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In-house: Saudi Aramco names new general counsel as IPO looms

The world’s biggest oil company, Saudi Aramco, has appointed Nabeel Al Mansour (pictured) as its new general counsel ahead of a potential IPO set to make it the world’s first trillion-dollar business.

Al Mansour took the top legal job at Saudi Arabia’s state owned oil company on 1 May as part of a wider management shake-up. He replaces David Kultgen as general counsel after six years at the helm.

The move sees Al Mansour promoted after less than a year as deputy general counsel, with the company’s top lawyer becoming one of just eight members of Saudi Aramco’s supreme council setting the company’s broadest policy and objectives. Kultgen, who moves up to senior vice president as part of the management reshuffle, remains on the supreme council.

Al Mansour, the first Saudi to hold the general counsel post at Saudi Aramco, inherits a legal team that has nearly tripled in size since 2010. Between 2010 and 2015 the company has heavily invested in local lawyers, growing from a team of 44 lawyers and support staff in Dhahran to 119 last year. The oil giant, which controls around 10% of the world’s oil output, also has lawyers in Houston, The Hague and Beijing.

The management changes come amid Saudi Arabia’s plans to float 10% of the company for $100bn in a bid to create a war chest for non-oil assets as the country looks to cut its addiction to oil. Scheduled to take place in the next two years, the blockbuster sale will easily be larger than the world’s biggest IPO to date, which was set by Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba in 2014.

Prior to becoming deputy general counsel in October 2015, Al Mansour had a three-year stint as associate general counsel. He has led a number of initiatives at the oil giant, spearheading its natural gas initiative and leading on the negotiation of the country’s oil concession agreement with Chevron.