covering the Gulf countries, which had individual presences a branch in each of Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, he said. Each entity was independent in its business and support functions and each of the three BNP Paribas divisions i.e. Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB), Investment Solutions (IS) and Retail Banking (RB) (at the time called IRB International Retail Banking) was represented. One of the recommendations of a study conducted on the region by the Boston Consulting Group a year earlier, and reinforced by inspection, was to create a hub for the region with Bahrain as its main centre.

My appointment as regional COO was a result of the joint efforts of the different divisions, with the clear objective of implementing this strategy i.e. creating a regional hub with a limited branch network in other countries, CIB as an offshore unit, IS as a representative office located in Bahrain from both a geographical and regulatory point of view, while the branches remained with retail banking activities.

BNP Paribas named Best International Bank in the Gulf States for 2001

Early in 2002, BNP Paribas was honoured by Euromoney magazine as the 2001 Best International Bank in the Gulf States for its contribution to the Gulf region s financial industry.

The award was presented to Jacques Desponts, Head of International Trade, and Jean- Christophe Durand at the Gulf Investment Forum annual conference, which was hosted by the Ministry of Finance of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The conference took place in the Kingdom of Bahrain on 9 and 10 April, and the award recognised the BNP Paribas Gulf team s efforts, with a special mention for the role the Bank had played in Arab currency trading, project and export financing, and commercial banking services.

BNP PARIBAS AWARDED BEST INTERNATIONAL BANK IN THE GULF

FOR 2001 BY EUROMONEY MAGAZINE

H.E. ABDULLA HASSAN SAIF, MINISTER OF FINANCE AND NATIONAL

ECONOMY OF THE KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN,

H.E. SHEIKH AHMAD BIN MOHAMED AL KHALIFA, GOVERNOR

OF THE BAHRAIN MONETARY AGENCY AND

JACQUES DESPONTS, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE, BNP PARIBAS

71B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S A N D I T S C O N T R I B U T I O N T O T H E E C O N O M Y O F T H E R E G I O N