Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor and Bank Hapoalim controlling shareholder Shari Arison topped the list of the 50 most influential women in Israel published in Forbes' September edition.
Maor, in first place, was appointed Bank Leumi head 14 years ago. The bank was then Israel's second largest and many attribute its rise to number one to Maor.
Before joining Leumi, Maor, born in 1943, worked at the Bank of Israel for 26 years. Her last role there was supervisor of banks. In 1991, she joined Leumi as deputy head and was appointed CEO in 1995.
Second-placed Arison is Israel's wealthiest woman with reported assets of approximately $3.2 billion.
Arison was born in 1957 in New York to businessman Ted Arison and Mina Arison Sapir.
Bank Hapoalim was owned by the government until 1996 when it was sold to a group of investors led by Arison's father. Following Ted's death in 1999, Shari was left 35 percent of his possessions, including Arison Holdings, which controls the bank.
Shari Arison has hit the headlines recently with a much-publicized spat with Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer over the dismissal of Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner, as well as with her divorce from Ofer Glazer, who, in 2007, was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail for harassing a nurse.
Arison, who has spoken of her spiritual side in television interviews, recently told The Washington Post that she predicted the global financial meltdown.
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