PIF makes leadership changes

HiringSaudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is on the search for three new senior executives after the departure of three senior executives in as many months. According to a Bloomberg report, the PIF has seen its head of investment risk, Hassan Chehime, head of risk, Martin Botha, and chief strategy officer, Dennis Johnson, all depart since the beginning of 2020. Botha has cited personal reasons for his departure. Johnson is the second head of strategy to leave his post in as many years following the 2018 exit of his predecessor, Eric Ebermeyer. Meanwhile Chehime has departed after less than a year in his role while Martin Botha was one of the first senior executives appointed by the fund upon its establishment in 2016. The departures also follow a number of senior appointments made by the fund at the end of 2019. These included the hiring of the former head of business development at Saudi investment bank NCB Capital, Jerry Todd, to run the fund’s strategy. The PIF has stated that its staff turnover is “exceptionally low” and “well below both industry and Mena regional averages”. It has also expanded quickly in the last five years, from 40 employees in 2016 to more than 700 in 2020. Furthermore, the fund has added 15 senior executives from both Saudi Arabia and international business centres, it stated. Nevertheless, the departures have raised concerns about governance at the fund and whether there are the appropriate controls for a fund with more than $300 billion of assets under management (AuM). The fund is currently run by governor Yasir Al-Rumavyan but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has an active role and has repeatedly claimed that he wants the fund to have more than $2 trillion in AuM by 2030. © 2020 funds global mena

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