Goldman Bankers Join Saudi Media Group With Global Ambitions

Saudi Research & Marketing Group hired two bankers from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the Gulf as one of the Middle East’s biggest media companies shakes up its senior ranks and looks to bolster its regional and global presence.

Mohamed Nazer, who most recently served as executive director for Goldman in Riyadh, became the firm’s new chief financial officer earlier this year, according to his Linkedin profile. The Saudi company also named Abdulaziz Altayar, previously an associate for the U.S. bank in Dubai, as its new head of corporate development, said people familiar with the matter.

A Goldman spokesman declined to comment on the departures.

Although SRMG didn’t comment on the new hires, Group Chief Executive Officer Jumana Alrashed said the firm’s “continued development means both retaining our top talent, as well as attracting the best available talent, including new, distinguished members of our senior executive team.”

Riyadh-listed SRMG replaced its CEO in October, naming former media adviser Alrashed as the first woman to lead the company. The media conglomerate counts London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper and the Arabic, Urdu, Turkish and Farsi franchises of The Independent newspaper among titles in its portfolio.

Bloomberg has an agreement to provide business content to Asharq News, a Dubai-based Arabic news service launched by the company last year.

‘Transformation Plans’

“SRMG has ambitious expansion and digital transformation plans,” Alrashid said in a statement. “The media landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and our growth strategy will enable SRMG to consolidate its regional position, while advancing its global presence.”

Goldman’s Middle East operation has seen a number of personnel changes over the past year and a half, including the departure of regional investment-banking head Hazem Shawki for Credit Suisse Group AG and the relocation of dealmaker Fabrice Francois from Dubai to London.

The U.S. bank named Fadi Abuali and Zaid Khaldi as co-chief executive officers for the Middle East and North Africa after Wassim Younan, the regional CEO, retired at the end of 2020.

In October, Goldman resolved a New York lawsuit by two Abu Dhabi investment funds who blamed the bank for financial losses stemming from the fraud and bribery scandal at Malaysia’s 1MDB state investment fund. The fallout from the corruption scandal resulted in the bank losing out on some lucrative mandates in Abu Dhabi, once one of its key regional markets.

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