Kingdom Executive Director for Private Equity Halawani Resigns

Ahmed Reda Halawani, who steered private equity investment for Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has resigned from the billionaire royal’s Kingdom Holding Co.

Halawani stepped down as a member of the board and the investment committee “due to personal obligations and commitments,” Kingdom Holding said in a statement on the Saudi bourse. His resignation after 17 years at the company is effective today, it said.

Halawani worked for more than 10 years as chief executive officer of Al Azizia Commercial Investment Company, one of Saudi Arabia’s best-known investment firms and a Kingdom subsidiary. Previously, he worked in private sector development for the World Bank and for Procter & Gamble Co., according to Kingdom’s website. He was one of nine board members at Kingdom.

In an interview in February, Halawani said Kingdom Holding came up with its own investment ideas, including buying a $125 million stake in Chinese online retailer 360buy Jingdong Inc. “We do not wait for an investment bank to come and say, ‘This is a group of companies and we think that potentially they will fit your strategic objectives,’” he said at the time.

Alwaleed, who owns 95 percent of Riyadh-based Kingdom, has built a fortune of $28 billion amassing stakes in Citigroup Inc., News Corp. and Apple Inc., according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Twitter Inc., the microblogging service, received a $300 million investment from Kingdom in 2011.

That investment is set for growth over the next five to 10 years, Halawani said during the February interview.

Kingdom Holding is planning to build a kilometer-high (0.62 mile-high) skyscraper in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, seeking to surpass the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as the world’s tallest tower. The company received shareholders’ approval in March 2012 to sell as much as 3.75 billion riyals ($1 billion) of bonds inside Saudi Arabia or abroad.

Kingdom shares fell 1.3 percent to 18.4 riyals at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh today. The stock has declined 12 percent this year.