Marwan Kheireddine, Ivy League alumnus, leader of several successful organizations, and respected politician loves his country. That much is clear.
He is also someone who deeply understands that hard work can pay off. After an educational career that took him to the United States by way of Columbia Business School, he made it his mission to empower the youth, to embrace startups and to help enable innovation wherever possible. It’s clear in his activities in the financial sector and in politics, where he was involved in representing the government of Lebanon along with the prime minister, the minister of finance and the minister of economy on updating the anti-money laundering (AML) law.
He’s already done so much to benefit everyone with whom he’s come into contact — and he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
From the moment his career began, Marwan Kheireddine knew that he was going to make an impact wherever he went. Even he would have to admit that some of those accomplishments took a form that he couldn’t have predicted at the time.
Before he became the chairman and CEO of AM Bank, he acted in the position of its General Manager. AM Bank is a family owned and operated leader in retail banking, operating in Lebanon. Under his guidance, the organization grew significantly from a value of approximately $30 million in 1992 to around $2.3 billion, where it sits today.
“The accomplishment that I’m most proud of is being able, over the past 30 years, to create a culture where performance is what matters and where productivity is what matters, as opposed to company politics,” he said. “We’re most probably the only bank in the Middle East where the least-senior employee is only one layer away from the CEO.”
He spoke of the importance of this flat organizational structure — one that has allowed him and his team to operate more as an entrepreneurial, spirit-based company than a traditional one with “a lot of red tape.”
He continued: “today, any client that has any issue with the bank, be it a positive or negative issue, can get to the senior management literally by talking to any employee in the branch. It’s just one layer.”
His time at AM Bank has also afforded him the opportunity to innovate, too. After a trip to the United States, he realized that not a single bank in his home country offered credit cards. “I was the first bank in Lebanon to launch credit cards and we were the only bank to have them for about five years,” he said.
During that period he essentially had a 100% market share on the idea and today, even though competitors have launched their own programs, the credit card market share of the organization is still multiple times that of its general banking market share.
Another accomplishment that he’s proud of involves being the first bank to expand its operating hours to better serve its clients, and thus, their communities. At one point, it was standard for banks to start serving clients at 8:30 a.m. and close for the day at 12:30 p.m. Under Marwan’s guidance, the bank began staying open until 5:00pm — and soon all the banks in Lebanon followed.
All of this is because Marwan Kheireddine is nothing if not an entrepreneur at heart. He’s long had a passion for creating something out of nothing — something meaningful that contributes to his colleagues, his communities and his beloved country of Lebanon. AM Bank was the first in the country to launch phone-based banking. It was the first to offer a mobile application. It prides itself on being a very flexible and dynamic bank, all in the name of offering the type of legitimate experience that customers aren’t going to find anywhere else.
Of course, that passion has played out in other ways, too. Marwan Kheireddine has been teaching at the American University of Beirut for nearly two decades, as he’s always stood firmly behind the idea that the only path for Lebanon is through education. He’s served on the board of trustees at the AUB Business School for approximately 10 years, all in an effort to help the school with its academic programs.
Through the creation of the BDL 331 initiative, he’s personally had a hand in getting financing to startups and small businesses that bring great value to the economy. He’s particularly focused on organizations that offer job opportunities, that spearhead technological advancements, and that make innovation a priority.
He does this because Marwan Kheireddine has a clear vision of the future — not only where the country may be headed, but what he can do to help bring it there. Indeed, given what he’s been able to help accomplish over his career up to this point, it’s truly exciting to think about what he’ll be able to do before he’s finished.
Marwan Kheireddine’s Early Career
Prior to attaining his current position as the chairman and CEO of AM Bank, one of the most notable commercial banks in Lebanon, Marwan Kheireddine served as the minister of state in the country’s government from 2011 to 2014. During that period, he played a significant role in not only a wide range of economic matters, but financial and fiscal ones as well.
All throughout his career, Marwan has been passionate about the fact that the way to support economic growth in Lebanon is through the empowerment of the private sector. This is a large part of the reason why he played such a critical role in the creation of Banque du Liban Circular 331 — a regulation designed to help finance entrepreneurs and support economic growth as much as possible.
Marwan Kheireddine received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics at the esteemed Richmond University in the United Kingdom. He then received his MBA from the famous Columbia Business School in New York.