• Saudi Arabia’s Omar Abdulhamid held job for three years
  • OPEC seeking new candidate for head of research division

Saudi Arabia’s Omar Abdulhamid is said to be leaving his post as director of the research division at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to return to work at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

OPEC, who’s 13 members produce about 40 percent of the world’s crude, will seek a new candidate to replace Abdulhamid who will step down by July 10, said the people who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. OPEC’s secretariat declined to comment.

Abdulhamid took the job as head of research in May 2013. He had previously worked at Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Aramco since 1986, hold several technical research posts, according to his biography on the website of Saudi Arabia’s Forum of Societal Partnership in Scientific Research. He holds a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. In 2003, Abdulhamid completed a program in management development at Harvard Business School.

OPEC has tried unsuccessfully for more than three years to find a replacement for current Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri, who was due to stand down in 2012 after serving two terms in the role. At OPEC’s last meeting in December, El-Badri’s term was extended until July.

The secretary general is assisted in his duties by two directors, including the head of research. The director of the research division is appointed upon nomination by member countries. His job is to plan, coordinate and direct research activities of the division’s three departments: data services, energy studies and petroleum studies, according to the OPEC website.

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