The CEO’s departure follows the resignation in May of NBO’s chairman, Khalfan bin Nasser al-Wohaibi, and his replacement by Sheikh Suhail Bahwan (MEED 28:5:04). Suhail Bahwan Groupacquired a 36 per cent stake in the bank through a capital increase in October 2003. Vasanthan’s appointment is his first in the GCC. His most recent role was as chairman and managing director of India’s state-owned Andhra Bank.

The profits for the first six months of 2004 compare favourably with the RO 0.4 million ($1 million) net income reported in the first half of 2003 and to the loss of RO 51.8 million ($132.8 million) loss posted at the end of the year, caused by heavy provisioning. NBO said that the increased profits reflected improved performance in both its corporate and consumer businesses and a contribution from fledgling project finance operations. However, the bank also said that full-year results were likely to be weaker than expected, as provisioning levels for the first half – of RO 7 million ($17.9 million) – were higher than anticipated.