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Chairman of Saudi Aramco replaced by head of Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund

By Ramla Soni

Saudi Arabia has replaced Khalid al-Falih as chairman of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and natural gas company, and appointed Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Financial Times has reported.

The appointment of Mr Rumayyan, a close ally of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, comes as Mr Falih, Energy Minister and chairman since 2015, said he has seen his position as “weakened”.

Mr Rumayyan who is a former local investment banker and board member of Saudi Aramco, has impacted the Public Investment Fund (PIF), with it already being charged with developing a number of ambitious multibillion-dollar mega projects within the kingdom and snapping up stakes in international companies including Uber.

Mr Falih has wished Mr Rumayyan success in his new role, saying it was an important step to prepare the company for an initial public offering (IPO).Global banks have begun pitching for roles on what is expected to be the world’s biggest IPO.

The timing is uncertain but Saudi officials have said they would like to proceed in 2020 or 2021.

The listing has already been postponed after concerns last year about legal risks and doubts over whether it would achieve the $2 trillion valuation sought by the crown prince.

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