Saudi king appoints new governors for Madinah and Eastern Province

In a move that signals bringing in a younger generation of leadership, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz appointed Monday new governors for the oil-producing Eastern Province and for Madinah, the second holiest city in Islam, the Royal Court said in a statement.

Prince Faisal bin Salman, who is chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), was named as the governor of Madinah Region with the rank of minister.

Prince Faisal replaced Prince Abdulaziz bin Majed, who had earlier asked to be relieved from his post, according to the Royal Court statement published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

In another order, King Abdullah appointed Prince Saud bin Naif as governor of the Eastern Province, also with the rank of minister.

Prince Saud replaced Prince Mohammed bin Fahd, who had also asked to be relieved, according the Royal Court's statement.

Prince Saud is the older brother of Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. After serving as ambassador to Spain, Prince Saud was recalled to Riyadh to serve at the Court of his late father, Crown Prince Nayef, who was also an interior minister.

The 57-year-old prince is the head ofthe Crown Prince Court and special advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince.

The 43-year-old new Madinah governor Prince Faisal is an Oxford University graduate and a Chairman of the largest publishing company in the Middle East, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). He is the fifth son ofSalman bin Abdulaziz, who is the Minister of Defense since November 2011 and Crown Prince since June 2012.

Arabian Business magazine named him as “The Man of the Year” in 2004 and after five years, he was named as the Media Personality of the Year by the Arab Media Forum.

Monday’s royal decisions were the second major move in less than a week by King Abdullah to inject new blood in the kingdom’s decision-making bodies.

On Friday, King Abdullah issued a historic decree allowing women to be members of the kingdom’s previously all-male Shura Council for the first time.

The decree amended two article in the council’s statute introducing a 20 percent quota for women in the country’s 150-member Shura Council. The subsequently king appointed 30 women to join the consultative assembly.

Last Update: Monday, 14 January 2013 KSA 19:04 - GMT 16:04