Former Trump adviser joins Saudi Aramco Board of Directors

Mark Weinberger
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Updated 06 April 2020

Former Trump adviser joins Saudi Aramco Board of Directors

  • Mark Weinberger’s appointment brings the Aramco board to 11 members
  • Weinberger, who replaces Andrew Gould, also serves as a director on the boards of Johnson & Johnson and Metlife

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco has moved to strengthen its leadership team as the world’s biggest oil company faces a crucial period after its record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) last year.

It announced the appointment of Mark Weinberger, former chairman of Ernst & Young and adviser to four US presidents, to its board of directors.

Weinberger was a former adviser to President Donald Trump, whom he described as “open” and “verbal” in his attitude toward business leaders on the advisory councils of the early days of his presidency. As a former member of one of Trump’s now-disbanded advisory councils, he said the president was very positive in his dealings with business leaders. He also held posts in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Weinberger, who has a reputation as an advocate for corporate governance, said: “I am honored to be joining the board of Aramco at this important time in the company’s history and world events. I look forward to helping the board continue to make the most of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, and deliver value for all of Aramco’s shareholders.”



Aramco pulled off the biggest IPO in history last year in Riyadh.

He replaces Andrew Gould, who resigned from the board for personal reasons last month. Weinberger’s appointment brings the Aramco board to 11 members under chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and is the board’s fifth independent director.

Gould said: “I would like to extend my warm thanks and best wishes to my fellow board members, with whom I have been privileged to serve for over six years. I am honored to have been a part of Aramco during a truly transformational period in its history and I look forward with confidence to the company’s continued success.”

Al-Rumayyan welcomed Weinberger and thanked Gould for his dedication and contribution to the board.

Aramco pulled off the biggest IPO in history last year with the $1.7 trillion listing of shares on the Tadawul exchange in Riyadh. But it faces challenges in the face of falling demand and prices for crude because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This week Aramco will be involved in a crucial “virtual” summit of global oil leaders to discuss the market, along with representatives from the Russian oil industry and other world energy leaders.

The price of a barrel of crude oil fell by half after the collapse of the Saudi-Russian pact in Opec+, which coincided with a 30 percent collapse in demand for oil as global economies shut down.

Saudi-US relations face a challenging period as discussions over oil continue.

Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

Updated 04 June 2020

Greece readies revival of coronavirus-hit economy

  • Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product
  • Greece desperately needs to attract visitors this year

ATHENS: Greece geared up Thursday to revive its tourism-dependent economy, which shrank in the first quarter owing to measures against the coronavirus, the Elstat data agency said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to headline an event later in the day to unveil a national tourism campaign for the virus-shortened season.
He has already warned the country that the economy would fall into a “deep recession” this year before rebounding in 2021.
Tourism accounts for around 20 percent of Greek gross domestic product (GDP), so it is crucial that visitors be attracted back to the nation’s beaches and iconic island villages.
Toward that end, Greece has announced a ‘bridge phase’ between June 15 and 30, during which airports in Athens and Thessaloniki will receive regular passenger flights.
Other regional and island airports are to open on July 1.
Greece plans to impose a seven- to 14-day quarantine only on travelers from only the hardest-hit areas as identified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Sample tests will also be carried out at entry points for epidemiological purposes however.
Provisional data released by Elstat showed how important it is to get the tourism sector back on its feet.
GDP fell by 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the previous three months, and by 0.9 percent year-on-year, the data showed.
But data for March alone showed that month was not as bad as expected, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told a press conference.
Now, “Greece is opening its gates to the world under safe conditions for tourism workers, for residents of tourism destinations and of course, for our visitors,” he said.
With fewer than 180 coronavirus deaths among 11 million residents, Greece seeks to market itself as a healthy holiday destination.
On Tuesday, Athens said it was suspending flights to and from Qatar until June 15 after 12 people on a flight from Doha tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier Thursday, Greek media reported that a first batch of nearly 190 tests among residents of the Cycladic islands, one of Greece’s most popular destinations, had turned up negative.
The country desperately needs to attract visitors this year.
The latest finance ministry estimate suggests that for 2020 as a whole, business activity could drop by up to 13 percent from the level in 2019.
Between 2009 and 2018, Greece suffered its worst economic crisis in modern times, and had begun to slowly regain some of the lost ground before it was hit by the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
The country was shut down for six weeks, and the International Monetary Fund forecast in May that GDP would decline by 10 percent this year before growing by 5.5 percent in 2021.