Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2010
Lubna Suliman Olayan '77
Ithaca, N.Y. – Lubna Suliman Olayan '77, the CEO of Olayan Financing Company, the holding entity for the Olayan Group's operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, has been named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2010. She will be honored on campus during the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration April 15-16.
Founded in 1947 by her father, the late Sulaiman S. Olayan , the Olayan Group is a private multinational enterprise engaged in distribution, manufacturing, services and investments. Established in 1969, Olayan Financing Company is a fully diversified industrial, trading, services and investment conglomerate that includes real estate stock funds and diversified venture capital business investments all over the world. The company operates or actively participates in more than 40 companies, often in partnership with leading multinationals. Olayan sits on the board of The Olayan Group.
Fortune magazine named Olayan to its “Global Power 50 Women” list from 2004-2009, Forbes magazine named her to its list of the “World's Most Powerful Women” in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and Time magazine named her as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2005.
Olayan joined the board of Saudi Hollandi Bank in 2004, a publicly listed company in Saudi Arabia and has been a non-executive director of WPP -- the world's second largest advertising agency and media planning and buying organization -- since March 2005. In 2006 and 2009 respectively, Olayan joined the international advisory boards of Rolls Royce and Akbank. She joined the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations in 2005 and has been a member of the board of directors of INSEAD since 2006. Olayan has been a member of the board of trustees of Cornell University since 2007 and joined the board of directors of KAUST (King Abdullah's University of Science & Technology) in 2009.
Olayan is a member of the board for Al Fanar, a non-governmental, non-profit venture that supports grassroots organizations in the Arab World and, since June 2005, has saton the board of the Down's Syndrome Charitable Association in Saudi Arabia.
Olayan is married to John E. Xefos '76, a partner in the international law firm Baker & McKenzie Limited. The couple, who met while students at Cornell, have three daughters, Sarah, Serene and Talia.
About the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year Award:
The Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award is given annually to a Cornell graduate who best exemplifies entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards. Recent award winners include Jay Walker '77, chairman of Walker Digital and founder of Priceline.com; Howard Milstein '73, co-chairman, president and chief executive officer of Emigrant Savings Bank and its holding company, New York Private Bank & Trust; and Kevin McGovern '70, chairman and CEO of McGovern Capital LLC. A committee of Cornell alumni, faculty and students reviews the nominations and selects the recipient.
Olayan will give a public address during the annual Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration on April 15, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. in Bailey Hall. For further information about Celebration or Cornell's university-wide entrepreneurship program, contact the Entrepreneurship@Cornell office at 607-255-1576 or visit the Web site at entrepreneurship.cornell.edu .