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Saudi wealth fund hires top QIA executive

Bankhurst, who had been chief development officer of Qatari firm’s realty arm, started working at the Public Investment Fund in June

Gulf News

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund hired the head of Qatar Investment Authority’s real estate arm as its chief development officer earlier this year amid plans to invest billions of dollars in tourism and property projects, according to people familiar with the matter.

Greg Bankhurst, formerly chief executive officer of Qatari Diar, joined the Public Investment Fund, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Bankhurst started working at the fund in June, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Jayson Miragliotta also joined as executive director of master planning in August, the people said. He previously held roles at Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC and Majid Al Futtaim, according to Miragliotta’s LinkedIn profile.

A spokesman for the fund didn’t respond to requests for comment.

PIF, as the wealth fund is known, has quickly risen to international prominence with a series of headline-grabbing investments. Recent deals include an agreement to commit $20 billion (Dh73.46 billion) to an infrastructure fund managed by Blackstone Group LP, as much as $45 billion in a technology fund run by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, and a $3.5 billion investment in Uber Technologies Inc.

The fund could have assets of as much as $2 trillion once ownership of oil company Saudi Aramco is transferred, according to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Under a reform programme he has spearheaded, the PIF is being transformed from a largely domestic-focused holding company into an international powerhouse.

Domestic investments

Even as the PIF starts an overseas investment drive, it will remain a significant player in Saudi Arabia. Between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of shares in Saudi Aramco will be invested in the kingdom, Prince Mohammad said in May.

A significant part of the domestic investments will be in real estate. The PIF will spearhead an 18 billion-riyal ($4.8 billion; Dh17.6 billion) plan to redevelop the Jeddah waterfront on the Red Sea and will also set up companies to develop projects in Makkah and Medina.

It’s also creating a $2.7 billion company to invest in the country’s entertainment sector, and will be the main backer of a 334 square-kilometre cultural, sports and entertainment city to be built south-west of Riyadh.