British Arab Commercial Bank makes key leadership appointments
British Arab Commercial Bank (BACB), the international wholesale bank dedicated to specialist markets, has announced a series of key appointments that strengthen the Bank’s leadership, enhance its risk strategy framework and focus on growing trade finance flows in key North African markets and re-positioning its UK Real Estate business. These key appointments follow the appointment of CEO Eddie Norton in October 2020.
Stephen Bell has been appointed as managing director and chief risk officer. Recently serving as chief executive and chair of Investment Committee for a private-equity backed real estate lender, Stephen has held a variety of executive and board roles with a focus on risk, strategy, transformation and restructuring. Former employers include Wellesley Group, Ulster Bank Group, Allied Irish Banks, Barclays, and General Electric and he is a serving independent non-executive director on the Board of Homes England. A consummate business leader with deep knowledge across the financial services sector, Bell will focus on the enterprise-wide risk and opportunity landscape, and is committed to the highest standards across the full range of specialist markets that BACB serves.
Sami Al-Sharif, an experienced banker with significant Libyan expertise, returns to BACB as deputy chief executive officer. A qualified accountant and established banking professional, Al-Sharif joins from Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) – BACB’s majority shareholder – where he has held several senior roles, including deputy head of operations and, most recently, Head of risk (CRO). Having previously spent seven years at BACB, Al-Sharif has wide-ranging experience in trade finance, treasury services and risk management. As deputy CEO, Al-Sharif will initially be working closely with CEO Eddie Norton to drive business development in North Africa, with a particular focus on Libya as the political and economic situation in the country continues to improve.
BACB can confirm that Michael Rolfe will be the Bank’s new head of trade finance. Rolfe assumes the role in addition to his existing responsibilities at BACB, and has been promoted to managing director reporting directly to CEO Eddie Norton. Rolfe will focus on the Bank’s core trade finance competencies, using his extensive expertise and leadership skills to ensure the continued delivery of excellent tailored trade finance solutions for clients operating in specialist markets.
Richard Burrows will take up the role of head of real estate in addition to his existing role as treasurer. Burrows joined BACB in 2019, having previously held senior positions at the Bank of China, the Co-operative Bank, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Citigroup. He continues to hold a non-executive directorship at UK Mortgages Limited. After overseeing the strategic review of the real estate business during the first half of 2021, BACB are delighted that the department will continue to benefit from Burrows’ leadership and expertise.
“As BACB moves towards its next phase of safe, sustainable growth, it is vital that we maintain a sharp focus on strengthening our risk strategy and framework and our core trade finance offering for the markets that we serve,” comments CEO Eddie Norton. “Stephen and Sami bring deep knowledge of our specialist markets as well as a wide range of expertise, and we are delighted to welcome them to the Bank. Our leadership team is further strengthened by Richard’s appointment as head of real estate/ treasurer and Michael’s appointment as head of trade finance, whose knowledge and leadership skills will help us to continue to deliver excellent service to our real estate and trade finance clients. I am confident that the skills, experience and unique perspectives of Stephen, Sami, Michael and Richard will prove invaluable to the senior leadership team.”
Based in London and regulated in the UK, BACB prides itself on a proven track record of excellence. The Bank’s strong relationship-banking approach and deep product and region expertise make it the partner of choice in financing trade flows to and from Africa and the Middle East.