Unicorn CEO leaves bank
Manama, August 2, 2010
The chief executive of Bahrain's Unicorn Investment Bank, Majid Al-Refai, has left the bank, reports said.
A Unicorn statement said Al Refai has been replaced with immediate effect by Ikbal Daredia as interim CEO of the bank.
Daredia is the global head of the bank’s capital markets, institutional banking and treasury areas and brings over 20 years of experience of Islamic finance, having held key positions with major market leaders over the formative years of the Islamic financial services industry, it said. Daredia was previously deputy CEO of Noriba, UBS’s former global Islamic product platform.
Unicorn was founded in 2004 and had assets of $974 million at the end of March.
Under Al-Refai, it has sought to become an international Islamic financial services group with a presence in the United States, Malaysia and Turkey.
A Reuters report, quoting sources, said Al Refai had to leave after the board demanded more focus on Saudi Arabia. "There's been a conflict with the board," a source familiar with Unicorn said.
The source said that the board wants the company to focus on Saudi Arabia, where board members of the Al-Shelash family also own stakes in Dar Al-Arkan, the country's largest real estate developer.
A Bahrain-based banker said there had also been disagreements over some investments.
Al-Refai is a key figure in Islamic banking in Bahrain where he was a founder of Islamic investment house Arcapita before founding Unicorn.
- TradeArabia News Service and Reuters