World's 100 Most Powerful Arabs 2014
Wed 26 Mar 2014 03:56 PM
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud

Company: Kingdom Holding

Designation: Chairman

Country: Saudi Arabia

Next year will see the Prince turn 60, but if you think that will mean him slowing down, you better think again. As the founder and boss of Kingdom Holding says: “The question is not where KHC is as a company right now, or even what it has achieved to date. The big question is what the future holds, and if we can continue to deliver the same spectacular level of growth and success? The simple answer is ‘yes’, and furthermore we’re well placed to even exceed what has been achieved before.”

In the early 1990s it was almost unthinkable that a Saudi Arabian, and a Royal at that, would burst onto the global banking investment scene from seemingly nowhere — but in 1991 that is exactly what happened. Effecting a significant coup that would catapult him into the global spotlight, HRH invested heavily in Citibank (subsequently Citigroup) stocks in a bold move that surprised many. That surprise rapidly turned into admiration as the Prince’s guidance helped restore the banking giant to full health, returning it to its place as the world’s leading financial institution. Prince Alwaleed’s investment in Citigroup has since delivered an extraordinary level of return, and represents the largest proportion of HRH’s $30bn plus wealth.

But that was just the beginning: today Kingdom Holding is a major player in 13 different sectors. He has stakes in everything from Newscorp to Twitter. He is not just one of the world’s most successful businessmen ever, but with more than $3bn given to good causes, one of the most prolific philanthropists on the planet.

Banking on success

Prince Alwaleed’s investment in Citigroup represents the largest proportion of HRH’s $30bn plus wealth.