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SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

Fahad Mubarak Al Guthami

CEO, American Express Saudi Arabia

Bio

Fahad Mubarak Al Guthami, CEO of American Express Saudi Arabia, has been tasked with spearheading the company’s strategic growth initiatives in the Saudi Arabian market. Having previously served as COO of the company, he has an extensive career spanning 16 years at American Express Saudi Arabia. Prior to his tenure at American Express, he held senior executive positions, including CEO roles in various Saudi Arabian businesses, and also served as an Executive Advisor to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With his board membership in multiple companies listed on the Saudi stock market, his openness to growth and transformation promises to be a valuable asset in shaping and expanding American Express’s footprint in Saudi Arabia in light of the transformational initiatives the Kingdom is witnessing.

"As a result of recent economic and social reforms in the Kingdom, the financial services industry is thriving, particularly in the area of digital payments."
TBY talks to Fahad Mubarak Al Guthami, CEO of American Express Saudi Arabia, about market potential, digitalization, and goals for the coming year.
In light of the global operations of the company, how would you assess the importance and the potential of KSA for American Express?

As a result of recent economic and social reforms in the Kingdom, the financial services industry is thriving, particularly in the area of digital payments. Within this context, American Express Saudi Arabia is a well-established case study of a global company with a local footprint. With all this in mind, we will continue to cement and expand both our operations and our brand reputation in Saudi Arabia. Our aim is to provide maximum value to consumers and companies.

You were appointed CEO in October 2022. What is your strategy and main objectives?

My strategy is to provide exceptional services that benefit our valued Cardmembers. Our priority is to increase the number of locations at which our Cardmembers can use their American Express Cards. Since 2022, we have been successful in signing agreements with some of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia such as Riyad Bank, Al Jazira Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi National Bank (SNB), and Bank Albilad. We are fully committed to creating and strengthening valuable agreements with prominent financial institutions every day. At American Express Saudi Arabia, we also strive to contribute to the overall growth and aspirations of the constantly changing market-demand. In addition to increasing the number of places that accept American Express, our top priorities are to enhance our digital capabilities and the value of our products and services. We are motivated to provide world-class customer service to be the top choice for consumers and companies. Our recent revamp of the all-in-one smart app also reflects our commitment to providing seamless and cutting-edge technological solutions. The app, which offers comprehensive services and the best possible user experience, is just one of many digital innovations that American Express Saudi Arabia is bringing to the market.

What challenges do you face when expanding your operations?

Operational challenges are something we anticipate and plan for accordingly. Our current priority is to attract and retain top talent within our organization. With the job market growing at a rapid pace, we understand that the competition for skilled individuals is fierce. To succeed, we must stay attuned to the market and remain focused on our goals.

Where do you see opportunities for growth?

As a forward-thinking and market-aware company, we create our own growth opportunities by continuously innovating and improving our products, services, and customer experiences to meet their evolving expectations and needs. We are committed to staying ahead of the curve by engaging in extensive research and development efforts, collaborating with banks, fintech companies, and sandboxes to optimize our services and retain our competitive edge in the market.
We embrace the exciting addition of fintech to the market, viewing it as an opportunity to both learn and contribute to the industry. We continue to provide business payment solutions to corporate and SME sectors in Saudi Arabia and are committed to deliver exceptional products and services that exceed expectations and drive growth.

What are your main priorities in your 2023/24 agenda?

From a strategic CEO perspective, my primary objective is to grow the number of locations that accept American Express payments – for example through agreements with banks and other financial institutions. We are also thrilled to offer our new Plan It service, providing convenient equal monthly installment options to our Cardmembers. At the same time, we are committed to elevating our loyalty programs and enhancing our overall public engagement across all consumer segments to better serve our valued Cardmembers. These multifaceted efforts are what will make American Express Saudi Arabia the Kingdom’s go-to resource for personal and corporate financial solutions.

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