Sulaiman Al Muhaidib is the chairman of the Savola Group, by far Saudi Arabia’s biggest food producer. After a share transaction earlier this year, Al Muhaidib’s family firm now controls just over 14 percent of Savola.
Al Muhaidib Group was founded in 1946 by the late Abdulkadir Al Muhaidib, who concentrated on the trading of steel and cement. Today, under the stewardship of chairman Sulaiman, Abdulkadir’s son, the group is one of the most prominent diversified conglomerates in the region.
The group entered into the food products industry in 1959, marketing and distributing rice. And although this sector has remained the fastest-growing within the group, allowing the company to expand its portfolio to include other grains and eventually leading to the establishment of a retail outlet chain, Giant Stores, the group relates its overall success to diversification. By maintaining a presence in various independent economic sectors, the company is banking on the fact that poorly performing sectors will be boosted by more robustly performing ones.
And it has certainly diversified in the 63 years since its inception. With over 200 companies and investments in its portfolio, AMG covers sectors including financial and investment services, industrial goods and services, consumer goods and services, real estate, energy and utilities, among others. Among AMG’s portfolio companies and investments are flagship Saudi firms including Amwal Al Khaleej.
Married with three children, Saudi-born businessman and politician Hariri is the wealthiest in his family, and a huge achiever in the Arab world. After graduating from the McDonough School of Business, he continued to meet the family’s high expectations, and in November 2009, at the age of 40, was sworn in as Lebanon’s prime minister.
Raised in Saudi Arabia, Saad managed part of Rafiq Hariri’s business until his father’s assassination in 2005, when he returned home to follow him into politics and became an elected Member of Parliament (MP). As the general manager of Saudi Oger — the family’s $9bn construction company — he had huge success winning large projects, and helping build the company up to what it is today. But never one to put all his eggs in one basket, Hariri currently holds large stakes in a number of large firms. Solidere, for example, has rebuilt much of Beirut. Following the downturn, he admitted to revising the value of his construction portfolio, but has continued to push forward with a view to emerging from the recession successfully.