RIYADH: France has awarded the Kingdom’s Khalid Al-Hogail, CEO of the Saudi Public Transport Co., with its prestigious Legion d’honneur for fostering ties between the two nations.
French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille presented the award to Al-Hogail at a ceremony in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter recently.
Sharing photos of the ceremony on Twitter, SAPTCO stated: “On behalf of the French president, the French ambassador to the Kingdom honors Khalid Al-Hogail, CEO of SAPTCO, who received the medal of the Legion of Honor with the rank of knight.”
In his speech, Pouille said the Legion of Honor recognizes the work of individuals who have sought to strengthen ties with France.
The Legion of Honor is regarded as one of France’s most prestigious civic awards. It was instituted in 1820 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It was previously awarded only to soldiers, but later to civilians who had distinguished themselves in the name of France in various disciplines, including sports and culture.
Al-Hogail received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from King Saud University in 1986 and opted for a professional career focused on transport and logistics. Since 2006, he has been the CEO of SAPTCO and has contributed to the development of the public transport sector, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.
He has been an active member of the Franco-Saudi Economic Council since 2012 and has contributed to promoting and strengthening business relations between the countries.
In 2021, Al-Hogail became president of the International Association of Public Transport, a global network that brings together all modes of transport. Al-Hogail is the first man of Arab origin to hold this position and the second from a non-European country since the creation of this association 135 years ago.
Pouille said the history of the Saudi-French relationship goes back to the meeting between King Faisal and French President Charles de Gaulle in 1967.
Ever since, relations between the two countries have evolved through personal contacts and visits at the highest level, and now the two countries enjoy a cordial and close relationship, which has gained momentum in recent years with the increasing pace of bilateral visits.
King Salman and France’s former President Francois Hollande played a crucial role in strengthening the two nations’ global strategic partnership. In May 2015, the two leaders adopted an ambitious action plan to boost bilateral relations.