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Lazard Boosts Riyadh Banking Hub For MENA Region With New CEO Hire

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(Bloomberg) —

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Lazard Ltd. hired Wassim Al-Khatib as chief executive officer for the firm’s advisory business in the Middle East and North Africa, and the boutique investment bank plans to make Riyadh its regional banking hub.

Al-Khatib, the former head of Citigroup Inc. in Saudi Arabia, will also be CEO of Lazard Saudi Arabia, according to a statement, confirming a Bloomberg News report. Prior to that Al-Khatib was the head of investment banking at NCB Capital, where he was one of the key bankers involved in Saudi Aramco’s mammoth initial public offering.

Read More: Lazard Set to Hire Key Aramco IPO Banker From Citigroup

Investment banks are expanding in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom embarks on a plan to diversify its economy away from oil by selling stakes in state-owned companies and investing in new industries. The country is also trying to become the region’s main business and finance hub.

The oil-rich kingdom is also becoming an increasingly important market for Lazard. The investment bank is advising on financing options for Neom, a $500 billion high-tech city under construction in northwestern Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reported in November. In September, the firm named Saudi stock exchange chair Sarah Al-Suhaimi as chair of its financial advisory business in the Middle East and North Africa.

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