Aramco is quite simply unaffected by the Kingdom’s political and economic shortcomings. The company’s strategic importance insulates it from the power plays that serve to threaten most quasi political bodies, arguing the case that institutional independence can exist in the Saudi setting. Of course, its biggest test may yet come in the form of an emboldened Crown Prince.
Eagle Capital’s CEO is in close proximity to some of Egypt’s most influential decision makers. After a brief spell in government that ended in 2017, the extent of her pursuits became unknown; she is now emerging as a key executive in the media sphere, with elites heavily invested in her dealings.
Long uneasy with the threat posed by a free and independent media, Cairo’s power players are finding new ways to bring the press to heel. Sources reveal that corporate entities linked to the intelligence services may be an unlikely tool for the regime, as it seeks to stifle the media sector for good.
Ahmed Al Khatib has made a name for himself after a rapid rise to prominence under King Salman. His access to happenings in Riyadh are unrivalled and there is little this middle-aged executive does not touch; even a series of controversial episodes are no longer enough to remove him from the forefront.
Evidence points to a shift in the landscape of Saudi Arabia’s defence sector. Traditional arteries of state prestige are no longer what they once were, as the new elite continue to consolidate their grip over state institutions. The establishment of a military holding looks set to ‘corporatize’ defence contracts in favour of Riyadh’s new power players.
Abu Dhabi has a new poster boy. Khalifa bin Butti is believed to sit on over U.S. $1.5 billion worth of assets, after starting his career in energy company ADNOC, and is thought to be the youngest billionaire in the Emirates. Track his commercial network and find what underpins his success.
Almost ten years to the day since sanctioning the purchase of Manchester City Football Club, Mansour bin Zayed continues to fly under the proverbial radar. His influence is best understood through the high-level positions he holds, most notably via a strong presence in Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds.
The maritime sector has been central to Dubai’s economic diversification away from its modest petroleum reserves. Overseeing the Emirate’s ports and free zones is Sultan bin Sulayem; a confidant and close friend of the Emir, Sultan has experienced both ups and downs but evidence points towards his enduring influence.
With approximately 40 years separating his eldest and youngest children, King Salman’s lineage is intriguing. A cadre of sons and grandsons are known to have acquired prestige since his coronation in 2015 but there are a series of influential business and political personalities attached to the King that fly under the radar.
As the face of wealth in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, Alwaleed bin Talal is the envy of many. Connections to the power core afforded him great prestige in his rise to the top but he has since strayed from the accepted line; an act that will not be tolerated under King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammed.
It’s not all about Aramco. SABIC lives in the shadow of its energy cousin in Saudi’s corporate landscape, but evidence suggests that it may be of equal strategic value to Riyadh’s power players. As the path towards diversification continues, investors are advised to become familiar with SABIC.
Among the multitude of foreign actors vying for influence in Iraq is Russia. Western influence is on the wane as Moscow ups its efforts to engage the political elite; energy companies with ties to the Kremlin are central to this, spearheading a strategy of ‘commercial diplomacy’.