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Saudi Aramco Names Khalid Al-Falih as Chief Executive




Saudi Aramco Names Khalid Al-Falih as Chief Executive (Update1) 

By Heather Smith and Ayesha Daya

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) — Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil supplier, namedKhalid A. Al-Falih as chief executive officer.

Al-Falih succeeds Abdallah Jum’ah, who retires after 40 years at the Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based company and 14 years as its chief, the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said today in an e-mailed statement.

“The company isn’t run based on the whims of one individual,” Al-Falih said in an interview by phone. “We will continue following the same strategic direction.”

Al-Falih was named executive vice president of the Operations Business Center in September 2007. He has worked at Aramco since 1979 and served on the company’s board since October 2004. He will take the post of president and CEO from Jan. 1.

Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s largest proved reserves of oil, is implementing large-scale energy projects to boost crude oil and refining capacity as demand rose. The country has pledged to spend some $250 billion on energy by 2012, including raising oil output to 12.5 million barrels a day by next year, and increasing oil refining capacity by 50 percent.

The new chief executive will have to balance Aramco’s growth strategy with a slowing global economy, denting demand for oil, and plummeting oil prices, which have lost some 53 percent since reaching a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11.

“He is a highly qualified man, younger than many of Aramco’s senior officials, and has a history of very successful assignments,” said Sadad al-Husseini, a Morgan Stanley consultant and former head of exploration and production at Aramco, in a phone interview. “He will face the same challenges that the whole industry is facing — the economics of projects at the current oil price, how fast to develop the downstream ventures, assessing when demand will become an issue again.”

Al-Falih also chaired the country’s natural gas exploration, a venture between Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell Plc., and is on the founding board of trustees for the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), a planned graduate-level science and technology school that has used a $10 billion endowment to form partnerships with the University of Cambridge, Stanford University and General Electric Co.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at[email protected]Ayesha Daya in Dubai [email protected]

Last Updated: November 2, 2008 14:19 EST


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