Lancaster University

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Honorary Professorial Fellowship for Outstanding Alumna

05/20/2011 00:00:00


The first woman to head a Saudi investment bank and one of the most influential women in the world has been awarded an Honorary Professorial Fellowship by Lancaster University.

Distinguished Lancaster Alumna, Dr Nahed Taher, Founder and CEO of Gulf One Investment Bank,

was ranked 24th in the Financial Times’ Women at the Top Report in November 2010, and was one of just four Arab women to be recognised by Forbes in its list of the 100 most influential women in the world in 2006.

Dr Nahed, who has a PhD in Economics from Lancaster University Management School, was awarded an Honorary Professorial Fellowship by the Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings, to mark the outstanding national and global contribution she has made to the world of banking and finance.

Presenting her with the honorary title, Professor Wellings said: “In addition to a range of impressive accolades, you continue the important link with the international academic community, while being deeply engaged in business“.

Dr Nahed also delivered a guest lecture at Lancaster University Management School entitled “Macroeconomic Problems, Prospects and Policy Priorities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Region”, which was warmly received by an audience of academic colleagues, economists, staff and students.

She raised the issue of the pitfalls of the region’s over-reliance on oil and the social consequences. Income from oil exports simply does not filter through to the economy, leaving 30 per cent of Saudis living below the poverty line. She said that rising oil prices were suppressing productivity as it leads to complacency. Using case studies from Gulf One’s investment portfolio, she illustrated responsible, ethical and sound investment principles which delivered healthy returns. The private sector was seen as the driving force behind economic growth, with private companies increasingly rewarding their employees with shares.

Taking questions from the audience, she was asked how the banking system in the Gulf region needed to develop. Citing greed as the root cause of the crisis, she recommended that investment banks and retail banks needed to separate; as retail banks are based purely on consumption have no asset base.

When asked about the political situation, she said that the engagement of youth and the private sector was pivotal to the future development of the region.