Elissar Antonios is a MENA Leader spearheading an International Finance Powerhouse. Ms. Antonios became the first woman to run the MENA Operations of Citigroup when she was appointed Head of the MENA cluster in December 2020.  She has taken this “first of” senior role for a woman in the Middle East after more than 30 years of banking experience in the region.  Prior to that, Elissar led several high-profile deals in her banking career, with the likes of ADNOC, Mubadala, ADIA, Emirates, Etihad, Majid Al Futtaim, DP World, and PWC Middle East.  

Elissar, Banking Leader in MENA

Elissar Ontonios, CEO of Citi MENA Operations

Who is Elissar Farah Antonios

Elissar Farah Antonios is Chief Executive Officer of Citi UAE and Cluster Head for Levant & Iraq. A seasoned international banker, with extensive experience in the financial industry and expertise in the region, Elissar leads Citi’s largest and most diverse franchise in the Middle East and North Africa.

Elissar Antonios is a MENA Leader, responsible for the Institutional Client Group and Global Consumer Bank in the UAE, she oversees Corporate, Investment Banking, and Wealth Management services and is the Senior Executive Officer for Citi DIFC and Citi ADGM. Elissar joined Citi in 2005 as Head of Private Banking in Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, she served as CEO for Citibank Lebanon. In December 2015, she was appointed

CEO of Citibank UAE, and her responsibilities recently expanded to become the Cluster Head for UAE, Levant & Iraq.

CEO of Citibank UAE, and her responsibilities expanded to become the Cluster Head for UAE, Levant & Iraq

Elissar Farah Antonios’ Background

Elissar Antonios is a prominent MENA Banking leader. Her banking career started in 1990 in the London office of Republic National Bank of New York. She was a Management Associate covering the Wealth Management, Middle East Desk. She then spent several years with Credit Agricole Indosuez (CALYON) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and with ABN AMRO Private Bank covering both Abu Dhabi and Egypt.

In her 30 years of operations in this region, Elissar has developed high expertise in a wide range of sectors. She also developed unparalleled relationships with high net worth clients and family offices. She advised, recommended, managed portfolios, and provided solutions on a long list of large-scale projects.

She combines strategic thinking and market understanding with an in-depth appreciation of clients’ needs.

Elissar Ontonios combines strategic thinking and market understanding with an in-depth appreciation of clients’ needs.

Leader Elissar Farah Antonios

Elissar is active in numerous community service and business development organizations. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Olayan School of Business at The American University of Beirut. Currently, she is serving as a Board Member of Injaz UAE. She was previously on the Board of Injaz Lebanon. Elissar is a Steering Committee member for the launch of the United Nations Global Compact Network Lebanon. She was also an Advisory Member of the Lebanese Banking Association.

Currently, Elissar represents Citi on major trade and business associations including UAE Banks Federation, US-UAE Business Council, American Business Council of Dubai, and the Northern Emirates. 

Elissar is a senior sponsor of Citi’s Women Network in the UAE. 

Elissar’s Education, Family, and Journey

Elissar received her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the American University of Beirut. She holds an MBA from Imperial College in London. She is fluent in Arabic, English, and French.

Forbes Middle East ranked Elissar among the top 100 most powerful and influential Arab businesswomen in 2017 and 2018.  In 2019, she was among the Top 20 Women Leading Top Companies in the Middle East.

Forbes ranked Elissar Farah Antonios #21 in the 50 most powerful businesswomen in the Middle East 2021

Authored by Yasmine Deraz

Edited by Yara Fakhoury

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