Apr 30, 2018
“The question is not where KHC is as a company right now, or even what it has achieved to date. The big question is what the future holds, and if we can continue to deliver the same spectacular level of growth and success? The simple answer is ‘yes’, and furthermore we’re well placed to even exceed what has been achieved before.” Alwaleed Bin Talal – Chairman
The central figure behind KHC, one of the world’s unrivalled international holding companies, is His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia. Named twice by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s most intelligent and creative investors, Prince Alwaleed sets the agenda for KHC’s world operations, providing a guiding vision which has seen remarkable success and worldwide recognition.
The grandson of two of the Arab world’s most celebrated figures – King Abdul-Aziz Alsaud, founder and first ruler of Saudi Arabia and HE. Riad El Solh, iconic statesman in Lebanon’s drive for independence – Prince Alwaleed has always been inspired by the uncommon achievements of his family line.
In addition to the Prince’s business interests, HRH funds a series of highly respected charitable foundations aimed at affecting social change and providing relief and opportunities to those in need. In recognition for this important contribution, Prince Alwaleed has been the recipient of many honors and accolades from esteemed organizations, societies, monarchs and heads of state worldwide.
In 1979, Prince Alwaleed formed his own company, Kingdom Establishment for Commerce and Trade – the company that would, in 1996, become KHC. Having completed his first major deal, Prince Alwaleed chose to invest the profits into Riyadh real estate – a shrewd decision that, in many ways, proved to be the foundation KHC’s success.
While analyzing other opportunities for potential value, Prince Alwaleed began to investigate the Saudi banking sector. In 1988, the company acquired a controlling stake in the ailing United Saudi Commercial Bank (USCB). With a change in management and the Prince’s guidance, USCB’s fortunes were rapidly transformed, becoming the most profitable Saudi Arabian commercial bank in just one year. With stocks in USCB having multiplied twenty-fold, the Prince negotiated a merger with the struggling Saudi Cairo Bank to create the United Saudi Bank (USB). Prince Alwaleed then began to view the dominant Saudi American Bank (SAMBA) as a source of managerial strength and leadership that could add real value to USB. In 1999, the merger was completed, forming one of the largest banking groups in the region.
In the early 1990s it was almost unthinkable that a Saudi Arabian, and a Royal at that, would burst onto the global banking investment scene from seemingly nowhere – but in 1991 that is exactly what happened. Effecting a significant coup that would catapult him into the global spotlight, HRH invested heavily in Citibank (subsequently Citigroup) stocks in a bold move that surprised many. That surprise rapidly turned into admiration as the Prince’s guidance helped restore the banking giant to full health, returning it to its place as the world’s leading financial institution. Prince Alwaleed’s investment in Citigroup has since delivered an extraordinary level of return, and represents the largest proportion of HRH’s personal wealth.
Whilst the banking sector is an important part of Prince Alwaleed’s long-term investment strategy, KHC is always looking to expand his operations to other markets. Accordingly, KHC has acquired substantial interests in other sectors including hotels, real estate, media, broadcasting, entertainment, information technology, communications, fashion retail, supermarkets, health and education.
To learn more about KHC’s diverse portfolio of holdings by sector, please visit our investment sectors homepage.
Alwaleed Philanthropies supports and initiates projects around the world, regardless of gender, race or religion. We collaborate with a range of philanthropic, governmental and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and the youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief and create cultural understanding through education. Together, we can build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant and accepting world.
Since the early 1980s, His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has worked with a tireless commitment to give back to society – at both a local and global level. With an endless passion for philanthropic activities that foster understanding, unity, wellbeing and opportunity for all humankind, Alwaleed Philanthropies was born.
Alwaleed Philanthropies consists of three philanthropic organizations: Alwaleed Philanthropies Global, focusing on philanthropic and humanitarian projects around the world, Alwaleed Philanthropies Lebanon, which is focused on the social and community needs of Lebanon, and Alwaleed Philanthropies Saudi Arabia, which focuses on the needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
For over 35 years, we have supported thousands of projects in over 90 countries and served millions of people across the globe.
And our work is only just beginning.
With the mounting problems of understanding, equity, poverty and disasters facing the world, our work is more necessary than ever before. Building on our proven history, we will continue to play an active role, finding intelligent solutions to the world’s most pressing issues with empathy, dedication and commitment.
HRH PRINCE ALWALEED – PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY
As the grandson of both the beloved first King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul-Aziz and HE. Riad El Solh, the iconic statesman in Lebanon’s drive for independence and its first Prime Minister, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was born to a family of exceptional achievement. The Prince’s reputation extends well beyond the borders of the Middle East as a result of his high profile involvement in Kingdom Holding Company – one of the world’s most successful investment companies.
As a man of significant wealth and influence, Prince Alwaleed is humbled when people look to him for advice and guidance on issues such as religion, global peace and how society should adapt to best meet the challenges of the 21st Century. In his work both as a entrepreneur and Saudi Royal, Prince Alwaleed has been fortunate enough to travel to over 150 countries worldwide, meeting over 250 heads of state and world leaders in the process. These experiences have profoundly affected the Prince in both his personal outlook and philosophy – he believes that it is his duty as a devout Muslim to use his influence and connections to promote understanding and peace between people, and to improve the lives and prospects of those in need, regardless of nationality, race or creed.
Prince Alwaleed is a lifelong student of Islam, and proud to live his life in respect to the five pillars of the religion. The Prince spends a great deal of time reading the holy Qur’an and meditating on its teachings as part of a personal quest to understand the words of the Prophet (PBUH) and correctly interpret this wisdom for the modern world. The Prince describes himself as being religiously conservative, but with a liberal outlook on the social and cultural aspects of contemporary Islam. For instance, Prince Alwaleed is a keen supporter of women’s rights, and is working towards improving female prospects across the Arab world through his foundations.
Prince Alwaleed firmly believes in the Qur’an’s teachings about peace and tolerance. It is his opinion that all religious beliefs are valid and should be respected as such. One of Prince Alwaleed’s lifetime aims is to initiate meaningful dialogue and discussion between Islam and other world cultures to diffuse unnecessary tensions and set a path towards openness, understanding and peace. The Prince has been outraged by the violent actions of an extreme minority that have so hatefully obscured the dignity and peaceful teachings of Islam, and is determined to use his high profile to support peace and initiate positive change for every citizen of the world.
This article was first published in Kingdom