Managing Director & CEO, Beirut Hellenic Bank
Beirut Hellenic Bank Managing Director & CEO, James Wakim, has been a respected identity in Australia's banking and investment community for over twenty years. He is a career banker with experience across a broad portfolio of banking sectors including marketing, credit, international and corporate.
James's ability to combine in-depth industry knowledge with excellent communication and people skills enabled him to successfully run the Arab Bank Australia for over a decade prior to commencing his current role.
James began his career in banking in 1979 after completing a Bachelor of Economics degree at Melbourne's La Trobe University, majoring in Econometrics.
James's pursuit for excellence, extensive networking and unfailing commitment to offering customers true Relationship Banking has driven his past success and will play a major role in the evolution of Beirut Hellenic Bank. James is also keen to see the Bank play a pivotal role in the expansion of Australian companies into the Middle East, with the Bank being a key player in facilitating export trade financial transactions to Australia's exporters in these regions.
In 1998 James was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the Government's Ethnic Affairs Commission to assist in developing strategies to assist new migrants to Australia. In 2001 he was granted an 'Honorary Award' by the Australian Lebanese Association and continues to enjoy a high profile in the Australian-Arabic community today. In 2010 he received an 'Appreciation Award' from the Lebanese Government for his important role as a financial expert successfully taking initiative to maintain good connection in the banking industry between the Lebanese compatriots and their home country.
In addition to steering Beirut Hellenic Bank Australia's financial success, James plays an active role in its community support programs. He has held positions on the advisory Board of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, on the advisory Board of the Westmead Millennium Institute for eight years and as of July 2011, has joined the board of FSHD Global Research Foundation Limited, dedicated to finding a treatment and cure for Facioscapulohumeral Distrophy. Further to this, James was a Director of the Westmead Medical Research Foundation (previously known as Millennium Foundation) for over ten years, a charity for which he was also Chairman of the Board for over five years. James has been personally responsible for raising about $1 million for this Foundation from the general community.
James is a Senior Fellow of FINSIA and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In addition to his charity work, he remains an avid Australian Rules football fan and enjoys bushwalking and is an active member of his local church.
In 2008, the International publication 'Executive PA Magazine' awarded James 'Boss of the Year'.
He is married with three adult children, and is a proud grandfather.