The six most influential private bankers in the country: Kamal Driss, Gerald Lacaze, Laurent Dupuch, Hocine Mouffok, Raouf Bohli and Rachid Sekak.
Position: Head of Citibank
Biography: Kamal Driss has been with Citibank for more than 25 years and is the founder of the company’s Algeria office. He obtained his degree and MBA in finance in the US and is a founding member and honorary president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Algeria, and a member of the board of the Algerian Bankers’ Association. His career at Citibank began in 1982 as operations officer in the New York office, after which he moved to Tunisia to head the company’s regional financial institutions business. In 1991, he moved to Algeria to open Citibank’s representative office, and founded the company’s operational activities in 1997. The company is now the country’s largest private bank, with more than $1.3bn in assets. In 2005, the bank was responsible for leading the $490m financing of the local mobile phone subsidiary of Kuwait’s Wataniya Telecom, at the time the largest project finance deal in the country’s history.
Position: CEO, Societe Generale Algerie
Biography: Gerald Lacaze has been with Societe Generale since 1978 and was made chief executive officer (CEO) in July 2007, replacing Joel Jarry. He started his career at the head office in Paris, spending eight years in Chicago and London before returning to Paris in 1993 as deputy manager of the Africa and Middle East department. He subsequently worked as deputy manager of the Americas department, and head of mergers and acquisitions for Africa and the Middle East, before being made head of the Africa and Middle East region in 2005. He is also a member of the board of directors at Societe Generale Jordan and Tunisia’s Union Internationale de Banques. Societe Generale was the first French bank to be granted a banking licence in Algeria, opening in 2001. It has more than 40 branches in the country and by the end of 2008, it hopes to have a total of 60. It has more than 110,000 clients.
Position: Algeria country manager, BNP Paribas
Biography: Laurent Dupuch has been head of the Algeria operations of BNP Paribas since January 2008, when he replaced Francois-Edouard Drion. He has been with the bank since 1993, having graduated with a masters degree in management at the HEC graduate business school in Paris. As head of BNP’s Near & Middle East department from 2004 to 2005, he presided over the opening of the bank’s first branches in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. BNP opened a representative office in Algeria, and in 2002 it became the third French bank to offer full banking services in the country. It was the first bank in Algeria to be rated by Fitch Ratings, which gives it a long-term rating of AAA. It has 39 branches in the country and aims to have more than 70 by the end of 2008. At the end of 2007, the bank had more than 2,800 corporate clients and more than 49,000 small business and individual clients, as well as a growing trade finance division.
Position: Head of Natixis Algerie
Biography: Natixis, through its predecessor Natexis Banques Populaires (NBP), was the second French bank to establish in Algeria. Hocine Mouffok, the bank’s first Algeria head, established an office in 2000 and operations began in 2001. Mouffok has a masters degree in business administration and a doctorate in international banking from HEC Montreal business school in Canada. He is a former lecturer in economy and his career includes a stint as head of state-owned Banque National d’Algerie. In mid-2006, NBP still had only three branches in Algeria, but following the creation of Natixis in November 2006, a rapid expansion programme began. It now has 20 branches and aims to increase this to 60 by the end of 2009. Natixis Algerie offers retail and corporate banking services and plans to expand its services in both banking and insurance, and to become a reference bank for the Algerian market.
Position: Executive country manager, Arab Bank
Biography: Raouf Bohli has headed up Arab Bank’s Algeria operations since 2004 and has a banking career spanning more than 30 years. Since graduating in 1975 with a master’s degree in economics and a diploma in banking management, his career has included spells at Banque Nationale de Tunisie, Amen Bank and Arab Tunisian Bank. He has held several roles including credit manager, branch manager, accountancy manager, treasury manager and audit manager. Between 2002 and 2003, he was chairman and general manager of another Tunisian financial institution, Factoring Union Compagnie, from where he moved to Arab Bank. Arab Bank’s Algeria branch was established in December 2000 and now employs about 150 staff. It offers products and services to corporations, government agencies and other financial institutions in a range of areas.
Position: CEO, HSBC Algeria
Biography: HSBC is poised to be the next foreign bank to be granted a licence to operate in Algeria. It was granted a permit to set up its first branch in May 2007, and expects to receive authorisation to trade in May, with operations due to begin in June. Rachid Sekak was appointed head of HSBC’s Algeria operations in 2006 and became CEO in 2007. He has a degree in economic sciences from the University of Algiers and an MBA from the US. After six years as a lecturer in corporate and international finance in Algiers, Sekak spent five years at Banque d’Algerie, where he held posts as adviser to the governor and director of foreign debt. Before moving to HSBC, he worked at French firms Union de Banques Arabes & Francaises and Credit Industriel & Commercial. Before it established its own office, HSBC was represented in Algeria through British Arab Commercial Bank, in which it has a 46.5 per cent stake.