Middle East: CEO’s sudden departure hits Saudi plans
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Middle East: CEO’s sudden departure hits Saudi plans

In Adel Al-Ghamdi, Saudi Arabia had an impressive cheerleader for its plans to open up its stock exchange to foreign investors, who warmed to his open, engaging style. So why did he suddenly resign?

Adel Al-Ghamdi-300

Adel Al-Ghamdi does not come across as a regular Saudi. He speaks with great delight about being in London as if it is home, having begun his career there with various European arms of Riyad Bank. He is a Chelsea FC fan who reckons his fortunes move with the team’s. And, more than anything, he communicates with clarity and vigour rather than the secrecy traditionally associated with the Kingdom.  But is that difference the reason he is no longer the CEO of the Saudi Stock Exchange?

It would be understating the matter to say that Al-Ghamdi had a busy November. At a roadshow organized by Euromoney Conferences in Singapore, London and New York, Al-Ghamdi’s keynote presentations were notable for detailed information, something not always available from Gulf states. Institutional investors in attendance, not known for suffering fools or opacity gladly, were both publicly and privately impressed.

All of which made it extremely strange that on November 12, within a week of the conclusion of the New York leg of the roadshow, the exchange announced Al-Ghamdi’s resignation.

Nobody seems able to explain what happened; figures within the exchange say they can’t comment, but even among them, there is a tone of disbelief. 

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