Former Governors

Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Saud Al-Sabah

Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Saud Al-Sabah

From 01-10-1986 to 11-02-2012

Sheikh Salem received BA Bachelor in Economics from the American University of Beirut in 1977. He was first appointed in the Central Bank of Kuwait in 1977 as Economic Analyst, then Head of Studies Section under Foreign Operations Department in 1978. In 1980, he became Head of Investment Section and Studies Section, and Deputy Manager of Foreign Operations Department. In 1984, he held the office of Banking Supervision Department Manager, then, in 1985, Executive Director of Banking Supervision and Monetary Policy. During the period from 09-02-1986 to 30-09-1986, he was appointed the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, then he became the Governor and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Kuwait (1986-2012), and the Alternate Governor of the State of Kuwait at both the International Monetary Fund and the Arab Monetary Fund (1986-2012). He was a member of several boards of directors for several government institutions in Kuwait including Kuwait Investment Authority, the Supreme Council for Planning & Development, the Supreme Petroleum Council. During his tenure as a governor, Sheikh Salem chaired the Economic Reform Committee in 2001. In 2013, he was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance.

The period Sheikh Salem assumed his position as the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (1986-2012) was marked in a fast-changing economic, financial and geopolitical environment given the local, regional and international conditions including the Iran-Iraq War, oil price fluctuations, which affected the budgets of oil exporting states, and Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash that resulted in difficult debts on the Kuwaiti economy in 1980s. Once the Central Bank of Kuwait stepped in devising set of policies, embodied in the Difficult Credit Facilities Resettlement Program to contain the crisis by late 1980s. The implementation of the program was still incomplete in 1990 when the Iraqi invasion changed the entire financial picture, and suspended all aspects of the economic activities. During this period, Sheikh Salem assumed massive responsibilities to manage the crisis from abroad by securing the necessary financial resources, reorganizing Kuwaiti banks, their operations and obligations abroad, and counteracting the situation of freezing of Kuwaiti assets abroad. The Central Bank of Kuwait was able to rebuild itself though it was experiencing an unprecedented inflation, and the need to reopen banks, protect customers’ rights, address the risks of capital migration, restore confidence in the stability and efficiency of Kuwait's banking sector, as well as the other challenges. This may be one of the most difficult periods in Kuwait’s economy in its history, and one of the most rigorous stage witnessed by the Central Bank of Kuwait. The 1990s witnessed also several global economic transformations and developments such as founding of the European Economic Community (ECC) in 1993 and globalization and the growing global interdependence, through the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. In 2008, the world has been severely hit by the Global Financial Crisis that affected the world economies for many years. Sheikh Salem was able to maintain the financial stability, which is a main task to withstand financial and economic crises, and formulated and implemented macro-prudential policies to avoid or manage financial crises. Moreover, a well-established system of regulations and regulatory programs consistent with international best practices was put in place, enabling the Central Bank of Kuwait to carry out its functions to the fullest and highest level of professionalism recognized locally and globally. Thanks to the Central Bank of Kuwait’s prudent oversight over the banking sector, Kuwaiti banks have now international presence and receive high credit ratings. Sheikh Salem also contributed to establishing the Financial Stability Law to address the repercussions of the economic crisis.

Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, received several awards and recognitions such as “The Governor of the Year” in 1988 from Euromoney Magazine, “Banker of the Year 1997” from Arab Research Center, “Banker of the Year” in 2004 from the 4th Conference for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions held in Kuwait, and “The Best Central Bank Governor in the Middle East in 2006” from “The Banker”.

He also participated in several local and international conferences and seminars giving 51 speeches that addressed central banks’ concerns and areas of financial markets and monetary policies in the State of Kuwait. All of his speeches have been compiled in seven books in both Arabic and English, namely: "Spotlight on Monetary Policy and the Kuwaiti Economy" 1988 and 1992, "Milestones in the Central Bank of Kuwait’s Journey" in 1995, “Monetary Policy and the Role of the Central Bank of Kuwait: Present Concerns and Future Aspirations” in 1997, "Central Bank of Kuwait's Perceptions of Banking Business and its Future Interests" in 2002, "Modernizing the Central Banks Work: Experiences of the Central Bank of Kuwait" in 2007, and "Interests of the Central Bank of Kuwait of Banking Business and Future Aspirations" in 2011.