Haykal founded Al-Sham Shipping Company in 1994 with the Saudi Dallah Group, and served as Executive Chairman for 20 years until 2014. In 2005, he cofounded the Arab Bank Syria, where he continues to serve on the board, after serving six years as deputy chairman. Between 1985 and 1999, he was a board member of Contship B.V. Netherlands, which operated Contship Containerlines, and container terminals in La Spezia,and Gioia Tauro in Italy. He started his career in the Haykal Shipping Agency, which was one of the largest in the Mediterranean basin, representing some of the leading shipping lines in the world until early 2000s.
A civil engineer by training, Haykal served on the board of the Syrian Federation of Chamber of Commerce (2000-2005), the German-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Berlin (2001-2010). He was also the Deputy Chairman of the Damascus Securities Exchange (2009-2011.) In 2010, he was made a Freeman of the City of London. He is a fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London.