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Gulf women board directors: Meitha Al Hashemi

[Aurora50 template] Meitha Al Hashemi, group chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic bank (ADIB)

Meitha Al Hashemi, a banker with 25 years’ industry experience, is group chief credit officer at Abu Dhabi Islamic bank (ADIB). She was previously the chief risk officer at Emirates Islamic Bank and chief credit officer, group credit, at Emirates NBD.

Ms Al Hashemi is a board director at UAE insurance companies Dar Al Takaful and Noor Takaful, and a member of Manarat, Aurora50’s invite-only club for regional women directors on listed boards.

Where and what did you study?

I took a dual bachelor’s degree at the Webster University in Switzerland, specialising in business administration and computer science.

What was your first job?

My first job was at the National Bank of Dubai (now Emirates NBD) way back in 1996 – I joined as a credit officer. 

How did you get yourself board-ready? 

As a part of my work with Emirates NBD (I took on the role of chief credit officer in 2012), I attended board meetings to present our agenda. I gained enormous confidence from discussing issues with board members and was amazed at their strategic thinking. It made me want to try out what was on the other side.

How did you get your first board role and what was it?

Owing to my curious nature (and that confidence, gained over a period of years), I was nominated to be a board member for Emirates NBD Securities in 2017. While the securities business was new to me, I knew I had to focus on strategic items and chalk out a plan for the entity’s overall success.

What have you learned from your board role(s)?

The biggest learning from being a board member has been that you never let your guard down but always focus on the bigger picture. As a board member, you should not get involved in day-to-day decisions; however, we do need to guide the business and support functions on the way forward.

How will you be spending this very special National Day?

UAE National day – often called the Spirit of the Union – marks the unification of all seven Emirates into one nation. I will take my family out to all the places of significance, which distinguish the UAE from other nations, including museums and heritage sites in Hatta and Al Ain. I want my children to understand the significance of this day and celebrate our union. 

As a part of these celebrations, we will enjoy traditional Emirati cuisine – kabsa (a mixed rice dish similar to biryani), khabees (a sweet breakfast dish), khamir bread and machboos (spiced chicken and rice). Our cuisine is emerging as a source of national pride – it has survived the country’s rapid modernisation and is popular with the Emirati community and expats, with some restaurants and cafes now exclusively serving Emirati food.

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
  • Amani Bouresli, professor of finance at Kuwait University and board member of Bahrain’s Ithmaar Holding and IB Capital Board of Directors and Egypt’s Faisal Islamic Bank

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