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Ahlibank to focus on infrastructure, SME financing: CEO

Published: 06/03/2013 05:26:30 PM GMT
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We have played a major role in financing Qatar's infrastructure development in the previous years; we will continue to do that, Murad said in an (more)

"We have played a major role in financing Qatar's infrastructure development in the previous years; we will continue to do that," Murad said in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha last night.

He said, "We follow the direction of business ... Qatar is on the right track, developing infrastructure and attaining sustainable development. We will follow that. For us infrastructure financing is the main area of focus at the moment," Murad said.

As Ahlibank is going through a new phase of development, Murad said: "It is imperative that we have clear strategy, new organisational structure, promote talent, and most importantly, go for sustainable execution of best quality service. This will be the broad line of our strategy implementation in the coming years."

Murad said Ahlibank remains committed to the Qatar market. "This is our home market ... but we have an eye for outside (international expansion). But that will only be taken up later. Right now, we are focused on Qatar," the Ahlibank CEO said.

He said Ahlibank plans to "refocus" its division that caters to the needs of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. "SMEs are a very important segment. Our government looks at small and medium enterprises as an important tool in further developing national economy. We want to play a role in promoting our SMEs," Murad said.

On Qatar Foundation becoming Ahlibank's strategic partner, Murad said, it is a "valuable gain".

"We look forward to closely working with Qatar Foundation ," the Ahlibank CEO said.

Qatar Foundation would have a representation on Ahlibank's board of directors, he said.

A veteran banker, Murad returned as Ahlibank CEO recently. Murad has about 30 years of commercial banking experience in the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council), including three years as the CEO of Ahlibank in Qatar, "achieving historical record core earnings" for the bank, while ensuring "strong corporate governance and high asset quality."

Murad holds an MBA from Strathclyde University, UK.

Ahlibank shareholders were informed about Murad's appointment as CEO at the bank's ordinary general assembly yesterday.

Welcoming Murad, Ahlibank chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Jassem al-Thani said, "Murad was at the helm of our leadership for three years during which the bank witnessed remarkable growth and achieved significant results. We wish him all success in his new position."

Founded in 1983, Ahlibank is one of Qatar's leading retail banks, delivering an array of products and services within its business platforms: commercial, retail, treasury and investments, and wealth management services, through its network and its 17 branches.

© Gulf Times 2013

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