Saudi Arabia’s PIF names top business chiefs for Future Investment Initiative

Saudi Arabia’s PIF names top business chiefs for Future Investment Initiative
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference held in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 26, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 29 August 2018

Saudi Arabia’s PIF names top business chiefs for Future Investment Initiative

Saudi Arabia’s PIF names top business chiefs for Future Investment Initiative
  • Health care, urban futures and immersive tech among themes
  • Event will run from Oct. 23 to 25 in Riyadh

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has named a top team of global business chiefs that will help steer the agenda of the Kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative (FII).
The event debuted in the Kingdom last year and reflected the government’s economic reform agenda, showcasing developments such as NEOM and providing a platform for the country’s push into high-tech sectors, including robotics and artificial intelligence.
For many delegates, the highlight of last year’s gathering, nicknamed ‘Davos in the desert,’ was the apperance of a lifelike robot called "Sophia" who addressed the audience.
The second edition of the event will run from Oct. 23 to 25 in Riyadh and will focus on how investment can be used to fuel innovation and shape future economies.
Among the business leaders that will form the FII advisory board are Emaar Properties founder Mohamed Ali Alabbar, Blackstone boss Stephen Schwarzman and Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank Group.
Lubna Olayan, the CEO of Olayan Financing Company is the only Saudi Arabia-based business leader named on the board and one of three women that will help shape the event — alongside Arianna Huffington and Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments.
Joe Kaser, the CEO of Siemens represents the world of engineering while other board members include Mastercard chief Ajay Banga, Victor Chu, the chairman of First Eastern Investment Group, Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Credit Suisse Group and Peter Thiel, co-founder of the Founders Fund
“Last year’s inaugural Future Investment Initiative made it clear that this is an essential stop on the global business calendar, particularly for anyone interested in a truly international perspective on innovations and forward thinking from all parts of the world,” said Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global. “Since then, the pace of change has only accelerated, making an even stronger case for how vital this unique gathering of leaders is for advancing our human potential. And I’m very much looking forward to working with the FII 2018 team to shape an agenda that not only showcases the best emerging ideas but helps us take meaningful action on a global scale.”
This year’s FII will include three summits looking at new health care frontiers, immersive technologies and the urban future.
Saudi Arabia is attracting increased interest from multinationals and investment groups following a string of reforms that form part of its Vision 2030 blueprint for economic diversification.
Investment companies are also establishing offices since the Tadawul opened itself to direct investment by foreign institutions in mid-2015.
That has attracted international names such as BlackRock, Citigroup, HSBC and Ashmore Group.