Former Qatari PM replaced as head of sovereign wealth fund

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Qatar’s former prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, has been replaced as deputy head of the country’s powerful sovereign wealth fund in a restructuring move ordered by the country’s new emir, the state news agency reported.

Ahmad al-Sayed has been appointed chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the gas-rich nation’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar News Agency said on Tuesday, citing a royal decree.

Sayed was previously chief executive at Qatar Holding, the fund’s investment arm.

Qatar’s new emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will chair the fund. Qatar’s new Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi and new Economy and Trade Minister Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohamedal-Thani were named to the new administrative council, it said.

Sayed was general counsel at the QIA before heading Qatar Holding.

In his late thirties, he is viewed as a hard negotiator on deals and has been the primary point man for top bankers and fund managers pitching investment ideas to the sovereign fund, widely seen as one of the world's most aggressive investors.

His elevation to the top role of the sovereign wealth fund is an indication that the new Emir is keen to hand over responsibilities to the young generation in the Gulf state.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani was widely thought to have stayed on as chief executive role at the fund. He was also the chairman of Qatar Holding.

“When the new Emir took over there was a lot of talk in Qatar about how talented youngsters will be placed in key positions. This is a big example of that,” one Dubai-based banking source said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to business ties with the sovereign fund.

“I don't see much change to its opportunistic strategy under al-Sayed. These are savvy deal makers and they now have the experience of having worked on large deals.”