BCG and Deloitte leaders named among most influential women in Middle East

18 September 2018 4 min. read

BCG Middle East Managing Director & Partner Leila Hoteit and Dubai-based Deloitte Partner and Middle East Audit Director of Operations Cynthia Corby have been named among the 100 most influential women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine for 2018.

Assessed by Forbes according to a range of criteria, including the scope and impact of their business activities and other initiatives, their job titles, and the growth and revenue of the organisations they lead, the Middle East’s Most Influential Women list celebrates the women who have broken through the glass ceiling in the region as an inspiration for the next generation.

Leading the list this year was Lubna Al Olayan, the Saudi Arabian CEO of Olayan Financing, one of the richest women in the country who also regularly features in the Forbes’ Most Powerful Women worldwide rankings, last year at 59th. Meanwhile, the consulting sector was represented by BCG's Leila Hoteit and Deloitte’s Cynthia Corby, who came in at 76th and 63rd.

Leila Hoteit, BCG and Cynthia Corby, Deloitte

Leila Hoteit

BCG Managing Director & Partner Hoteit leads the firm’s education and human capital development practice in the Middle East and is prominent local voice in the areas of education and women’s economic empowerment (an advocacy shared by BCG in terms of female senior leadership in the GCC). Hoteit was previously named Businesswoman of the Year at the Arab Woman Awards and has served as Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum since 2014.

Born in Lebanon and based in Dubai, Hoteit holds an MBA from INSEAD and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London, and joined BCG in 2014 after crossing from a four and a half year stint with Booz & Company at the time of its purchase by PwC, ultimately serving as the strategy firm’s Vice President in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the Booz & Co. spin-off, Hoteit spent a further five years as a Senior Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton.

In a TED Talk from 2016 on the keys to success for Arab businesswomen, Hoteit spoke of both the challenges she has faced and the support of other Arab businesswomen; “Arab women of my generation have had to become our own role models. We have had to juggle more than Arab men, and we have had to face more cultural rigidity than Western women… Two of my biggest breaks came through the support of other women.”

Cynthia Corby

Corby, meanwhile, has been recognised on this year’s list for the first time with its evaluation model extending to expatriate women who have made a significant contribution to the regional economy, with the Deloitte Middle East partner and Audit Director of Operations originally hailing from South Africa/the UK – the latter where she spent over six years as an Audit partner with Baker Tilly (now RSM in the UK), and the former where she first served with Deloitte as a Senior Manager for over a decade.

Joining Deloitte’s Middle East branch in 2006, Corby has risen to now oversee an extensive portfolio for the Big Four firm in the region – leading its local Construction Industry and Infrastructure and Capital Project practices in addition to her Audit Director role. On top of that, Corby also heads the audit division’s human resources activities in the UAE, and is responsible for implementing the firm’s strategic Middle East Audit Transformation Programme.

With the release of this year’s rankings, Khuloud Al Omian, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Middle East said, “The region is undergoing a paradigm shift with women-led businesses dominating major sectors. Countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia have showcased most gender diverse cabinets and the landscape is ever evolving.” Other senior female leaders in the Middle East consulting sector include Alvarez & Marsal Managing Director Saeeda Jaffar, appointed to the role in 2016, and Shatha Al Maskiry, the Managing Director of Protiviti in Oman.