Hisham Ezz Al-Arab is the Chairman in the Commercial International Bank (CIB) – Egypt, prior to his appointment in CIB, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab served as an advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt for three months. In 2020, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab founded and chaired HE Advisory. With over 40 years of experience as an international banker across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, he advises corporations on Growth Strategies, Resources Mobilization and Financial Risk Management. He also provides fundraising advice and strategic counsel to start-up fintechs.
Mr. Ezz Al-Arab is the former Chairman and Managing Director of Commercial International Bank - Egypt (CIB), where he served in that role from 2002 to 2020. During his tenure, he transformed the institution from a wholesale lender with a market capitalization of EGP 1 billion into Egypt’s largest private-sector bank with a market capitalization of EGP 100 billion. As the blue-chip component of the Egyptian Exchange with ADRs and GDRs listed on the New York and London Stock Exchanges, the stock is the global investment community’s preferred proxy for Egypt and a benchmark for the banking industry in emerging markets.
His leadership was committed to cultivating and perpetuating a culture of entrepreneurial spirit and meritocracy and to global best practices with respect to corporate governance and risk management. Equally committed to the bank’s global responsibility, in 2013, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab introduced sustainability and gender equality initiatives. CIB was the first bank in Egypt to issue a sustainability report and to join the signatories for the United Nations Environment Program Financial Initiatives: Principles for Responsible Banking. CIB was also included in the Low Carbon Select Index in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In 2019, CIB was named to the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, the only company in Egypt and Africa to be listed. He also led the digital transformation of the bank’s processes and practices, including the establishment of a Data Analytics unit, the first such effort at an Egyptian bank. This unit subsequently advised the Egyptian government regarding data collection and analysis.
Recognizing the potential opportunities in Africa, particularly East Africa as a trade hub, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab led the transaction to open CIB Mayfair Bank in Kenya to provide trade finance and credit facilities for the bank’s Egyptian mid-sized corporate customers looking to expand into Africa. He was also instrumental in a fintech initiative for youth in East Africa.
Mr. Ezz Al-Arab has been recognized by a number of global publications for his leadership and the bank’s performance. He was named “Best CEO in Egypt and Africa” by EMEA Finance in 2014.
In 2016 Euromoney recognized his “Outstanding Contribution to Financial Services in the Middle East” CIB was awarded Euromoney’s Best Bank in Global Emerging Markets, the first bank in Egypt and MENA to receive this award. The same year they were awarded Best Bank in the Middle East. In 2018, CIB received the Best Bank for Social Responsibility in the Middle East. CIB was named Best Emerging Markets Bank by Global Finance in both 2018 and 2020.
Mr. Ezz Al-Arab is the Chairman of the CIB Foundation, which he founded in 2010. The CIB Foundation has built strategic partnerships with healthcare providers from the government, private, and non-government sectors focused on the health and wellbeing of underprivileged children throughout Egypt. As a result of its efforts, the Foundation has impacted the lives of more than 3.2 million children and is a leading Egyptian voice for universal access to quality healthcare extended to underprivileged children.
Mr. Ezz Al-Arab is a Member of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) in Washington, member of the Emerging Markets Advisory Council (EMAC) and board member of Ripplewood Advisors MENA. He is also former Chairperson of the Federation of Egyptian Banks, a former board member of the American University in Cairo (where a scholarship in his name was established for a dedicated undergraduate student), Smart Africa, and Fairfax Africa.
Prior to joining CIB in 1999, Mr. Ezz Al-Arab spent his career as a banker at Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank in London and the Middle East.