Saudi Exchange CEO Departs Five Months After Market Opening

  • Reason behind departure of Al Ghamdi remains unknown
  • Saudi Exchange dropped 15 percent this year despite open

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has appointed an acting chief executive officer after the resignation of Adel Saleh Al Ghamdi, who oversaw the opening to direct foreign investment of the Arab world’s biggest equities market.

Al Ghamdi stepped down after more than two years in his position, according to a statement on the Saudi Bourse on Thursday. It didn’t specify a reason for his departure and no one at the exchange was immediately able to comment when contacted by phone.

“It is not clear to anyone yet why he left,” said Mazen Al-Sudairi, the Riyadh-based head of sell-side research at Alistithmar Capital, a unit of Saudi Investment Bank. “It is sad news as he was a great a leader in the Saudi business environment with a visionary view but I don’t see his departure having an effect on the Saudi market next week.”

The Tadawul All Share Index, the kingdom’s benchmark stocks gauge, has fallen 15 percent this year amid a plunge in oil prices that’s threatening the economy of OPEC’s biggest crude exporter. The index decline came even as Saudi Arabia allowed foreigners to own stocks directly for the first time in a bid to help diversify its economy away from energy.

The exchange’s board of directors has appointed Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan as acting CEO effective Nov. 12, according to the statement. Al Hussan has been with the Tadawul for 10 years and previously served as chief of markets.

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