KUWAIT, March 10 The new chief executive of
National Bank of Kuwait has endorsed its strategies of
regional expansion and developing an Islamic finance business in
his first public comments since he took over at the country's
Isam al-Sager took over as CEO on Sunday from Ibrahim
Dabdoub, who ran NBK for three decades and helped transform it
from a local lender into the Gulf's fifth largest bank by
"Our regional and international strategy remains on track,"
Sager said in a statement after a general assembly meeting at
"We are focusing our efforts on (Gulf Cooperation Council)
countries to leverage NBK's strong franchise there and to
benefit from the strong economic outlook and the growth
He also singled out NBK's Islamic banking business as having
helped to boost profits.
"Our expansion into Islamic banking through the acquisition
of 58.4 percent of Boubyan Bank continues to pay off
as Boubyan's contribution to the group's profitability and
balance sheet increases over time," he said.
As the new CEO of the bank, Sager will face a slow home
market, the bank's largest, and competition from dynamic Gulf
rivals. Sager, who was long considered a CEO in-waiting, had
served as Dabdoub's deputy since 2010 and has worked at the bank
for more than 30 years.
NBK's vice chairman Nasser al-Sayer said Kuwait's domestic
operating environment was improving.
"We have started witnessing some acceleration in the
tendering, award and execution of some of the large projects as
the government proves determined to advance the execution of the
development plan," he said.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Torchia)