After studying Civil Engineering at the American University in Beirut, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1978, Iskandar Safa decided to complete a postgraduate degree to learn more about business. In 1982, he graduated from INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France) with a Masters in Business Administration.
After completing his university education, Iskandar Safa worked for several different companies on different ventures, most notably managing construction operations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
It was not until the early 1990s that he entered the shipbuilding industry, when he purchased Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN), a shipyard in Cherbourg, France. The company was at that point struggling following the industrial downturn, but Safa spent years working on the business and changing it for the better. It now focuses specifically on designing and producing smaller vessels (up to 70 meters) and has over 400 employees.
In 2007, Iskandar Safa decided to form a company called Abu Dhabi Mar (ADM), in collaboration with Al Aïn International. The shares of this company were later bought out by the Privinvest group, a shipbuilding company formed by Safa and his brother Akram in the 1990s.
He is currently CEO of the Privinvest group. which is now a leading privately-owned shipbuilding group. They specialise in innovative, high-end ships from mega yachts for private clients to naval and commercial ships. With facilities all over Europe and headquarters in the Middle East, the company’s ships are present in over 40 navies worldwide. Mr Safa is also currently non-executive vice-president of the Marfin Investment Group’s steering committee, and is considered to be one of the most wealthy people in Lebanon.