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Aramco Planner Al-Saadan to Head New Finance and Strategy Unit

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, appointed Abdallah Al-Saadan as its new senior vice president for finance and said it is expanding the role to include corporate strategy.

The executive, who was vice president of corporate planning, replaces Mohammad al-Ali and will lead a newly created group responsible for finance as well as strategy and development, the state-owned company known as Saudi Aramco said in a statement.

Al-Saadan “is one of the most talented younger Saudi Aramco employees,” said Mohamed Ramady, professor of finance at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, where al-Saadan completed undergraduate studies in the 1980s, according to his profile on Dhahran-based Aramco’s website.

The new senior vice president has worked at Saudi Aramco for 34 years, and was president and chief executive officer of SAMREF, a Saudi-based refiner equally owned by Aramco and Exxon Mobil Corp., from 2002 to 2005, according to the company. He is chairman of Aramco’s Saudi Petroleum International Inc. and a director of Fujian Refining & Petrochemical Co., a Chinese-based refiner owned by Aramco, Sinopec and Exxon Mobil.

“He has extensive experience not only in corporate planning where he was the only VP-level manager to report directly to Aramco’s CEO, but also has a good knowledge of Aramco’s future focus as he was involved in its strategic restructuring plans,” Ramady said by e-mail.

Executive Roles

In his corporate planning post, Al-Saadan developed and maintained the company’s global and domestic economic and energy outlook, crude oil pricing, investment analysis and strategic planning, according to his profile. Al-Saadan is secretary of Aramco’s management committee, serves on the strategy council and is chairman of the executive advisory committee.

“With his current profile, he is definitely able to move up the ladder further in Saudi Aramco and the Saudi oil industry,” Ramady said. Al-Saadan is a strong candidate to become the next CEO, along with Aramco senior vice presidents Amin Nasser, who leads upstream development, and Abdulrahman al-Wuhaib, the head of downstream activities, according to Ramady.

Al-Saadan holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisiana and earned an MBA degree in 2007 from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Manama at wmahdi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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