Company: King Abdullah Economic City
Designation: CEO and managing director
Country: Saudi Arabia
Fahd Al Rasheed is coordinating the world’s largest construction project, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). The $100bn megaproject is being built from scratch about 100km north of Jeddah with an eventual capacity to host two million people.
At the centre of the city is King Abdullah Port, which is aiming to use its strategic location on the Red Sea, through which almost one-quarter of world shipping trade passes, to make it a game changer. Port manager Rayan Bukhari said in March it would steal trade from Dubai’s Jebel Ali, one of the largest in the world, by being cheaper and more efficient.
The city also includes an Industrial Valley, as well as residential communities, tech clusters, universities and hospitals. Haramain Station on the eastern side will link the city to Jeddah and the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Saudi Arabia’s latest high-speed rail network. A mega-mall also is being built near the station. KAEC already has provided about 12,000 jobs and more than 70 companies are in the process of setting up bases, including multinationals Mars, Pfizer and Danone, and local family giants Abdul Latif Jameel and the Naghi Group.
When it is finished, not likely until at least the middle of the next decade, KAEC is expected to be as big as Washington DC. But in an interview with Arabian Business last year, Al Rasheed shrugged off the pressure to perform.
“It’s fun — every day there’s something new, it fuels you,” he said. “This is my seventh year, and it’s amazing — I’m working harder than ever.”