Prior to being appointed CEO of Istithmar World, Makkawi was the founder, chairman and CEO of Algebra Capital, a DIFC-based asset management firm he started, focused on MENA, which was later sold to global asset manager Franklin Templeton. In addition to his role as CEO, he was also responsible for the firm's private equity business.
Makkawi served, prior to Algebra, as the CEO of Dubai Bank where he spearheaded the bank's involvement in investment banking; asset management and Islamic banking in local and cross-border transactions. Prior to Dubai Bank, Makkawi was the executive managing director of Shuaa Capital, a UAE-based investment banking institution where he also acted as chief investment officer for the firm's asset management products.
He started his career with JP Morgan in New York, where he rose to the rank of vice-president. He also worked in Geneva with Elf Aquitaine, and later moved back to the Middle East to co-found two investment banks Lebanon Invest, and then Middle-East
Makkawi holds a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, an MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Management and a BA from Rice University.