Investcorp announces the passing of its founder Nemir Kirdar

9 Jun 2020

Investcorp, today announced the sad passing of its inspiring founder, Nemir Kirdar.

Mohammed Alardhi, Executive Chairman of Investcorp said: “We, the board of directors and employees of Investcorp, are deeply saddened by the death of Investcorp’s highly respected founder, Nemir Kirdar, who leaves behind a significant legacy. Nemir was a true visionary who founded Investcorp 38 years ago and dedicated his career to building and leading a business focused on core values of trust, integrity and respect. The fruits of his efforts are seen today as the business is globally recognized as a leading and pioneering financial institution. We shall continue to build on his legacy of success, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”

Nemir founded Investcorp in 1982 and led it for over three decades. He stepped down from his executive role in 2015 and continued to serve as the Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 2017.

Nemir was one of the pioneers in creating a successful international private equity business which served as a bridge for Middle Eastern capital being deployed into investment opportunities in the developed markets of US and Europe, at the time of unprecedented wealth creation in the region resulting from the oil price boom. He chose to make London his home and enjoyed close personal links with many of the world’s political and business leaders.   

Nemir grew up in Kirkuk, Iraq into a family with close ties to the Iraqi monarchy that ruled until 1958. He emigrated shortly afterwards to the United States. Subsequently, he earned a bachelor’s degree and got a job as a bank teller in Arizona. 

He embarked upon a career in international banking in New York and joined Chase Manhattan Bank. It was at Chase that the seeds for Investcorp were sown. After the first oil price shock in 1973, Nemir recommended that Chase establish a merchant bank in the Middle East. David Rockefeller, Chase’s chairman, endorsed the plan, and Nemir moved to the Middle East.  In 1982, inspired by the vast wealth created by the oil boom, Nemir established Investcorp to serve as a bridge to connect Arabian Gulf investors to attractive international private investment opportunities. High profile transactions in those early years have included Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany and Gucci and Investcorp has been involved in many other transactions since.

Nemir received honorary doctorates in humane letters from Fordham University of New York, Georgetown University in Washington DC; in law from the University of the Pacific, California; and in economics from Richmond, The American International University in London.

He was an honorary Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford University; Member of the United Nations Investments Committee, NYC; Member of the Board of Trustees, Brookings Institution, Washington DC; Member of the Board of Trustees, Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA; Member of the Advisory Board, School of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University, NYC; Founding member of the International Business Council, World Economic Forum, Geneva; Member of the Chatham House Panel of Senior Advisers, UK; Member of the International Council of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Member of the Council for Arab & International Relations, Kuwait; Member of the Board of Trustees, Silatech, Doha, Qatar.

Nemir is survived by his wife Nada and his daughters Rena and Serra and his grandchildren.