Born in July 1955, Sherif Ismail graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1978 from Ain Shams University and started his career in oil exploration at the multinational oil company Mobil.
In 1979, he moved to Egypt’s Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (ENPPI), eventually joining its board of directors.
He then served as the deputy minister of petroleum in charge of oil and gas operations from 2000 to 2005.
In 2005, he became the chairman of the Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), where he served until 2007 when he was appointed as the chairman of the Ganoub El-Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE).
Ismail served as petroleum minister from July 2013 onward, first under Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, and then under Ibrahim Mahlab after February 2014.
In September 2015, Sherif Ismail was appointed as prime minister.
On 5 June 2018, Ismail presented his resignation. This came on the heels of gastrointestinal tract surgery in Germany earlier the same year that forced the prime minister to take two months medical leave.
On 18 June 2018, the former prime minister was appointed as the president's assistant for national projects.
Following the news of his death, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi mourned Sherif Ismail on his official Facebook and Twitter accounts, expressing his condolences to the Egyptian nation for the death of a loyal statesman.
“With sincere sadness and sorrow, I mourn a real great man who reflected the Egyptian nation's conscience,” El-Sisi said, adding that the deceased carried responsibilities in the most difficult situations and times and was equal to the difficult task.
“I observed in Sherif Ismail all imperiality, sincerity, honesty and a willingness to offer, disregarding all advantages and pursuing only the best interests of his nation and his people,” El-Sisi stated.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also mourned his predecessor, saying “Sherif Ismail will forever be remembered and much appreciated for all his merits and the great services he offered to the nation.”
Sherif Ismail is survived by his wife and two children.
The time and place of the funeral have not yet been declared.