Citigroup Saudi Arabia recently held its first board meeting of the year, marking its one-year anniversary in the Kingdom. The board comprises Citi senior executives and independent directors, including Alberto J. Verme, chairman of Citi Institutional Clients Group and chairman of Citigroup Saudi Arabia; Atiq Rehman, CEO of Middle East and Africa; Carmen Haddad, Citi country officer, Saudi Arabia and vice chairperson, Citigroup Saudi Arabia; Naveed Kamal, corporate banking head, MENA; Mutlaq H. Al-Morished, chief executive of Tasnee; and Omar Almohammady, chief executive of Alhokair Group.
The meeting discussed the business strategy and performance of Citigroup Saudi Arabia, followed by a high-level client roundtable led by a senior Citi speaker on disruptive innovation, digital banking, challenges in cybersecurity and technological changes.
“As we enter our second year of operation in the Kingdom we are on track with our stated plans to be part of the Kingdom’s economic transformation,” said Verme. “We look forward to continuing our journey of serving our clients and working closely with our partners and regulators under Vision 2030.”
In April 2017, the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (CMA) granted Citi a license to provide a range of investment banking, debt and equity capital markets, markets, and securities research capabilities to its local and international institutional clients. This was followed by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority’s investment license in May 2017, and by CMA’s commencement letter. In April 2018, Citi announced the official opening of its new offices in Riyadh, located at the Kingdom Tower and has since led on a number of key capital markets transactions. Most recently, Citi received the permission to provide cash equity and custody services.
“Today’s board meeting comes at the heels of receiving the recent upgrade to the CMA license to provide equity and custody services, a testament to our ongoing efforts to provide comprehensive banking solutions on the ground,” said Haddad. “We are charging ahead with our strategy of establishing a value-added presence and being a responsible corporate citizen.”
Citi also announced its renewed commitment to supporting the “Skills for Success: Employability Program” with AMIDEAST, through a regional grant worth $400,000 targeting youth in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The partnership is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress approach designed to prepare urban youth with the career readiness tools and opportunities to thrive in today’s economy.
In 2019, the partnership is expected to impact 54 more unemployed Saudi university graduates aged 20-24, who are residing in Riyadh and who want to enhance their employability skills to find a job. The program launched in 2018 and has concluded the first phase of training in business English and personal skills for 73 female youth, with the majority of the graduates slated to intern with corporate entities in Saudi Arabia.
“We are proud to partner with AMIDEAST and to invest in youth in the region through targeted empowerment programs,” said Haddad. “Such programs catalyze economic growth through Citi Foundation grants and in partnership with reputed regional NGOs.”