Riyadh: Sheila Al-Rowaily, who worked as a financier with Saudi Aramco, became the first woman in the history of the Kingdom to serve on the board of directors of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz issued his approval to appoint members of the Central Bank’s board of directors who are not government employees, and this included the appointment of five members, including one woman, Sheila Al-Rowaily on Thursday.
Al Rowaily is one of a growing number of women who hold leadership positions in the field of finance in the Gulf region.
Al Rowaily was born in 1966 and obtained a BA in Interior Architecture in 1987 from King Faisal University, then a MA in Financial Management from the American University of Beirut in 1997, and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States in 2018.
Sheila Al Rowaily, during her 22-year work in Saudi Aramco, led many projects, and also participated as the team leader of the establishment of a trusteeship company, a global investment management company responsible for investing in Saudi Aramco’s pension funds, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
She is currently the CEO of Guardianship International Investment Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.
Sheila has excelled in diversity and inclusion activities in the energy industry and is a member of Saudi Aramco’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, where she helps shape company policies and supports more women in leadership roles.
In April 2021, Al Rowaily was named to Heart Energy’s 2021 list of the 25 Most Influential Women in Energy.
The kingdom has eased many of its restrictions on women, which is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to get more Saudis to work in the private sector. Over the past few years, the authorities have lifted the ban on women driving and allowed them to travel without the permission of a male guardian.
Other women in leadership positions
- Sarah Al-Suhaimi is chair of Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange
- Reema bint Bandar is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US
- Leila bint Hamad Al-Kassem is the first woman appointed as undersecretary for planning and digital transformation by the Saudi Islamic minister
- Lubna Olayan is chair of the Saudi British Bank
- Rania Nashar is a former CEO of the Samba Financial Group
- Nora bint Abdullah Al-Fayez is the first Saudi female vice-minister at the Ministry of Education
- Ether Al-Daej is the first Saudi woman appointed as a member of the Saudi Bar Association (SBA) board of directors