The Arab Bankers’ Association (ABA) is a London-based not-for-profit professional organisation whose members work in banks and related industries in the Arab world and in the United Kingdom. Through its programmes and events, the ABA fosters improved relations, information sharing and understanding between Arab and British private and public financial sectors.
The ABA was founded in London in 1980 and is the only professional body in the U.K. dedicated to representing and promoting the interests of Arab banks and financial professionals who work with Arab banks.
The Association now boasts hundreds of members, both individual and corporate, based in the U.K., the Middle East and further afield.
The ABA’s current Chief Executive Officer, George Kanaan, was appointed in 2009 (please refer to the “Home” page for George’s “Welcome” message). Gaby Fadel, formerly of Byblos Bank, serves as Deputy CEO. The board of directors comprises financial professionals with years of experience working with Arab banks and financial institutions.
Abdulaziz Al-Khereiji, Chief Manager of Riyad Bank’s London branch, serves as Chairman of the Association.
The Arab Bankers Association was formed in 1980s partly, but not exclusively, by Arab bankers who had relocated from Lebanon when it became clear that there was no end in sight to the country’s civil war. Several had been involved in Beirut’s Foreign Banks Association.
The ABA’s inaugural Annual General Meeting was held in March 1980 and was attended by 80 people, including proxies from overseas. Bachir Zouheiri of European Arab Bank was elected Chairman and Antoine Zananiri of Crocker National Bank was elected Secretary General.
The names of the members of the inaugural executive committee, and the banks for which they were working at that time, is given on page 27 of the Autumn 2013 edition of the Arab Banker. (The names feature as part of a profile of Antoine Zananiri.)
Many people have contributed to the success of the ABA since its foundation. We cannot recognise all of them, but the list below gives the names of all the association’s Chairmen.
Many people have contributed to the success of the ABA since its foundation more than 30 years ago. We cannot recognise all of them, but the list below gives the names of previous Chairmen.
Bashir Zouheiri, 1980-85
Hikmat Nashashibi, 1985-89
Mustapha Serageldin, 1989-92
George Kardouche, 1992-98
Mohamed El-Erian, 1999
Khaled Abdel Meguid, 1999
Samir Ansary, 2000-2001
William Khouri, 2001-2002
George Kardouche, 2002-2009
Antoine Sreih, 2010
Safwan Affifi, 2011
Hany Kablawi, 2012-2013
Abdulaziz Al-Khereiji, 2014 - present
Chief Executive Officer
The ABA is led by George Kanaan, its Chief Executive Officer, who was appointed in 2009. George is based in London but also spends a significant amount of time in Beirut.
George began his banking career with Citibank in New York in 1975 and in the late 1980s established and managed the London-branch of Saudi American Bank (in which Citibank then held a 40% stake). He later moved to Riyadh to manage a family office before returning to London. George is a leading figure in London's Arab community. His interests extend far beyond banking and finance to include fine art and the collecting of memorabilia.
In his role as CEO of the Arab Bankers' Association, George is assisted by several members of staff, both full time and part time:
Gaby was appointed Deputy CEO in 2023. His has been based in London since 1982 and from 1999 until he retired in 2022, he was General Manager of Byblos Bank's branch in London. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor in Chief
Andrew writes and edits the ABA’s content for the ABA’s website and other publications and he produces the Arab Banker Magazine. Andrew is based in London. His email is email@example.com
Accounting and Administration
Gabriella Sidoli, Account Manager and Administrator works in our London office. Gabriella manages all of the ABA’s administrative and financial affairs. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Development & Press Relations Manager
Hanan Almasood, Business Development and Press Relations Manager, works in our London office. Her email is email@example.com.
Talar Joulhajian, Business Development Manager, is based in Beirut. Talar provides administrative and technical support in all areas of the Association’s work. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org