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Dr Adnan Chilwan
Group Chief Executive Officer

A Visionary in the field of Islamic Banking


A leading authority in the field of Islamic Banking & Finance, Dr. Adnan Chilwan is widely seen as a driver of change and innovation and a key figure in the progression of this segment which is quickly evolving into a global phenomenon. With an extensive banking career spanning over two decades with both reputed conventional and Islamic banks in the region, he currently serves as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Bank, the world’s first Sharia compliant player and the largest Islamic Bank in UAE. With Group assets in excess of USD 70bln, a market capitalization of over USD 10bln, and workforce of more than 10,000 employees across a vast network of branches and entities in all emirates as well as growing international operations in Asia, Middle East and Africa, he leads an organization which is fast being recognized as a formidable force in Islamic Finance and one of the most progressive institutions in the world today.

Renowned as a visionary and a resident expert in the field, Dr. Chilwan has been hailed by stakeholders across the globe as a key spokesperson spearheading the progression, development and growing acceptance of Islamic finance across the world. His cutting-edge perspectives and progressive outlook are already creating waves in strengthening the world-wide appeal of this fast-emerging industry. Driven by an absolute and unwavering belief in his convictions, he has made it his personal and professional goal to establish Islamic Banking and Finance as a global norm rather than being viewed as an alternative. This, in Dr. Chilwan’s mind, is the barometer of success.

Widely recognized for his contribution to the development and advancement of the industry, Dr. Adnan Chilwan has been acknowledged by notable regional and international organizations for his efforts in driving the globalization of Islamic Finance to the established standing it enjoys today, a fact clearly evidenced by the “Excellence in Islamic Banking”, as well as the coveted “Outstanding contribution to the Islamic Economy” accolades bestowed on him at the Islamic Business & Finance Awards, by CPI Financial. Ranked as the #1 “Top Indian Leader making an impact in the Middle East Award 2019” and ranked #7 at the “Top 50 International CEOs Heading Local Companies” by Forbes ME, the awards follow his dominance at the Pride of the Nation Series Awards and Business Summit by AsiaOne Magazine in India where he was awarded the prestigious ‘Global Indian of the Year 2018’ in the Global Leadership Category. In addition to him being recognized with the “CEO Leadership Achievement Award 2019” by The Asian Banker, 2019 also saw Dr. Chilwan being honoured with the Leadership Excellence Award at the BME Industry Awards 2019, another testament to the respect and admiration he commands in the industry. In a year that presented unprecedented regional and global challenges across the financial industry, Dr. Adnan’s guidance and contribution across the industry saw him being honoured with the “Outstanding Contribution to Business” award at the 2020 Enterprise Agility Awards – Entrepreneur of the Year, a clear testament to his visionary leadership. This was followed by his selection by Forbes ME last year, as one of the ‘‘Top CEOs in the Middle East 2021’, a feat that he has surpassed this year, with Dr. Chilwan being ranked in the “Top 100 CEOs in the Middle East 2022” list. Dr. Chilwan has also been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded by MEA Finance Awards 2021, honouring him as an individual of long standing in the banking and financial industry, whose career has benefitted the banking and finance industry in the Middle East. His outstanding leadership and contributions to the Islamic Finance sector have earned him recognition recently, as one of the top 10 CEOs in GCC in the Shariah Compliant Banks category, at the Top CEO Conference & Awards, May 2022. Dr. Chilwan has also been placed in the list of the “Top 50 Inspiring Leaders of 2022”, a testimony to his stature as a leader and his contribution to the industry on the whole.

His key role in the transformation of the organization he leads into what is today undoubtedly seen as a modern and progressive face of Islamic finance earned him the ‘Banking Innovation Award’ two years in a row, at the 2017 & 2018 Indian Innovator Awards, during the Entrepreneur of the Year Annual Awards ceremony. With such a plethora of accolades, it is no wonder that Dr. Chilwan was once again voted the ‘Islamic Banker of the Year’ at the Islamic Business and Finance Awards 2018 by CPI Financial for the third consecutive year, along with the prestigious “Excellence in Global Islamic Finance & Banking Award” in 2018, accorded by the organization to individuals who have truly made a legacy in their respective fields.

His leadership prowess has also made its mark over the years, being a consistent recipient of Top CEO Awards in the region and squarely positioned amongst the top ten since 2015. Forbes Middle East placed him amongst the top 3 most powerful and influential Indian leaders in the Arab world, in addition to him also being ranked in the Forbes “Global Meets Local” list for his exemplary efforts in the Financial and Services industry. A holder of the exclusive Official Scarf Golden Medallion of “Wise Leadership” as well as the highly acclaimed title of “Banking CEO of the year” given by the prestigious Indian CEO Awards, Dr. Chilwan also featured in the top 15 of the distinguished list of GCC’s 100 most powerful Indians, published on MSN. His influence on the industry in such a short time span led to The Banker, Financial Times London dubbing him as one of the “movers and shakers in the Middle East Banking Industry”.

His passion to interact with and impart knowledge to the masses in general landed him the “Most Social Executive in the UAE’s Private Sector” award by LinkedIn consecutively for 2016 and 2017, honoring his immense contribution on the professional platform. In recognition of his efforts to steer Dubai Islamic Bank during the challenging years of the global financial crisis and crafting what many view as nothing short of a miraculous turnaround, the enterprising GCEO was also bestowed the “Best Strategic Vision” award by Banker Middle East for his exceptional business leadership and acumen. UK based Global Brands also awarded him the distinguished title of the “Best Islamic Banking CEO, Middle East”, an added acknowledgement of his significant and unparalleled contribution the bank and the leading position DIB enjoys today.

Dr. Chilwan represents DIB in boards of various strategic investments, subsidiaries and associates, including serving as the Chairman at DIB Bank Kenya Ltd. Other board representations include Noor Bank, Deyaar PJSC (Real Estate Company listed on DFM), Liquidity Management Centre (Investment Centre in Bahrain), and Dar Al Shari’a (Legal and Shari’a Consultancy). He continues to drive the proliferation of Islamic finance not just through his consultative role to governments and related bodies within and outside the UAE but also through numerous forums and seminars to students and audiences in various universities and educational institutions, including University of Cambridge, UK, City University of London and Skyline University to name a few. Dr. Chilwan is also an integral member of the advisory council of Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), UAE.

A passionate cricketer and an avid sportsman, Dr. Chilwan has a PhD and a MBA in Marketing to his credentials. He is a Certified Islamic Banker (CeIB), a Post Graduate in Islamic Banking & Insurance and an Associate Fellow Member in Islamic Finance Professionals Board.

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