Saudi Replaces Central Bank Governor in Major Reorganization

  • Ahmed AlKholifey named Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency governor
  • Former governor Fahad Al Mubarak replaced by royal order

Saudi Arabia appointed Ahmed AlKholifey as central bank governor, replacing Fahad Al Mubarak as part of a government reorganization, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Fahad Al Mubarak
Fahad Al Mubarak
Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

AlKholifey, named to the role in a royal order from King Salman, was previously deputy governor for research and international affairs at the central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.

The announcement comes as the world’s biggest crude producer reorganizes ministries to “focus and clarify responsibilities and ease procedures to offer better services,” Saudi Press Agency reported. Changes include replacing longstanding oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, the architect of the 2014 switch in OPEC policy that’s since roiled crude markets, with Khalid Al-Falih, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

Khalid Al-Falih
Khalid Al-Falih
Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Al Mubarak was named central bank governor in 2011 and was previously chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia. He oversaw Saudi monetary policy during a period of stress as the oil price slump depleted the government’s main source of revenue, led to a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion last year and ate away at the kingdom’s currency reserves, still among the largest in the world.

The governor had repeatedly reiterated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to pegging its currency to the dollar as the central bank’s net foreign assets declined by $115 billion last year. Twelve-month forward contracts for the Saudi riyal hit their highest level in two decades in January, reflecting growing bets by traders that the kingdom would allow its currency to weaken, though the speculation has since subsided.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced a comprehensive blueprint to prepare the world’s largest oil exporter for the post-oil era last month, dubbed "Saudi Vision 2030." Plans include selling shares in state giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, and creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

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