Chase] and as the director of research at Lebanon’s central bank Banque du Liban. In 2004, Gaspard published a book on the political economy of Lebanon. He has also written on competition law. Gaspard’s recent reports include a study on Lebanese-Syrian economic relations for the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). He graduated with a doctorate in economics from the University of Sussex in the UK in 1992.

Contact Tel: (+961) 5 955 678

Joseph Torbey

Position: Chairman, Association of Banks

Biography: Joseph Torbey is the chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon. He is also the chairman of the banking group Credit Libanais, the chairman of the World Union of Arab Bankers and head of the executive committee of the Union of Arab Banks. Torbey has previously held several public roles, including serving as controller of the Lebanese Audit Court, financial controller at the Justice Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry, and head of the tax department for the Finance Ministry. He is also the chairman of the board of directors of the banking studies centre at Universite Saint-Joseph in Beirut and a member of the board of trustees of the Arab Centre for the Development of the Rule of Law and Integrity. Torbey has a postgraduate degree in law from the University of Lyon in France. He is an honorary professor at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1 970 500  

Mohamed Choucair

Position: President, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture (FCCIAL)

Biography: Mohamed Choucair has been president of FCCIAL since 2010. FCCIAL is involved with coordinating relations between the four Lebanese chambers of commerce. He is also the chief executive officer and board member of chocolate company Patchi International. Choucair is a board member of various institutions that operate in the real-estate, industrial and trade sectors in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Syria, Egypt and Algeria. He was a co-founder and vice-president of the Lebanese Franchise Association and co-founder and vice-president of the Bader young entrepreneur programme in Beirut. In 2005-10, Choucair was board member and treasurer of the International Chamber of Commerce. He has a degree in international business studies from Paris University in France.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1 353 3901

Mazen Soueid

Position: Chief economist, BankMed

Biography: Mazen Soueid is the chief economist at Lebanese lender BankMed. He joined the firm in 2006, having previously worked as an economist at the IMF from 2000 to 2006. Between August 2008 and December 2009, Soueid served as economic adviser to the former Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora. At the IMF, he worked on a range of issues and in a variety of countries, including Venezuela, South Korea, Mexico and the Philippines. Prior to this, Soueid worked for Germany’s Deutsche Bank in London and New York covering the Middle East. He has a postgraduate degree in economics from Brown University in the US. Soueid authored the award-winning book ‘The Lebanese Economic Project’. He was a founding member of the Lebanese Economic Association and has taught finance and economics at Brown University and the American University of Beirut.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1 373 937    

Nassib Ghobril

Position: Head of economic research and analysis, Byblos Bank

Biography: Nassib Ghobril has been the head of economic research and analysis at Byblos Bank in Beirut since March 2006. From 1997 until 2002, he was the head of research at Lebanon Invest. Ghobril then joined Sarader Investment House, the investment banking arm of Groupe Saradar. When Beirut’s Bank Audi acquired Saradar in 2004, he became the head of research and played a major role in expanding the scope of research conducted at the bank. Ghobril has a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the American University in Beirut and a master’s degree in international relations from the American University in the US. He also has a master’s degree in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management in the US. In 2009, Ghobril was recognised as the best economist in Lebanon and its diaspora by the World Lebanese League.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1 338 100

Jihad Azour

Position: Vice-president, senior executive adviser for Booz & Co

Biography: Jihad Azour is the vice president and senior executive adviser for US consultancy Booz & Co. He joined the firm in 2008, after serving as Lebanon’s finance minister for three years. Azour chaired the G8-BMena ministerial group for 2006-2008, an organisation made up of finance ministers and governors of central banks of the G8 and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) countries. He has previously held advisory positions within the government, beginning in 1999 when he worked as project director of the UNDP at the Finance Ministry. From 2000-2004, Azour worked as adviser to the prime minister, supervising and managing various reform projects, including income tax modernisation. He has a doctorate in international finance from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and a postgraduate degree in international economics and finance from Dauphine Universite in France.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1 985 655

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