and Mohamed Bakkal were appointed Country Head and Chief Operating Officer (COO), respectively, of the Group s Saudi operations. The BNP Paribas Riyadh branch was officially inaugurated in Faisaliah Tower in 2005, in a ceremony that testified to the significance the Group and the Kingdom s authorities attached to the new venture. BNP Paribas Chief Executive Officer, Baudouin Prot attended the event alongside SAMA Governor H.E. Mr Hamad Al-Sayari, with SAMA Vice-Governor H.E. Dr. Mohamed Al-Jasser and Prot jointly performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new BNP Paribas branch in Kuwait was set up and quickly began working on opportunities. In fact, the Group s first transaction took place just days after BNP Paribas official listing in the Register of Banks.

In October 2005, BNP Paribas Kuwait moved into its new premises in the Dar Al-Awadi Complex. A few months later in the spring of 2006, Michel Pébereau visited Kuwait and officially opened the Bank s new home, unveiling a commemoration plaque to mark the first anniversary of operations.

High-level relations in 2005 and 2006

During an official visit to France in June 2005, H.R.H. Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and his delegation visited the BNP Paribas headquarters in Paris. The Crown Prince met Baudouin Prot, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Group, and several members of the Bank s senior management.

In September 2005, Kuwait Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah travelled to Paris. During the visit, he was welcomed at BNP Paribas headquarters by Chairman Michel Pébereau and Chief Executive Baudouin Prot.

In March 2006, BNP Paribas Chairman, Michel Pébereau accompanied French President, Jacques Chirac on an official state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Pébereau met the Bank s major clients and prospects. On 4 April 2006, Pébereau met H.H. Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, and H.H. Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of Kuwait. During his trip, he also met with Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar H.R.H. Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and met several members of the government.

In November 2006, Kuwait Emir H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah flew to Paris on an official visit and met with Michel Pébereau.

The Middle East and Africa Forum

Each year BNP Paribas holds a Middle East and Africa Forum, bringing together executives from across the world to discuss the Bank s strategy in the region and how to better serve clients.

The meetings began in 2000, as a modest territory meeting bringing together around 40 managers from across the Gulf, but have since developed into one of the Bank s biggest senior offsite meetings in the region, with over 125 people in attendance. The expansion of what is now called The Middle East and Africa Forum reflects BNP Paribas expansion in the Gulf, and more recently in Africa, as well as the increasing strategic importance of the region.

Since the first annual meeting, participation has been progressively widened to senior executives from the Bank s Paris headquarters and from Europe, Asia and the Americas, in recognition of the growing interconnection between the Bank s clients across the world and their increasing geographical reach and ambition. The forum also spans the Bank s main businesses, involving leaders of Corporate & Investment Banking, International Retail Banking and Investment Solutions, in order to encourage a holistic approach to enhancing the Bank s services.

Each year, the forum has a different theme, chosen to address the changing needs of the Bank s clients and the external environment.

Attendance at the forum has often provided an ideal opportunity for senior BNP Paribas executives to meet with key clients and government stakeholders in the region.

2013 MEA FORUM, BAHRAIN, APRIL 2013

76 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