The UK’s HSBC, which has one of the largest regional operations of any international bank, has appointed Mohammed al-Tuwaijri as the new head of its Middle East arm.

He replaces Simon Cooper, will become head of commercial banking for HSBC in October. Al-Tuwaijri, a Saudi national and former pilot in the Royal Saudi Air Force, is currently regional head of global banking and markets at the UK lender.

Previously, he was head of JP Morgan in Saudi Arabia, and prior to that he held several senior roles at Sabb, HSBC’s Saudi affiliate. He rejoined HSBC in 2010.

Sources close to the bank say Al-Tuwaijri is a rising star within HSBC. “Al-Tuwaijri is definitely a person to watch within HSBC, and he has a lot of support from [HSBC group chief executive] Stuart Gulliver,” says one former HSBC executive.