King Salman’s new team has accomplished administrators
The new Cabinet announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Thursday has several appointees who are accomplished administrators with vast experience and expertise in their fields. Azzam Al-Dakhil, the new minister of education, is also chief executive officer of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Charity Foundation (MISK). This is an organization founded by Prince Mohammed, who chairs its board of directors. The organization works to enhance intellectual capital in Saudi Arabia, to help build a creative, knowledgeable society that nurtures young and talented leaders through developmental, educational and cultural projects. Previously, Al-Dakhil held several top positions at a number of leading companies, including managing director and then chief executive officer of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group. Al-Dakhil holds a Ph.D. in project management from the United Kingdom, a master’s degree in architecture from California State University and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from King Saud University in Riyadh. He is an honorary fellow at the journalism department at London University. He has outstanding experience in executive management at leading companies in the private sector for more than 25 years. Born in 1959 in Makkah, he is married and has four sons. Adel Al-Toraifi, the new culture and information minister, served as the general manager of the Al-Arabiya television channel. He is a journalist, researcher, analyst and political commentator who appears regularly on regional and international news channels. He served as the editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat daily and Al-Majalla magazine. Before that, he was a writer at Al-Watan and Al-Riyadh. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Born on April 19, 1979, in the city of Buraidah, he completed a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and worked with Siemens at its headquarters in Germany, before moving to Britain after receiving a scholarship to study at the University of Birmingham. In 2007, he received a master’s degree in political science from the University of London, and a Master of Philosophy in Economics and International Politics in 2009. He received his Ph.D. for his thesis entitled, The Rise and Demise of Saudi-Iranian Rapprochement Between 1997 and 2009. As an opinion writer and commentator on the Middle East, his columns have appeared in many Arabic and foreign newspapers. He wrote a weekly political opinion column for Al-Riyadh newspaper, and a weekly column in Asharq Al-Awsat. In 2010, he was appointed editor in chief of Al-Majalla and was responsible for rebranding and restructuring the magazine after stopping its print publication. Al-Toraifi launched the digital version of the magazine in Arabic, English and Persian before starting a monthly print edition in Arabic with a new vision. In 2012, he was appointed deputy editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Prince Faisal bin Salman, the chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, promoted him to editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat in 2013, with the approval of the board of directors. He became the youngest person to hold the position. Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel, telecommunications and information technology minister, had been president of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) since July 2007. He was the governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission from March 2003 to July 2007. During his tenure at KACST, he held the rank of minister. Abdullah Al-Mansoor from KACST’s public relations office, said the former president was a “dynamic administrator” and wished him well in his new assignment. Mansour Al-Ghamdi, senior researcher at KACST for digital Arabic content, said Al-Suwaiyel has the right experience for the job. “The information sector is not new for Al-Suwaiyel. He will do well in his new post.” The digital Arabic content project is part of Al-Suwaiyel’s legacy at KACST, he said. Abdullah Al-Awad, manager of the KACST national center for stem cell technology, said Al-Suwaiyel had “worked hard to ensure the scientific and technological development of the country.” Born in Al-Mahad in 1950, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering systems from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in 1972, M.Sc. in 1975 and Ph.D. in computer science algorithms in 1979 from the University of Southern California. He worked at KFUPM as chairman of the systems engineering department, chairman of the computer science department, and dean of the computer science and engineering college. He was vice president for research from 1991 to 2003 at KACST. He is a board member of several organizations, the most recent being with Saudi Aramco since 2001. Al-Suwaiyel has conducted several courses in computer science, computational mathematics and data security at KFUPM and King Saud University. He has also published a series of conference and journal papers for international and regional organizations. His research interests are in the areas of computational complexity, cryptography and data security. Abdul Rahman Al-Sanad, who is the new president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, received his doctoral and master’s degrees from Imam Muhammad bin Saud University in comparative jurisprudence. He also completed his bachelor’s degree in Islamic law from Imam Muhammad bin Saud University, and another bachelor’s degree in computer science at King Saud University. He has held several senior managerial positions including director of the Islamic University of Madinah. He has been the dean of the higher institute of the judiciary, dean of distance learning, chairman of the department of comparative jurisprudence, and associate professor at the same university. Al-Sanad has published several books and is a member of a number of scientific and administrative committees.