“Do for this life as if you’ll live forever, do for the afterlife as if you’ll die tomorrow”
This was the principle adopted by prominent Saudi businessman, Khalid Bin Mahfouz, the former director of the National Commercial Bank [NCB] who passed away on Sunday after suffering a fatal heart attack.
Abdul Hadi Shayef, the Director General of the National Commercial Bank who worked with Khalid Bin Mahfouz for more than 25 years told Asharq Al-Awsat that Mahfouz ” was a sharply intelligent and quick-witted financier, especially since he understood when to seize an opportunity, not to mention his encouragement of the [Saudi] youth to take leadership positions in the bank, as well as his eagerness to raise confidence in the youth, and aid in their advancement and development.”
Khalid Bin Mahfouz was one of the most prominent businessmen and banking figures in Saudi Arabia. In 2008 he was ranked 24 in a list of the 50 richest Arabs in the world [Arabian Business Magazine] with an estimated fortune of 3.2 billion dollars. This was down three places from his rank the previous year where his wealth was estimated at 3.35 billion dollars.
Shayef also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the expansion and the rapid growth seen in the National Commercial Bank’s operations throughout Saudi Arabia, as well as its expansion in the international field, was one of the most prominent achievements made by Khalid Bin Mahfouz.
Shayef added that Mahfouz was able to introduce new [financial] services across all of Saudi Arabia, including investment funds and [the establishment of] the financial corporate sector bank. Shayef also pointed out that Mahfouz began his career in banking and was involved in this industry for almost 35 years during which he had a staff of more than 5,000 employees.
On the humanitarian level, Shayef revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Khalid Bin Mahfouz was an extremely generous man who did not regret any of his charitable actions. Shayef said that Mahfouz gave generously to the poor and the sick in a humble and modest manner without promoting this publicly.
Shayef said that Mahfouz was involved in many charitable projects in which he helped organizations, families and individuals, and that he also financed mosques and hospitals.
Khalid Bin Mahfouz began his career at the National Commercial Bank whilst he was still a student. He received his primary and secondary education at the Al Falah School in Jeddah, and during his school holidays he would accompany his father, Salim Bin Mahfouz, to the bank. Salim Bin Mahfouz was one of the founders of the National Commercial Bank.
Farouk Eid, who was Director of Public Relations for the National Commercial Bank for 11 years, recalls Salim Bin Mahfouz introducing his sons to the bank at an early age. Eid recalls that Khalid Bin Mahfouz started working with the cashiers and money-counters, and as a result of this would become familiar with all aspects of the banking industry.
Eid informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Mahfouz learnt to deal with customers from his father who would send his son to deal with clients throughout Jeddah, something which helped Mahfouz to progress in the banking business. Eid also revealed that Mahfouz particularly enjoyed working in the so-called field of external financing, such as dealing with [financial] transfers and appropriations.
Eid also revealed that the National Commercial Bank was one of the first banks to establish the stock exchange, as well as establishing the first high level financial trading house. The National Commercial Bank also won the 1984 government sponsored prize for the best designed building, and is also involved in a number of special projects including [helping to establish] the Specialist Medical Centre of the Al Salama hospital.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz took over running of the National Commercial Bank after his father fell ill, although Salim Bin Mahfouz remained in his position of General Manger despite not being in charge of day-to-day operations. Salim Bin Mahfouz passed away in 1994.
In 1997 Khalid Bin Mahfouz sold approximately 20.7 percent of his stake in the bank to Saudi investors for 1.8 billion dollars in order to facilitate the transition of the bank to a joint stock company. In 1999 Mahfouz sold approximately 50 percent of the family’s holding to the Saudi Public Ownership Fund, and in late 2002, Mahfouz sold the family’s remaining stake to this same Fund.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz is generally recognized as being one of the most important and influential figures in the Saudi Arabian Banking industry. He is survived by his wife Na’elah Kaaki, and his three children, Abdulrahman, Sultan, and Eman.