André Lévy-Lang visits the Gulf region and Dubai branch moves to new premises

In May 1994, Paribas Chief Executive Officer André Lévy-Lang visited the UAE with Claude de Kémoularia. During the trip, which took them to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, the pair met various government and central bank officials as well as representatives of major companies in the region.

In November 1998, the Paribas Chief Executive visited the region to mark the 25th anniversary of the Bank s presence in the Gulf, with celebrations held in Doha. At the event, André Lévy-Lang highlighted the Bank s successes in project financing.

A few days later, the Paribas Chief Executive was in Dubai to open the branch s new premises with H.H. Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director of the Dubai Department of Information.

Reasons for success in the Gulf States

Paribas management grasped very early on the strategic importance that the Gulf countries would assume in global economic flows and quickly identified well before most competing institutions the myriad opportunities for industrial development. The Bank became active in the Gulf States after a series of exploratory and prospecting missions to the region and, convinced that its reputation as both an international financial institution and as an industry-oriented bank would enable it to play a significant role, took the necessary steps to establish and consolidate its presence in the Gulf States.

At a time when other major financial institutions were deciding to participate in consortium banks and after some internal debate about what form the Bank s presence in the region should take, Paribas maintained its determination to set up permanent establishments in the Gulf States, in the form of branches wherever possible.

The numerous visits made by Paribas Presidents and Chief Executives over the years serve to illustrate this consistent, ongoing strategy. However, the key roles played by Hubert de Saint-Amand and Claude de Kémoularia should not be forgotten. Pierre Moussa30 wrote, In the Gulf, we succeeded in establishing the Bank in several strategic locations, before others, thanks to the excellent information provided by Claude de Kémoularia and the outstanding diplomatic skills he possessed. Advisor to Reyre, then Fouchier, then to myself, he went on to become ambassador to The Hague in 1982, and then to the United Nations. Meanwhile, our growing international network was energetically organised and managed by Hubert de Saint-Amand.

30. Excerpt from La Roue de la Fortune (The Wheel of Fortune), by Pierre Moussa, Fayard, 1989, p.170

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