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Exclusive: Despite uncertainties, “the future is bright”

Dr. Adnan Chilwan was awarded as one of the Top 10 CEOs in the Shariah-Compliant Banks and Financial Services category at the Top CEO Conference and Awards.

The GCC has become an attractive hub for international talent, sharing ideas, and producing leaders "DIB will continue embracing the latest technological innovations," DIB Group CEO Dr. Adnan Chilwan said The UAE government "continues to invest in the educational and professional development of its residents"

"At the Dubai Islamic Bank, we implement technologies and digital solutions to enhance our customers’ experiences. This is achieved through delivering convenient, fast and pleasant banking services as part of our client-centric approach," said group chief executive Dr. Adnan Chilwan, who has been awarded among the Top 10 CEOs in the Shariah-Compliant Banks and Financial Services category at the fifth edition of the Top CEO Conference and Awards held in Bahrain on April 11.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, the Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), has made it to the Top 10 from a group of 600+ companies listed on the GCC stock exchanges. The list, compiled by INSEAD Business School and Dubai-based Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, was recently released by Mediaquest Corp after being audited by global accounting firm KPMG.

"DIB will continue embracing the latest technological innovations, as we believe in their ability to complement our growth strategy, increase efficiencies in our operations, diversify revenue streams, and strengthen our agility in the market. As we integrate disruptive technologies into our operations, DIB will continue to maintain a business model flexible enough to create value within the Islamic financial space," Dr. Adnan Chilwan said.

Strong, optimistic leadership

While digital transformation revolutionizes the banking sectors' operations and landscapes and beckons the banking industry out of its comfort zone, Dr. Adnan Chilwan is among those who commend the numerous opportunities that "change" presents.  

"Despite global volatility and economic and political uncertainties, I have always believed the future is bright in this part of the world, due to regional markets’ agile nature and ability to adapt to change. The GCC, in my opinion, has become an attractive hub for international talent, which has enabled the sharing of ideas and perspectives between expats and locals and subsequently produced leaders and business-minded individuals who understand the need of diverse markets and publics. Specifically, in the UAE, the government continues to invest in the educational and professional development of its residents in many ways, and its economy continues to shine in the Middle East and significantly contributes to its image as a leader in the region," Dr. Adnan Chilwan said.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan's secret to success is born from a belief to succeed in the face of challenges and to stay humble in the face of success, key lifelong lessons that he attributes gratefully to his parents. His approachable nature and his ability to translate those lifelong lessons at a personal, as well as at a professional level make him a charismatic leader. His banking and financial acumen, collaborative skills, and the ability to spot a range of possibilities where others see a hurdle helps him stand out. 

"Today, markets are faced with a connected reality, where economies all over the world share opportunities, solutions, and embrace exciting new scenarios. The flow of communications between different cultures and economies has allowed for the significant exchange of ideas and has also contributed to the increasingly competitive nature of the banking sector. For DIB, a globalized and connected economy is just what we need to educate other markets on the advantages, products, and services of Islamic Finance and Shariah-compliant banking. This consequently feeds into DIB’s core mission and my ever-growing passion, which is to make Islamic Finance the norm," Dr. Adnan Chilwan said.

When asked about his message to young Arabs aspiring to be business leaders, Dr. Adnan Chilwan said, "My message for young and ambitious Arabs is to maintain a dedicated and committed mindset, with a strong drive towards fulfilling their passion. I always encourage all of my colleagues to persevere and maintain a positive attitude, especially in the face of tough challenges. Although the job market is becoming increasingly competitive with global mobility and digital transformation, ambitious Arabs should persevere and actively look for opportunities that keep them curious, motivated, and constantly challenges them to fulfill their potential."