Friday, September 2, 2022

New Central Bank of Egypt’s acting governor, old faces in a time of crisis (Part-2 : Amer vs Abdallah)

Appointing Hassan Abdallah as the acting governor of the Central Bank of Egypt “CBE” was by all measures a very interesting one for several reasons. Mostly, it means that to fix or undo what Tarek Amar had done, you must bring one of his old nemeses in his place.

Hassan Abdallah has not wasted any time in undoing what his processor had done already and took a couple of decisions earning the praise of many despite what his decisions so far are of short-term medicine than a long-term solution.

Now, it is time for some juicy summer economic and financial gossip and our post tonight is about Amer vs Abdallah and that fight between them that ended somehow so far in the favor of the latter.

Please pay attention to the names because they are too many in our post. 

They all play the musical chairs game but in the adult real world of finance.

Amer Vs banks chairmen

In March 2016, Amer as the governor of CBE issued a decision to place a-9-years-limit on the tenures of CEOs of commercial banks in Egypt. The CBE said in its statement about the decision that it was taken to “Help to modernize the sector and inject new blood”.

Hassan Abdallah and Tarek Amer
Abdallah on the left and Amer on right

In essence, you would think it was a good decision but during then it was said that Amer wanted to get rid of some former rival Egyptian banks’ CEOs who did not like his policies above them two: Commercial International Bank “CIB”'s Hisham Ezz al-Arab and AAIB’s Hassan Abdallah.

There were 8 CEOs including Abdallah and Ezz al-Arab to be affected by that decision and they would not leave without a fight in front of the courts even if they let others go on their behalf to the court

In June 2019, Cairo’s Administrative court nullified the decision after a lawsuit and during then the CBE decided not to appeal the decision. The veteran CEOs seemed to win that round, but it was not over.

In September 2018, the CBE appointed Abdallah as the first assistant to the CBE governor and a new CEO was appointed for AAIB.

In May 2019, suddenly leaked reports based on anonymous sources surfaced on a couple of websites like Cairo 24 speaking about the real reason for dismissing Abdallah from his position in the AAIB, claiming his involvement in huge financial violations discovered by the CBE’s supervisory body.

If a person is accused of corruption, why would he be given a position like CBE governor’s assistant as a punishment!?

Some said that those reports appeared at the same time Amer, and his wife businesswoman and former Minister of Investment Dalia Khorshid “Spoiler: She appears again” were facing similar accusations on social media.

In August 2019, Hassan Abdallah founded and chaired a private equity firm called Panther Associates which is still active. Interestingly this was not mentioned in the bio distributed about him in the media now.

It is unclear either if he left his position in the CBE as Amer’s assistant to establish this firm or not, but I assume he did.

In October 2019, the CBE dismissed CIB Chairman Hisham Ezz El-Arab over alleged negative practices in the bank which can be described as financial crimes according to its official statement.

Hisham Abdallah and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
Hassan Abdallah and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
in some an undated photo "Twitter" 

The Next day that statement was issued, Ezz El-Arab announced that he stepped down from his position and the CIB’s board appointed another chairman. It is worth mentioning that Hisham Ezz El-Arab has been always tipped to become the governor of the CBE due to his success in the CIB.

Again, social media spoke about how Tarek Amer went after his old enemies and again the name of his wife Dalia Khorshid was back. A rumour spread that Dalia Khorshid was behind Hisham Ezz El-Arab’s dismissal went like fire.

Up till now, there has been no official accusation against Ezz El-Arab and we do not know till now the fate of those investigations of the CBE.

In February 2021, Hisham Ezz El-Arab founded HE Advisory for Financial Consultancy.

The veteran banker was back to the media earlier this summer when he led an environmental campaign against none-other Emirati real estate development giant Emaar exposing how the company destroyed the shore in Sidi Abdel-Rahman because of its Marassi marina project.

Keep the name of Hisham Ezz El-Arab in your mind because he will appear again late.

When Abdallah became Egypt’s, Media King

Hassan Abdallah returned to the media in the biggest way ever as he became its king for short time.

Abdallah became the CEO of Egypt’s United Media Services Group (UMS) in May 2021 replacing Tamer Mursi, the former CEO appointed by Eagle Capital for Financial Investment that owned the group.

Hassan Abdallah
Hassan Abdallah in a UMS presser in May 2021 declared 
plans of launching another Egyptian news TV channel like Al Jazeera

Tamer Mursi was appointed by none other than Eagle Capital for Financial investment‘s CEO and allegedly founder Dalia Khurshid in February 2018. “Mursi is still on the UMS board and its producer star.”

If you remember Eagle Capital For Financial Investments suddenly appeared in 2017 when it acquired Egyptian Media group from businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima and suddenly it faded away in the media.  

That Financial Investments company was founded by Khorshid reportedly according to her Linkedin profile in April 2017 “Two months after leaving the cabinet following her marriage to Amer”.

Khorshid headed the so-called “first fully-fledged Sovereign investment firm” from April 2017 to April 2018 aka one year and one month before suddenly leaving it and founding another “regional financial advisory firm” in May 2018 under the name of MASAR Financial Advisory.

Her Linkedin does not mention though that she co-founded in Mauritius in March 2021 a new consultancy firm called Phoenix Advisors according to Africa Intelligence.

According to the Pitchbook website, Eagle Capital For Financial Investment Co is out of business officially and its official website is down.

The former Minister disappeared somehow in the mainstream media after appointing Tamer Mursi as the Egyptian Media Group or the UMS in 2018 as he became the group’s media official face everywhere.

In those years, the question about the conflict of interest between Khorshid’s career as a businesswoman and her marriage to the governor of the CBE was brought over and over on social media.

On 9 August 2022 aka from two weeks ago, Abu Dhabi investment firm Chimera Investment LLC acquired a controlling stake in Egypt's Beltone Financial Holding appointing Dalia Khorshid as its new CEO. Again, the question of conflict of interest was brought up especially by Amer’s critics in the past few weeks before his dismissal.

Old faces back in the picture

Back to Hassan Abdallah, one of his latest decisions taken as acting CBE governor last week was appointing Hisham Ezz El-Arab and former chairman of SAIB bank Mohamed Naguib as his advisors.

Mohamed Naguib was also among the bank chairmen disliked by Amer explicitly.

It is like another big slap in the former governor’s face.

It is like Abdallah sends a message to Amer but seriously speaking according to bankers, the three men are truly professional and may solve some of the current problems with the banks and companies but again we are speaking about the short-term solutions. 

We got a huge inflation problem, we got a huge import problem amidst a series of global crises and talks with the International Monetary Fund that requires a devaluation of the Egyptian pound along with other terms and conditions. 

I do not know much but the NDP economic policies from its infamous policies committee won't solve anything now. 

Anyhow, I hoped you enjoy that tale of rivalry and the Egyptian business world’s musical chair.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for your comment
Please keep it civilized here, racist and hateful comments are not accepted
The Comments in this blog with exclusion of the blog's owner does not represent the views of the blog's owner.