Riad Salamé spent 20 years as an investment banker with U.S.-based Merrill Lynch, beginning in 1973 in Beirut and ending in 1993 in Paris after eight-year stint there as Vice President and Financial Counselor, before joining the Bank of Lebanon (BofL). Salamé was private banker to then-prime minister Rafiq Hariri when Hariri made him Governor of the Bank of Lebanon in 1993, according to a June 2007 report by CNBC. He has since been re-appointed twice to six-year terms: in 1999 and 2005. Salameh's resumé since joining the BofL in littered with international awards and acclaim for his success in preserving the value of Lebanon's currency, the Lebanese pound, while building sustained growth and investment in often turbulent times. He has twice won Euromoney's annual title for world's best central banker after first winning the magazine's Arab-region award in 1996. He has been chairman of the Special Investigation Commission against Money Laundering since it began in 2001.
Salamé holds a a bachelor of arts B.A. in eonomics from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
Riad Salamé has most recently been lauded in influential western financial media like Institutional Investor for a ban he imposed on Lebanese banks in 2005 that prevented them from buying mortgage-backed securities, whose market collapse in 2007 triggered the global 2008 financial crisis. Salamé recently told the LA Times that he had been skeptical at the time of the co-operative relationship between U.S. investment banks and ratings agencies plus the complicated nature of the securities.
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