Meryem Bensaleh: The Quiet Force

Moroccan journalists have nicknamed her “the quiet force” because her features are synonymous to calm and simplicity and they do not reveal the passion and strength that she carries within her which allowed her to lead one of the most important companies in Morocco, just as they allowed her to hold high positions, including the presidency of the Patronage, after being elected in 2012, to head the General Confederation of Moroccan Companies, thus becoming the first woman to lead this institution which was reserved for men.

The famous businesswoman, Meryem Bensaleh, is from the village of Tafoughalt, east of Berkane. She was born in Casablanca in 1962. She is the eldest daughter of the late Abdelkader Bensalah, founder of the Holmarkom group, signatory of the independence manifesto and minister in the Békay Ben Mbarek El Habil government, and the Prime Minister of the very first Moroccan government after independence.

Meryem Bensaleh studied at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and obtained her Master’s degree in Financial and International Management from the University of Dallas, Texas, before returning to Morocco. She worked for two years at the Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (CDG), before taking over the management of the Olmas Mineral Water Company, a subsidiary of her father’s group, whose turnover in 2016 was estimated at 1.6 billion Dirhams.

Meryem Bensaleh is a humble woman who loves simplicity although she is one of the richest people in the Kingdom. She enjoys a special affection from His Majesty King Mohammed VI, whom she has accompanied on most of her travels to African countries in recent years. She is married to Dr. Jamal Chakroun, son of the late writer and radio journalist Abdallah Chakroun and the great actress Amina Rachid. She is the mother of three children. She loves flying her own plane and Harley-Davidson motorcycle. She is also a distinguished gulf player.

Forbes Middle East has ranked her among the most powerful Arab women for several years.

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