8 Fintech Personalities Selected Among Top 100 Most Powerful People in Dubai22. February 2023
Arabian Business, a weekly business magazine published in Dubai and focusing on global and regional news analysis, has released its ranking of top 100 most powerful people in the emirate, recognizing these personalities for being the most inspirational and influential figures among Dubai’s elite.
Of the 100 people who made it into the ranking, eight are fintech, crypto and banking leaders. These personalities are fintech experts and digital innovators who have led successful digital finance projects.
Arif Amiri, CEO, DIFC Authority
Arif Amiri is the CEO of DIFC Authority, the agency responsible for overseeing the strategic development, operational management and planning of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), where he is in charge of setting the strategy and growth direction of the authority.
Amiri’s vision for DIFC builds on the UAE’s commitment to innovation and economic diversification. Since taking office as the CEO in 2014, he has been delivering on this vision by spearheading DIFC’s drive to advance the innovation agenda and accelerate digital transformation across the entire financial ecosystem. He focuses on ensuring DIFC remains at the forefront of delivering new opportunities for economic growth.
Under his leadership, DIFC has emerged as a powerful catalyst for the financial services sector, as well as the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
In 2022, Forbes named Amiri as one of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East, recognizing how he is shaping the finance industry and the growing contribution it makes to Dubai’s economy.
Alex Reinhardt, Serial Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Expert in Crypto
Alex Reinhardt is a successful businessman, venture capitalist (VC), economist, expert in the field of cryptocurrency technologies and startup development, as well as a business coach from Germany. Over the past few years, he has held more than 100 coaching seminars, which were attended by about half a million people.
Reinhardt’s hands-on experience in the startup and venture capital industry spans over 15 years. During the past five years, he has built several businesses with a turnover in the tens of millions of dollars, and has developed an international community that is over a quarter million people strong.
Today, Reinhardt has more than 20 successful business projects under his belt, including his own crowdfunding platform and marketplace.
In 2020, the American business publication Entrepreneur named Reinhardt as one of the ten most influential people in the crypto industry in the world.
Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East, Standard Chartered
Sunil Kaushal is the CEO of Standard Chartered Africa and Middle East (AME), and a member of Standard Chartered’s global management team, the highest executive body within the bank.
Kaushal has led the acceleration of Standard Chartered’s digital transformation in the AME region, with the launch of digital banks across nine key markets across Africa. The bank also digitized its wealth management offering and has grown accounts by around 700,000.
The successful establishment of these digital banks through Kaushal’s leadership has served as a testament to the bank’s growing digital footprint in the region and presence as a leader in digital banking technologies.
Prior to his position as the region CEO of Standard Chartered AME, Kaushal was the regional CEO of Standard Chartered South Asia and CEO India. He has been with the group for nearly 24 years and has approximately 34 years of banking experience in diverse markets across North Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and MENA. He has held senior roles across wholesale, retail, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking and country management within the group.
In 2018 and 2019, Kaushal was named the Banking CEO of the Year by EMEA Finance and CEO Middle East magazine, respectively, and was also featured amongst Forbes’ top leaders and executives in the Middle East and India in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Khalid Elgibali, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard
Khalid Elgibali is the president of the MENA division at Mastercard. Based in Dubai, he is responsible for leading the company’s dynamic MENA business, including driving growth and innovation to meet market-specific needs, form new partnerships and deliver on Mastercard’s continued commitment to invest in the region.
Since joining Mastercard in 2016, Elgibali has helped reinforce the company’s position as a technology leader and trusted payments advisor to regional governments, enabling the successful execution of national-level programs that support their digital agendas and long-term visions. Furthermore, he spearheaded Mastercard’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in MENA, as the company supported governments, businesses, SMEs and consumers in combatting the impact of the pandemic through the power of digital commerce.
Elgibali has held several senior positions at leading financial institutions including HSBC Middle East, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays and Citigroup, and brings a wealth of experience to the role alongside a deep understanding of the region’s economic landscape.
Alex Alexandrov, Founder and CIO, Velas
Oleksandr Aleksandrov (Alex Alexandrov) is the founder and CIO of Velas, an Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) blockchain and open source platform for decentralized projects and applications.
On top of Velas, Alexandrov is the CEO at CoinPayments, the largest altcoin payment processor that has expanded tenfold per year, with over three million total users, accepting over 2,000 different kinds of cryptocurrencies and used by over 70,000 merchants worldwide.
Alexandrov is also a board member of Blockchain Society Canada, a company advisor and a public speaker.
Richard Teng, Regional Head of Europe and MENA, Binance
Richard Teng is the regional head of Europe and MENA of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange in the world by trading volume.
Prior to joining Binance, Teng was the CEO of Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). At FSRA, Teng played a pivotal role in enabling ADGM to gain international recognition by global regulators and industry bodies. Under his leadership, ADGM grew from being a newly established financial center to having nearly 2,700 registered licenses in issue and more than 150 approved financial institutions in less than five years.
Prior to joining ADGM, Teng was the chief regulatory officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX). He led the regulation group responsible for policy, framework and rule formulation in the areas of listing, trading and clearing as well as regulatory solutioning for new products and services.
Before joining SGX, Teng spent 13 years with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), where he rose to become the director of corporate finance.
Ola Doudin, Co-Founder and CEO, BitOasis
Ola Doudin is the co-founder and CEO of BitOasis, the first and largest digital asset platform in the Middle East. Established in 2015, BitOasis operates from the UAE and aims its services at individuals, professional traders and investors across the region and internationally.
Doudin has an engineering background and has worked in tech consulting in a “Big 4” firm in London and engineering research prior to her move back to the region where she got involved in tech entrepreneurship and later started BitOasis.
Most recently, Forbes Middle East featured Doudin among the top women behind Middle Eastern tech brands in 2021 and 2022. She was selected as a Young Global Leader 2022, an initiative by the World Economic Forum.
Ahmed Abdelaal, Group CEO, Mashreq Bank
Ahmed Abdelaal is the group CEO of Mashreq Bank, the oldest privately owned bank in the UAE and one of the oldest banking institutions in the Middle East.
Under his leadership, Mashreq has launched several industry firsts, including Neo NXT, the first smart teen banking proposition targeting generation Z consumers, and the first phase of Neo NRI, the first non-resident account opening enabled from a UAE banking app. He was also involved in the launch of buy now, pay later (BNPL) service provider Cashew in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the region’s first investment of its kind from a traditional bank in a fintech company.
Abdelaal is a banking professional with over 25 years of experience in senior roles across banking verticals spanning across international and regional banks. He has extensive experience across banking products, covering wide range of disciplines and incorporating hands on knowledge of solutions in the areas of corporate and banking, investment banking, Islamic banking and portfolio management in addition to full familiarity with global markets products, structured trade and working capital solutions.