Two Pakistanis join Forbes' top 10 'Middle East's Most Powerful Businesswomen'

Women powerhouses Shaista Asif and Shazia Syed secure their places on fourth and ninth spots in the listing

By Web Desk
March 04, 2024
CEO PureHealth Holding Shaista Asif (L) and General Manager Unilever North Africa, Levant and Iraq Shazia Syed (R). —Forbes/File

Two women from Pakistan have secured their place in Forbes's top 10 list of most powerful female executives in the Middle East, published by the global business magazine.

Fourth ranking in ‘The Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2024’, Shaista Asif is the co-founder and group chief executive officer of PureHealth Holding, which is a healthcare network in the UAE.


As per Forbes, Asif co-founded the healthcare corporation in 2006 and was appointed as the group’s chief executive in December 2023. The initial public offering (IPO) of the company was raised the same month by $986 million after offering 10% of its issued share capital on the first market of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX).

The IPO was oversubscribed 54 times in the professional subscriber tranche and 483 times in the retail tranche. The company acquired the UK’s largest independent operator of hospitals, Circle Health Group, for $1.2 billion before debt in January 2024.

And the same month, PureHealth acquired Sheikh Shakbout Medical City, the UAE’s largest healthcare complex for $600 million with revenues of $585.4 million.

General Manager Unilever North Africa, Levant and Iraq Shazia Syed, also the Arabia Senior Customer Development Lead, sits at ninth position on the list for her extensive experience in large corporations.

The former Unilever Pakistan CEO has served as president of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and was the director of the Pakistan Business Council as well. She assumed the office of general manager for North Africa, Levant, and Iraq in 2021.

Syed, who hails from Abbottabad, joined the British multinational consumer goods company as a management trainee in Pakistan in 1989.

“She also sits on the board of United Bank Limited in Pakistan, is a member of the Board Risk & Compliance Committee, and is the chairperson of the Board Audit Committee,” Forbes reported saying that she earlier worked as a member of the boards of Pukka Tea and Pepsi Lipton.