Hisham Ezz Al-Arab

Chairman & Managing Director, Commercial International Bank


Hisham Ezz Al-Arab has been chairman and managing director of Cairo-headquartered CIB since 2002. He leads today a team of more than 6,500 professionals who have transformed the institution from a wholesale lender into Egypt’s largest private-sector bank, leading the sector on key metrics including revenue, profitability, net worth and market share of deposits. CIB serves more than one million customers, from individual customers to small- and medium-sized businesses and leading corporations, among them Egypt’s 500 largest companies.

The bank’s market capitalization has grown from EGP 1 billion at the beginning of Mr. Ezz Al-Arab’s term to EGP 90 billion today, making its stock — a blue chip component of the Egyptian Exchange — the global investment community’s preferred proxy for Egypt and a benchmark for the banking industry in emerging markets.

Core to the bank’s success is its unique culture, which balances an entrepreneurial spirit that prizes innovation with a commitment to global best practices in both corporate governance and risk management. That culture, nurtured over more than 15 years, is the bank’s natural competitive advantage and led directly to the establishment of the first of its kind employee stock ownership program (ESOP) in 2006. With more than 80% of all employees now shareholders, the program aligns the interests of employees and those of shareholders. In 2010, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab brought to life the CIB Foundation, which is a leading Egyptian voice for universal access to quality healthcare, with a particular focus on the needs of underprivileged children.

In 2018, CIB became the first corporation in the Middle East to be the subject of a case study by London Business School. To mark the occasion, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab joined distinguished professors from LBS’ Leadership Institute and the Wheeler Institute for Business to discuss the innovation advantage of emerging markets companies and how the “ABCDs” of artificial intelligence, blockchain, the computing cloud and big data will lead a revolution in the financial services industry.

Under his leadership, CIB has received significant international accolades, which are testament to the Bank’s management excellence and outstanding performance over the years. To name a few, CIB received Euromoney’s 2018 “Best Bank Transformation in the Middle East”, “Best Bank in the Middle East” in 2017 and Global Finance’s “Digital Bank of Distinction in Egypt” and was named African Banker’s 2016 “Socially Responsible Bank of the Year”. Mr. Ezz Al-Arab was recognized in 2016 for his “Outstanding Contribution to Financial Services in the Middle East” and was EMEA Finance’s “Best CEO in Egypt and Africa” at the magazine’s 2014 Banking Awards.

In 2018, CIB was named the “World’s Best Emerging Markets Bank in 2018” by Global Finance, a year after being recognized for the same award category by Euromoney. CIB is the first bank in Egypt, North Africa and Middle East to ever win this award.

Mr. Ezz Al Arab leads the Federation of Egyptian Banks as chairman, is a Co-chair of the Institute of International Finance’s Emerging Markets Advisory Council, and is also the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the CIB Foundation. Mr. Ezz Al-Arab is a nonexecutive director of the board of Fairfax Africa.

Mr. Ezz Al-Arab joined CIB from Deutsche Bank and previously served with both JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch in postings that took him to Bahrain, New York and Cairo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Cairo University.