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Two Lebanese leaders are part of the Top 100 CEOs in the MENA region, as listed by the American economic magazine Forbes Middle East. 

In its third annual edition of the “100 Best CEOs,” Forbes Middle East ranked two Lebanese individuals, Carlos Wakim and Joe Kawkabani, at the 77th and 91st positions, respectively.

Carlos Wakim, a Lebanese-Brazilian, serves as the CEO of Bloom Holding, which operates in the real estate and construction sector in the United Arab Emirates. He joined Bloom Holding in 2021 to oversee Bloom Properties, Bloom Hospitality, Bloom Facilities Management and Bloom Landscape. In 2022, Bloom Holding launched Bloom Living in Abu Dhabi, covering an area of 2.2 million square meters with over 4,500 residences.

Bloom Holding also partnered with New Era Education and New Giza Real Estate Development to open an international school in Egypt. Wakim is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Bloom Education and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Brighton College in the UAE.

Joe Kawkabani has been the CEO of the OSN group since April 2022, leading from its headquarters in Dubai. OSN has more than 1,000 employees, and OSN+ has experienced a 40% increase in market engagement over one year. It is one of the top three paid streaming applications in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In November 2023, OSN, a subsidiary of KIPCO, concluded an agreement to merge its OSN+ platform with Anghami Inc., with OSN expected to invest $50 million in this venture. This joint venture is anticipated to attract over 120 million registered users and 2.5 million paying subscribers. Kawkabani also serves as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Kuwait Projects Company, one of OSN’s parent companies.

One Trillion Dollars in Revenue

Forbes’ ranking lists the top executives of the largest companies headquartered in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The previous ranking included three Lebanese individuals: Alain Bejjani in 23rd place, Samia Bouazza in 83rd place and Eddy Maroun in 99th place.

This third edition features 100 CEOs of 22 nationalities, the Emiratis leading with 23 executives, followed by the Egyptians with 19 and the Saudis with 18 CEOs. Selection criteria include individual achievements, innovations and the size and impact of the companies they lead on the economy.

The banking sector takes the top spot with 17 companies, followed by real estate and construction with 14 companies and telecommunications in third place with nine companies.

The 100 CEOs on the Forbes Middle East list “generated cumulative revenues of nearly $1 trillion in 2022.”

Regarding female representation, only seven women are included in the ranking, highlighting the predominance of men in top positions, particularly in the region.