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Gulf women board directors: Amani Bouresli

[Aurora50 template] Amani Bouresli, professor of finance at Kuwait University and board director of Ithmaar Holding, IB Capital Board of Directors and Faisal Islamic Bank

Amani Bouresli, formerly Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Minister of Planning and Development Affairs, has been a professor of finance at Kuwait University’s College of Business Administration since 1988 and has over 30 years of experience in training, consulting and banking.

Ms Bourseli is a board member of Ithmaar Holding and IB Capital Board of Directors in Bahrain and Faisal Islamic Bank in Egypt, and was a board member at Kuwait’s Burgan Bank from 2010-2011.

Prior to her ministerial roles, she was chairman and founder of Capital Standards Rating, Kuwait’s first independent credit rating agency. She is a member of Manarat, Aurora50’s invite-only club for regional women directors on listed boards.

Can you tell us a bit about how you were raised, and your family values? 

I was a middle child, with five siblings and we were raised in a traditional family and inspired by my father, who highly believed in education. He treated us equally and had huge confidence in us all from a very young age.

Where and what did you study? 

I studied in Kuwait until I earned my bachelor’s degree in finance and banking from Kuwait University, gaining high honours. I continued my higher education in the US, getting my MBA from Seattle University and later my PhD degree in corporate finance from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois.

What was your first job? 

I started as a banker at Kuwait National Bank in 1987. I spent two years there then pursued my master’s degree before joining Kuwait University as a professor of finance. 

From 2006, I worked as an advisor for the Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce, working with the market regulator to transfer international best practices to the Kuwaiti market. Two years on, I started to form Kuwait’s first rating agency, Capital Standards, working closely with the market leaders, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) before being asked by the Prime Minister to act as first the Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce in 2010.

How did you get your first board role?

Thanks to my experience in market regulations, I was invited to serve at Burgan Bank in Kuwait in 2009. Then in 2015 I served as a board member at Ithmaar Holding Company (Ithmaar Bank) and IB Capital in Bahrain.

What have you learned from your board roles?

The presence of a woman on the board brought a difference approach in thinking; I am sure that having a woman will always add value to a board and its culture. Boards have given me real-time exposure to the market and added value to me as a professor of finance.  

Do you set yourself goals in life?

Yes, I do. Without proper planning, setting challenging goals on a personal level or in your career, there can be no achievements.

What’s your motto in life? 

I have two. “Work hard in silence. Let success make the noise” and “The best way to predict the future is to predict it.”

How will you be spending your National Day?

Resting, enjoying activities and shows organised by the government.

Read other Gulf women board director interviews:

  • Natasha Hannoun, head of debt at Shuaa Capital and board member of Pure Harvest Smart Farms
  • Sara Nooruddin, head of private investments at Osool Asset Management and board member of Aegila Capital Management, Amanat Holdings and Bahrain’s Royal Hospital for Women and Children
  • Meitha Al Hashemi, ADIB group credit officer and board member at UAE insurance companies Dar Al Takaful and Noor Takaful.

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