International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Aziz D. Syriani is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Olayan Group, a diversified international enterprise engaged in trading, manufacturing, services and investments. Established in Saudi Arabia as a single company in 1947 by Suleiman Saleh Olayan, the Group today operates over forty businesses and financial enterprises. In terms of shareholders equity, it ranks among the world's largest privately held companies. Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1942, Aziz Syriani received his elementary and secondary education at the Jesuits School in Beirut. In 1964, he received a BBA from the American University of Beirut, followed by French and Lebanese law degrees in 1965 from the University of St. Joseph, an affiliate of the University of Lyon. Following five years of legal practice in Beirut, he obtained his LL.M degree from Harvard Law School in 1972. He then joined the law firm of Shearman and Sterling in New York. In 1974 he returned to Beirut to become a partner at the law firm of Fouad Boutros who was later named Minister of Foreign Affairs for Lebanon. In 1973 his affiliation with The Olayan Group began as an outside counsel. From 1974-1976 he served on the Board of American Express Middle East Development Company, the Lebanese subsidiary of American Express, resigning when he joined The Olayan Group on a full time basis. Mr. Syriani is a member of the Occidental Petroleum board (1983-present) where he is also the Lead independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee and a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Executive Committee. He also serves as a member of the Chairman's Committee (1998-present) and Chairman of the Compensation Committee (2004-present) of the Credit Suisse Group. He became President of The Olayan Group in 1978 and Chief Executive Officer in 2002.