The Saudi businessman will become the chairperson of a new bank that was formed from the merger of Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank.

The merger will lead to the creation of Saudi Arabia’s third largest bank, with a capitalisation of $17.2 billion.

According to the BBC, Olayan is the head of a family conglomerate and is considered a trailblazer in the finance industry.

Educated in the US, she topped the Forbes list of Middle East’s Most Influential Women in 2018.

Her appointment comes amid a wider liberalisation of women’s roles in Saudi Arabia.

The ban on woman drivers was lifted in June as part of a modernisation initiative led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman known as Saudi Vision 2030.