The WFE's Women Leaders 2024 - Hanan Mohammed Alshehri, Chief Executive Officer of Edaa

By: The WFE Focus Team Mar 2024

Name: Hanan Mohammed Alshehri

Organisation: Edaa, the Saudi central securities depository 

Job Title: Chief Executive Officer


1. Brief job description 

 Chief Executive Officer of Edaa, the Saudi central securities depository.

2. Short biography

Hanan has more than 13 years of experience in the investment sector and products development. During which she held several roles and leadership positions with her latest being the chief of Business Development at Edaa.

She is currently a board member of Securities Depository Center Company (Edaa), Saudi Exchange Company, Clearing Center Company (Muqassa) and Arab Federation of Capital Markets.

She holds a Master Degree in Applied Mathematics from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor Degree in Science of Information Systems from Prince Sultan University.

In 2023, Hanan successfully obtained a certification in the Executive Leadership Development from Stanford Business school.

3. What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2023?

2023 was a very challenging year, both for Edaa and myself.

It was a year of change, for Edaa to engage in a new strategic journey as part of Saudi Tadawul growth plans, for me in terms of adaptation to the new objectives, to the new more competitive and business oriented culture that is taking place within the group. It was a welcome change that I am very happy to embrace fully.

I took progressively more responsibility as delegated from the former CEO, in various occasions acting on his behalf, until at the end of the year, taking on the role of CEO (formalised in January 2024).

In parallel, the new strategy requires an increased focus on a variety of product and services that were not in the core business of Edaa, to which I became progressively familiar. All this while managing an increasing number of complex long-term projects that aim to transform Edaa in the years to come.


4. Tell us about a few of your key achievements?

Before joining Edaa, I have spent the first 10 years of my professional life at the capital market authority, in which I accomplished several key achievements. I played a leading role in opening the Saudi Capital Market to foreign investors which resulted in the recognition of the Saudi capital market by the international investor community as well as the inclusion in the main emerging markets indices. Moreover, as part of my role as the director of products development, we were able as a team to issue several regulatory frameworks that contributed to the variety of products and services offered in the Saudi capital market, such as the direct listings, foreign companies listings, and outbound depository receipts.

Since my arrival at Edaa in early 2022, as a head of business development I have focused on continuing the successful journey of Edaa by first ensuring we have the necessary human capabilities, and expanding the team to enlarge our capacity to successfully initiative the work on a new transforming strategy.

In mid-2023, my team initiated a number of key transformational projects. These include entering in the fund management space, as well as in the global custody, while developing ancillary services such as collateral management and securities borrowing and lending services. That will lead Edaa to be a much more global and client oriented organization in 18 months from now.

5. Who and what inspires you to achieve your professional success?

During my years at the Capital markets Authority, and during the first two years at Edaa, my inspirational leader has been my ex-manager at CMA and former Edaa CEO Raed Al Homaid, whose calm and pragmatic leadership has taught me how to best approach any event and issue, and to develop decision making capabilities. Raed has been instrumental to my professional and human growth.

I am also a very curious person by nature. I read and explore beyond my area of expertise when I have time. This helps me in keeping myself informed and up to date on events, things, and people that surround me, and to understand them better including my staff when they ask me support for any personal or professional challenge they are facing.


6. How have you overcome setbacks, and what advice would you give to others dealing with setbacks?

Setbacks are never easy to overcome as these primarily affect the sphere of personal feelings. What is important is to rationalise the events and to learn. There is no such thing as a failure in my view, as far as we learn from events and we do not repeat mistakes. Age and human experience, including motherhood, have taught me and are continuously teaching me to try to have a rational approach to things, not just because this is what is expected from me, but also because I am always looking for the right thing to do.

7. What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions? 

Steve Job, the guru founder of Apple, PiXar and NeXT, in one speech at a Commencement at Stanford University in 2005 concluded with the famous words, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

To any woman aspiring to be in leadership position, I would advise to take any new role not just a point of arrival, but as a point of start, and to continue to maintain the hunger for knowledge, the curiosity and the ambition that brought us where we are.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.