Chief executive officer, HSBC, Middle East
Biography Although not a home-grown institution, HSBC carries significant weight in the Lebanese market. It is the only international bank that has kept a continuous presence in the country since 1946. The appointment of Youssef Nasr, a Lebanese-born banker who has been with HSBC since 1976, as chief executive officer in May 2007 will give the bank further credibility. The combination of his experience in international markets - he previously headed HSBC’s South America business - and local knowledge means he is well placed to be a key decision maker for the Lebanese market. If the political conditions in Lebanon stabilise, he is also well placed to take the bank forward. As HSBC’s first Arab head for the region, Nasr is also in charge of improving links between the bank’s international businesses, which will put local institutions under even greater pressure to compete with global brands.