1968 Claude de Kémoularia, advisor on international affairs to the President and the Chief Executive Officer of Paribas, visits Kuwait with a senior executive of the Bank, Michel François-Poncet,40 in order to properly assess the potential for Paribas to develop a business in the country; French embassy-level representation in Kuwait is also established.

Philippe Drillet, manager at DACRE, visits Kuwait and meets with financial and investment institutions.

1969 Kuwaiti delegation visits France on an official state visit, led by the Crown Prince, and Prime Minister, H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

1973 BNP participates in the establishment of the Compagnie arabe et internationale d investissements (CAII) alongside 25 other banks and financial institutions. The CAII was a financial holding company based in Luxembourg, which set up the Banque arabe et internationale d investissements (International and Arab Investment Bank), in which half the capital was held by Arab concerns.

1980 BNP acquires a 22 percent share in the Arab European Financial Management Company (AREF), a financial company based in Kuwait, to facilitate the provision of financing to its clients in the region.

1985 BNP President, René Thomas, travels to Kuwait and meets the directors and partners of AREF, in which BNP held a significant stake.

2000 Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Paribas) merge to form BNP Paribas.

2004 BNP Paribas receives the country s first-ever license granted to a foreign bank from the Kuwaiti Council of Ministers on 9 August 2004; this is soon followed by the launch of the second IP office in Kuwait City, again staffed by local professionals.

2005 BNP Paribas opens a branch in Kuwait City s Dar Al-Awadi Complex. The Kuwaiti Prime Minister, H.H. Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber

Al-Sabah, visits Paris as the head of a large Kuwaiti delegation comprising several ministers, the President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and several leading figures from the business world. During the visit, he is welcomed at BNP Paribas headquarters by Chairman, Michel Pébereau, and Chief Executive, Baudouin Prot.

2006 Michel Pébereau visits Kuwait and officially opens the Bank s new premises, unveiling a commemoration plaque to mark the first anniversary of operations.

The Emir, H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, flies to Paris on an official visit, marking the Emir s first official visit to Europe since his reign began in 2006. He is welcomed at headquarters by Michel Pébereau, who reiterates how proud BNP Paribas is to have been chosen as the first foreign bank authorised to set up in Kuwait.

40. Michel François-Poncet was then a senior executive at the Bank. In 1986 he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the holding company Compagnie financière de Paris et des Pays-Bas.

148 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S