* Sager served as Dabdoub's deputy
* Dabdoub transformed NBK, has close ties with Gulf
(Adds background, detail)
KUWAIT Feb 16 National Bank of Kuwait
said on Sunday it had appointed long-serving banker Isam
al-Sager as group chief executive, succeeding Ibrahim Dabdoub,
who is retiring from the post after three decades.
Sager became CEO of the bank's Kuwait business in 2008 and
was promoted to deputy group CEO in 2010. Reuters reported last
month that Sager, who joined NBK more than 30 years ago, was the
frontrunner to succeed Dabdoub.
Dabdoub has close ties with policymakers in Kuwait and
around the Gulf. He transformed NBK from a local lender into one
of the Middle East's biggest financial institutions, making the
choice of his successor pivotal.
"NBK will continue with its current strategy strengthening
its leading position both locally and regionally," the bank said
in a statement following its general assembly.
The head of the bank's Kuwait business, Shaikha al-Bahar,
has replaced Sager as deputy group CEO, it added.
Dabdoub will remain as a consultant to the board of
The choice of Sager will not be a surprise to Kuwait's
banking community; his name had been mentioned privately as
early as 2005 as part of succession plans at the bank, Kuwait's
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Torchia, John