JEDDAH: King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday named Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the Kingdom’s prime minister and appointed Prince Khalid bin Salman defense minister in a Cabinet reshuffle by royal decree.
The crown prince had previously been defense minister, and Prince Khalid was deputy defense minister. King Salman will continue to chair Cabinet meetings that he attends, the decree said.
The other major appointment in the reshuffle was that of Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Bunyan, chief executive of the Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC, as minister of education.
The ministers who retain their portfolios are the Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of Investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, and Minister of Finance Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan.
Prince Abdullah bin Bandar also remains as Minister of the National Guard, Walid Al-Samaani stays in his role as Minister of Justice, and Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh remains as Minister of Islamic Affairs.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan retains his post as Minister of Culture, and Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal keeps his role as Minister of Sports.
Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah will also stay in his role as Minister of Hajj and Umrah, and Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi also remains as Minister of Commerce.
Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef remains as Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Ahmed Al-Khateeb as Minister of Tourism, Faisal bin Fadhil Alibrahim as Minister of Economy and Planning, and Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Jalajel as Minister of Health.
The new defense minister, Prince Khalid, is a former Saudi ambassador to Washington. He graduated from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The prince received his initial pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and advanced training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. He also studied advanced electronic warfare in France.
Previously, he was an F-15 pilot and tactical intelligence officer in the RSAF. Before a back injury ended his flying career, Prince Khaled flew more than 50 combat missions as part of the international coalition campaign against Daesh in Syria, and the Decisive Storm and Renewal of Hope operations in Yemen.