Governor Fahad Abdullah Al-Mubarak of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has experienced the toughest reign in over two decades at the central bank giant. Al-Mubarak is tasked to manage a decline in foreign reserves from low oil prices and growing government spending. Appointed by the previous Saudi King, Al-Mubarak comes from the private sector where he was chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley’s Saudi Arabian division. This bucks traditions of promoting internally at SAMA (his predecessor Muhammad Al-Jasser served in other SAMA roles before becoming governor.) Al-Mubarak is an expert in private markets and has navigated the privatizations of Saudi Telecom and others. He was also chairman of the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul.)
Al-Mubarak quickly became known as a master networker, a reputation that grew when he became engaged with more Saudi businesses. For six years, he was a member of the Shura Council, a respected consultative body which advises the Kingdom on various matters. He was vice chairman of its economic and energy committee.
Al-Mubarak is from Hofuf in the Kingdom’s eastern province of Al Ahsa. A stark contrast from Buraidah region, north of Riyadh, where many Saudi bureaucrats come from. Like many central bank governors, Al-Mubarak started his career in academia. He was an Assistant Professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.