The NCB Capital Turnaround: Waking the Sleeping Giant
The case opens in 2019 five years after, Sarah Al Suhaimi, CEO of NCB Capital (NCBC), the investment arm of Saudi's largest bank, NCB, took the helm. Having successfully turned the business to make it the market leader, she was contemplating her next steps as CEO. The case provides a background on the Saudi financial sector, as well as NCBC, and continues to chronicle Al Suhaimi's journey in NCBC and the transformation process she and her team put in action. When she joined NCBC as the first female CEO of a Saudi investment bank at the young age of 31, Al Suhaimi inherited an underperforming business with broken relations with all key stakeholders including the parent bank, customers, and the regulator. The case follows the turnaround process Al Suhaimi executed. After putting together a senior management team both from inside the business and external hires, Al Suhaimi worked with her team to diagnose and address pain points. Most notably, they drastically shifted NCBC's strategy from a brokerage driven, transactional revenue model to a recurring revenue, full-fledged investment banking and asset management model. They also made cultural and operational changes across NCBC, and mended fractured relations with their parent bank and the regulator. By 2019, NCBC became the market leader in revenues and profit securing landmark advisory mandates and creating innovative, successful products. At the fifth year mark of her appointment, in 2019, Al Suhaimi was now looking at a much different picture: NCBC was the market leader and internally, members of Al Suhaimi's senior management team were being poached by the competition, with no immediate candidates to replace them. Meanwhile, Al Suhaimi knew that she needed to make adjustments to the strategy to get the company on its next wave of growth. Externally, the Saudi stock exchange was opening up to foreign investors and had just joined three of the top emerging markets indices and competition in investment banking had heated up. With her trusted team at risk of departure, she needed to decide on her focus for the next five years: succession planning, setting the strategy for the next growth phase, and inspiring and motivating the team were top of her list.