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National Bank loss.

A LEADING light in the world of international banking was extinguished in September with the death of National Bank of Kuwait chairman Mohamed Abdul Mohsin Al Kharafi. A member of one of Kuwait's most prominent merchant families Mr Al Kharafi had been on NBK's Board of Directors since its foundation in 1952.

He was deputy chairman of the board from 1965 to 1980 when he assumed the position of chairman. Under his leadership NBK prospered to become widely recognised as one of the premier Arab banking institutions.

Mr Al Kharafi who was in his mid 70s was considered to have something of a midas touch. In addition to his banking activities he owned the largest construction company in Kuwait, which bears his name, and a number of other profitable enterprises. The Mohamed Abdul Mohsin Al Kharafi construction company was the only local Kuwaiti company to pre-qualify for American contracts after liberation, following the Iraqi invasion.

In addition to his extensive business interests both inside Kuwait and abroad, Mr Al Kharafi was for many years vice chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

An NBK colleague of the late chairman told the Middle East this week "Mr Al Kharafi's success in business was largely due to his sense for summing people up. He was rarely wrong. All his business ventures were successful."

The former chairman had been working at NBK's London branch during the week before his death. He had suffered a number of minor illnesses in recent months but appeared to have recovered and was planning to attend the upcoming World Bank meeting in the United States.

Mr Al Kharafi was described by an NBK official as "a quiet, low key, humane individual who did not like ostentatious things." A business associate told The Middle East. "Mohamed Al Kharafi was an old style Kuwaiti. He was a gentleman who had seen life alter dramatically in Kuwait but although he spoke fondly of the past, his grasp of business matters was 100% up to the minute."

Mohamed Al Kharafi has been succeeded as chairman of NBK by Mohamed Abdul Rahman Al Bahar, deputy chairman since 1980.

As is the bank's policy Mr Al Kharafi's son will automatically become a member of NBK's board. The bank, which is privately owned has operations in Europe, the United States, Singapore, Bahrain and Beirut. A conservatively operated institution NBK has shown consistent profitability for more than 20 years.
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Title Annotation:death of National Bank of Kuwait Chairman, Mohamed Abdul Moshin Al Kharafi
Publication:The Middle East
Article Type:Biography
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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