Saudi monarch names first woman to Sama board

Sheila Alrowaily named as one of three new non-executive directors

Exterior of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
Light Touch Studio

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority confirmed on June 8 that Sheila Alrowaily has become the first woman to sit on its board. Saudi king Mohammed Bin Salman appointed Alrowaily, an experienced fund manager, as part of a renewal of the private sector members of the Sama board.

Alrowaily has worked at Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, since 1998. She was director of the investment management department between 2009 and 2019. Since January 2019, she has been CEO of Wisayah, an Aramco subsidiary that manages the company’s pension funds.

She has MBAs from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Business in the US.

The Saudi government also appears to have appointed two other non-executive directors: Abdullah Hassan Alabdulqader, chair of the Saudi Telecom Group and Rashed bin Abdulaziz Al-Humaid. Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arab daily, described Al-Hamid as CEO and chair of the Al-Rashed Al-Hamid Group, who had held positions in the banking sector. Neither man was named as a director in Sama’s 2021 annual report.

The government also reappointed two previously serving directors: Hamad Al-Sayyari, Sama’s governor between 1983 and 2009, and Khaled Al-Juffali, chair of thealthcare conglomerate ReAya Group.

The Sama board has seven members: the governor, deputy governor and five non-executive directors. The governor and minister of finance propose candidates for the non-executive director posts, and the monarch appoints them for seven-year terms. Fahad Al-Mubarak took office as governor in January 2021.

Salman’s rule has included notable improvements in the representation and legal rights of Saudi women. The government granted women the right to obtain driving licences in 2017, and the right to operate businesses independently in 2018.

Saudi Arabia pegs its currency to the US dollar.

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