Misr Exterior was set up in 1981 as a joint venture between Banque Misrand Banco Exterior de Espana. The Spanish partner withdrew in the mid 1990s, leaving the Banque Misr group with a controlling stake. Misr International Bank (MIBank) now holds 30.1 per cent, Banque Misr itself 20.6 per cent, and the Banque Misr mutual funds hold 8.6 per cent.

The bank has assets of about £E 6,700 million ($1,456 million).

The changes at Misr Exterior are understood to have been carried out at the initiative of Banque Misr chairman Bahaeddine Helmy, with the support of Central Bank of Egypt governor Mahmoud Abul-Eyoun. Helmy has also initiated major changes over the past year at MIBank (Egypt, MEED Special Report, 12:4:02, page 34).

Rabbat has been brought in to replace Abdullah Tayel. Two other senior board members have also left: vice-chairman Mohamed Budair, and general manager Mohamed Anwar Khalil. They have been replaced by Helmy el-Shayeb, from MIBank, and Mohamed Moussa from Banque Misr.

Rabbat returned to Egypt in mid 1999, after 20 years with Citibank in London and Bahrain, to take on the job of managing director of Cairo Barclays Bank. He decided to leave Cairo Barclays at the end of 2001. ‘My task will be to upgrade the bank’s systems, establish good checks and balances, clean up the loan portfolio, and instil good corporate governance,’ says Rabbat. ‘We aim to get the bank to be one of the best private institutions in Egypt.’