Occupied Territories Private Sector: Six key people

08 August 2008
The six key people in the Occupied Territories’ private sector: Munib Masri, Abdelmalik al-Jaber, Samir Hulileh, Hashim Shawa, Bashar Masri and Walid Fakhouri.

Munib Masri

Position: Chairman, Padico

Biography: One of most prominent Palestinian business figures, Munib Masri co-founded Palestine Development & Investment Limited (Padico) in 1993. Since then, the group has expanded to play a critical role in the development of infrastructure across the Occupied Territories. Padico now covers a range of business sectors. Masri launched the Palestine Securities Exchange Company in 1995, and Palestine Telecommunications (PalTel) in 1997. The group is the most profitable company on the stock exchange. Padico has also had to develop businesses abroad to counter slumps in profitability in the Occupied Territories. These include Jerusalem Development & Investment Company and the Arab Medical Centre, both in Jordan, and Arabia Insurance in Lebanon. Masri has served as minister of public works in Jordan, and as minister of state for finance and reconstruction affairs in the Occupied Territories.

Contact: (+9722) 240 3336

Abdelmalik al-Jaber

Position: Vice-chairman and CEO, PalTel Group

Biography: Abdelmalik al-Jaber joined the PalTel group as vice-chairman and CEO in 2003, and has led a wholesale restructuring of the company to raise profitability and increase innovation and social responsibility. The company’s profits have increased from $15m since he joined to almost $100m in 2007. PalTel Group was the first company in the country to establish a corporate social responsibility fund. Al-Jaber moved from the public to the private sector in 2000, becoming CEO of the Palestinian Industrial Estates Development Company, where he supervised the establishment of Palestine’s first industrial estate, in Gaza. He is a director of several groups, including Al-Mashreq Real Estate Company, Cairo Amman Bank and mobile phone company Jawwal. In 2005, Al-Jaber helped found Vtel Holdings, a UAE-based company with $1bn in capital from Palestinian and other Arab investors.

Contact: (+9722) 296 6399

Samir Hulileh

Position: CEO, Padico

Biography: Samir Hulileh is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Padico and has been given the task of restructuring the business. Among the priorities for the group, Hulileh will be leading a move into the banking sector and preparing the privatisation of the Palestine Securities Exchange. Previously he was managing director of UK charitable foundation The Portland Trust, and played a central role in organising the recent Bethlehem Investment Conference. The event raised $1.7bn in new investment and projects across the Occupied Territories. Hulileh served as cabinet secretary of the Palestinian government in 2005-06 and assistant undersecretary for the Economy & Trade Ministry from 1994 to 1997. He has also chaired the board of Palestine Trade Centre (Paltrade) and remains a board member. Hulileh is also a board member of the Palestinian Banking Corporation, the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem and the Arab Thought Forum.

Contact: (+9722) 240 3336

Hashim Shawa

Position: Chairman and general manager, Bank of Palestine

Biography: Hashim Shawa joined Palestine’s largest bank in April 2007 and has continued its policy of expansion. The group now has 19 branches in the West Bank and 12 in Gaza, as well as a 14 per cent market share of deposits and credit facilities. Pre-tax profit rose by 33 per cent to $25m in 2007. Prior to joining Bank of Palestine, Shawa was at HSBC in Switzerland between 2005 and 2007, acting as a director of the group’s Middle East and North Africa business. His role was to develop the company’s private banking business in the Gulf. Between 2002 and 2005, he was vice-president and senior private banker for Citigroup’s Middle East business in Switzerland, and from 1997 to 2002 he worked in the UK, Spain and Italy for Citigroup’s UK business, within the company’s operations and technology division.

Contact: (+9702) 296 5010

Bashar Masri

Position: Chairman, Massar International

Biography: Bashar Masri is chairman of Massar International, the company he founded in 1994. The group now has activities in real estate development, financial and investment services, and corporate business development, with operations in Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, Egypt and Eastern Europe, as well as the Occupied Territories. Masri has been a pivotal figure in recent efforts to rejuvenate the Palestinian construction industry. Identifying that the rapidly growing population is placing more of strain on the availability of affordable housing, and that construction is one sector in which the Occupied Territories retains a critical mass of skilled labour, Massar has launched several real estate initiatives throughout Palestine. The most recent is the town of Rawabi, a new community of affordable accommodation to be built outside Ramallah. Work will begin on the first phase of construction by early 2009.

Contact: (+9702) 240 9595

Walid Fakhouri

Position: Chairman, Arab Islamic Bank

Biography: Walid Fakhouri has been chairman of the Arab Islamic Bank (AIB) since 2004 and, like Shawa, has led a steady, if fitful, expansion, taking the bank into the stock market, pushing up the company’s assets and investing in new IT systems. Pre-tax profit was driven up by 32 per cent to $6.2m in 2007, above the forecast 25 per cent. Performance on the Palestine Securities Exchange has improved as the group’s balance sheet has increased to almost $300m. Fakhouri’s move to Bank of Palestine came after 15 years at Bank of Jordan, where he held a series of management positions, including assistant general manager of the group’s treasury and investment division. He also served as assistant general manager of the branches business, overseeing the bank’s expansion on the ground. In addition to his role at AIB, Fakhouri has been CEO and chairman of the Al-Tawfiq Investment House in Jordan since May 2007.

Contact: (+9722) 240 7060

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current MEED.com package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications