Dubai banking giant Emirates NBD announced the appointment of Emirati Maryam Bahlooq as the CEO of Tanfeeth, which manages the bank's operations.

This makes Bahlooq, an Emirati national, the first woman to serve as CEO of the company, which was founded by Emirates NBD in 2011 to increase its operational efficiency and customer service. 

Bahlooq has been working with the banking group, which is the largest by assets in the UAE, for some 17 years.

Maryam Bahlooq Source: Emirates NBD

"I am honored to lead Tanfeeth as we continue to support Emirates NBD Group’s growing needs," the new CEO said in an official statement.

"I am also delighted to be the first female UAE national to assume a CEO position within the Group and hope to inspire and mentor others like me to take on similar leadership roles," she said. 

Bahlooq previously served as acting group head for human resources and headed the HR business partnership unit at Emirates NBD. During her term, Maryam played a pivotal role in the people management aspect of the bank’s mergers and acquisitions, locally and internationally.

"Maryam’s experience and track record of guiding and motivating diverse groups to enhance business performance equips her well to lead Tanfeeth," Abdulla Qassem, group COO, Emirates NBD and chairman of Tanfeeth, said in a statement. 

"I am confident that with Maryam’s leadership, the team will continue to scale service excellence standards and deliver outstanding support across our business units and subsidiaries," he said.

With her appointment, Bahlooq joins an ever-growing number of women in the Gulf Cooperation Council taking on leading roles in the financial and business sector.

In February, three women made headlines after they took on powerful financial roles in Saudi Arabia. Sarah Al-Suhaimi was appointed as the chair of the kingdom's Tadawul stock exchange, while Rania Nashar was made CEO of Samba Financial Group and Latifa Al-Sabhan became the CFO of Arab National Bank.

Al-Suhaimi became chair of the Saudi stock exchange in February

The UAE, in particular, has made great strides in the past few years to empower women and increase their participation in business and government. As of 2015, 30 percent of the country's governmental decision-making positions were held by women, the highest in the Arab world.