Khalid al-Falih’s appointment to the position of CEO, will occur from 1 January 2009. It had been widely expected, with speculation growing in the last few years that Jumah, who has held the top job since 1995, would resign partly because of health concerns (MEED 10:8:07).

Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says Jumah had decided to retire after 13 years as CEO and 40 years in total at the company.

Al-Falih was promoted to the newly created post of executive vice-president of operations at Aramco in 2007. He was in control of several key business lines including exploration and production; refining, marketing and international; and operations services (MEED 4:1:08).

The new CEO faces a challenging time, balancing a boost in oil production to 12 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2009 at a time when oil demand has slumped because of global financial crisis.

Al-Falih joined Aramco in 1979 and has since managed the Ras Tanura refinery and the Petron joint venture in the Philippines. More recently, he has run the new business, exploration and gas venture divisions.