Just a few short days after Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister lost half of his purview, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih has lost his role as chairman of the board for Saudi Aramco, Al Falih announced on Twitter Monday.
Al Falih will step down from his role as chairman in Aramco’s attempt to avoid a conflict of interest in the runup to its much-hyped, much-anticipated IPO. Now Aramco will be officially separated from the Ministry of Energy.
But the real reason could have more to do with Al Falih’s policies, specifically in how those policies conflict with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Al Falih has long been leery of New York as a possible listing venue for the oil giant, but MBS still has his eye on this IPO host.
Al Falih’s replacement as chairman of the board is Yasser Bin Osman Al-Rumayan, current head of the Saudi Wealth Fund, the body that will be the recipient of any incoming funds from the IPO.
“ I congratulate my brother, Mr. Yasser Bin Osman Al-Rumayan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund, on his appointment as Chairman of Saudi Aramco's Board of Directors, which comes as an important step to prepare the company for the IPO, and we hope him with all the best and success,” Al Falih said on Twitter.
Just days ago, Al Falih issued a similar congratulations to Bandar Al-Kharif, his replacement as the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, which Saudi Arabia split off from the Minister of Energy on Friday. Al Falih will still head the Minister of Energy, but with half of the responsibility.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s success at spearheading the OPEC+ production quotas, Al Falih has likely drawn scrutiny from his former role as chairman of Aramco with oil prices still struggling.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.