When did you first go to Commercial Bank with your father?
My God, that was a long, long time ago!
How does it make you feel to be part of something your father started?
I am very proud. I like what Hussain Alfardan says: ‘We are just pearls in his necklace …and you need a lot of pearls in your necklace to have something really, really good.’ Alhamdulillah, many of the families’ sons are coming onto the board, and some of the older members are still on the board. It was a struggle for them to start the Bank; it was a lot of hardship.
Now, it’s a successful story, but this is the nature of humanity. The most successful people are the people who try and fail, and try more and fail, and try even more. My father always cherished Commercial Bank, and we want to see, as a family, that my father’s ambitions continue and flourish even more.
What do you do apart from banking?
My family has been in real estate and shareholding. We have commercial properties in and outside of Doha. I am a civil engineer, of course, with a degree from Washington State.
What a contrast to go from dry Qatar to rainy Seattle …
Wait, wait, wait! My story has even more spices in it! When I came back to Qatar, I joined the Department of Water. It was a good start for me to be part of that organisation. You have all sorts of people every morning coming to your door. I was Assistant Director of the Ministry of Electricity and Water, so I was part of the technical committee that checks for new contracts for power or substations. I went from the Ministry to Communications. Then I was twice Chairman of Gulf Air. I had a chance to be part of the people who started up Qatar Airways. I’ve been everywhere!
To what do you attribute your success and that of the Bank?
Life teaches you how to deal with people, how to get the best out of others – maybe I am good at this – how to work as a team member. I’ve done none of these things on my own.
Has the Bank reflected that same collegiate atmosphere?
It is the same, it is the same.