Citigroup Names Key Banker on Aramco IPO as Saudi CEO

Citigroup Inc. appointed Wassim Al Khatib as its chief executive officer in Saudi Arabia as the U.S. bank looks to boost its presence in the kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter.

Khatib will lead Citigroup’s investment banking and markets business in Saudi Arabia, where the New York-based lender has built up its operations since it returned in 2018 after a 13-year hiatus, said the people, asking not to be identified because the appointment hasn’t been made public. A spokesperson at Citigroup didn’t immediately respond to emails and calls seeking comment.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a critical component of our Middle East strategy and is an essential growth market for Citi globally,” the bank said in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg.

Al Khatib, previously head of investment banking at NCB Capital, was one of the key bankers on the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in 2019, the biggest ever after raising almost $30 billion. That deal was led by NCB Capital, along with Samba Capital and HSBC Holdings Plc’s Saudi unit, after the kingdom decided to focus on selling the shares to domestic investors and relegated the international banks on the IPO -- including Citigroup -- to more junior roles.

Al Khatib will take over from Majed Al Hassoun, who was the interim chief executive and will continue in his role as Citigroup’s head of investment banking for Saudi Arabia.

International banks have been expanding in Saudi Arabia as the country embarks on a plan to diversify its economy beyond oil and attract more foreign investment.

The country has become an increasingly important source of deal flow in the Middle East. Citigroup was one of the lenders on a $15 billion loan for the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund that closed last week. It’s also working on the planned IPO on the Saudi stock exchange of Acwa Power, people familiar told Bloomberg.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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