The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali I. Al-Naimi has announced the appointment of Khalid A. Al-Falih as president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco, effective January 1, 2009.
Al-Falih, currently executive vice president of Operations, will succeed Abdallah S. Jum’ah, who has decided to retire after 40 years of service to Saudi Aramco, including nearly 14 years as president and CEO.
Al-Falih’s appointment as president was approved by the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs, chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud.The Minister noted that Al-Falih has worked for Saudi Aramco for almost three decades and rose to senior management positions in the oil and gas sectors, including exploration and producing, refining and international operations. Al-Falih is in his fifth year as a member of the company’s Board of Directors, he added.
The Minister expressed his appreciation to Jum‘ah for his outstanding service to the Kingdom’s petroleum industry and wished him great happiness and success in the future. Al-Falih thanked the Saudi Aramco Board of Directors for recommending him for this position. He expressed his profound gratitude to the Supreme Council, and specifically to King ‘Abd Allah and the Crown Prince for the valued trust they have placed in him.
He pledged to do his utmost, with the help of Saudi Aramco’s distinguished management team and its highly qualified workforce — administrative and technical — to continue the progress of the Saudi oil and gas industry at this time of development and mega-projects.
Al-Falih commended Jum’ah for his wise leadership in positioning Saudi Aramco among the world’s top companies and preparing it for the future. He vowed that he will strive to preserve the company’s position as a leader in production and reserves, in technology, and in its capable and productive workforce.
Al-Falih also pledged his very best efforts toward fulfilling the vision of the Kingdom’s leadership to contribute to the continued prosperity and well-being of the people of Saudi Arabia and people all over the world.
Al-Falih brings 30 years of experience at Saudi Aramco to his new position of president and CEO. He has been a member of the Saudi Aramco Board of Directors since his appointment in October 2004. Al-Falih also served as chairman of the board of the South Rub’ al-Khali (SRAK) joint venture between Shell, Total and Saudi Aramco, and is a member of the International Advisory Council of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST). He was recently appointed by King Abdullah to the founding board of trustees of KAUST.
Since September 1, 2007, Al-Falih has been executive vice president of the Operations Business Center, which includes the company’s Exploration & Producing; Engineering & Project Management; Operations Services; and Refining, Marketing & International business lines. Prior to this position, he was senior vice president of Industrial Relations from October 2005 to August 2007, and of Gas Operations from August 2004 to October 2005.
In early 2003, Al-Falih was named to head the newly formed administrative area New Business Development, and a year later was named vice president of Exploration. Beginning in September 2000, he played an instrumental role in negotiations with the international oil companies (IOCs) over the Kingdom’s Natural Gas Initiative, and then in May 2001 he was appointed vice president of Gas Ventures Development and Coordination. Ultimately, four joint ventures were created with IOCs for exploration and production of gas in the Rub’ al-Khali.
Experience with Saudi Aramco’s joint ventures was not new to Al-Falih. He served as president of Petron Corporation, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the Philippine National Oil Company, from July 1999 to September 2000.
Al-Falih joined Saudi Aramco in 1979 and was sponsored to study at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1982. During the following decade he worked in Project Management as a senior project engineer. His various assignments included working on major oil and gas production projects as well as refining projects.
During this time, he also studied for a master’s degree in business administration at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, which he earned in 1991. He joined the Consulting Services Department (CSD) in 1992 and supervised several technical functions. Al-Falih was named manager of CSD in January 1995.
Al-Falih was assigned as manager, Ras Tanura Refinery Maintenance Department, in late 1995; manager, Ras Tanura Refinery Operations Department, in 1997; and manager, Business Analysis Department, in 1998, where he led the drafting of the Kingdom’s first gas strategy, which was subsequently approved by the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs.