MEED List: Kaust leaders

11 December 2009

Twelve of the most influential figures in the development and administration of Kaust: Ali al-Ajmi, Najah Ashry, David Keyes, Charles Kingdon, Mohamed al-Mady, Brian Moran, Ali Ibrahim al-Naimi, Nadhmi al-Nasr, Bill Odell, Frank Press, Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Saud and Choon Fong Shih

Ali al-Ajmi

Position: Vice-president, project management, Saudi Aramco

Biography: Ali al-Ajmi is vice-president of project management at state energy firm Saudi Aramco, which played a key role in the construction and delivery of King Abdulaziz University of Science & Technology (Kaust), having been appointed by King Abdullah for its project management expertise. Al-Ajmi is a board member of Saudi Aramco subsidiary the Aramco Overseas Company, and a board member of Philippines-based refiner Petron, having been president of the board until 1999. He was the project manager on Saudi Aramco’s $2bn Haradh gas-processing megaproject, which delivers 1.5 billion cubic feet gas a day for sale, until the project’s completion in 2004. Al-Ajmi has become an industry spokesman for developing the potential of the Gulf’s project management workforce, thanks to Saudi Aramco’s Saudisation programme to train local engineers.

Contact Tel: (+966) 3872 0115

Najah Ashry

Position: Assistant provost, student affairs, Kaust

Biography: Najah Ashry was appointed assistant provost for student affairs at Kaust in November 2008. As one of the most senior female employees at Kaust, Ashry works with the management team to develop Kaust’s strategic vision and plans for the student affairs division, including admissions and scholarship programmes. Before joining Kaust, she served as head of the female section at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. Ashry began her academic career as a lecturer in the college of business administration at the university. In 2003, the university appointed her assistant professor of management information systems. Ashry has also served as vice-dean of admissions and registration at King Abdulaziz University. Ashry has a PhD in management information systems and a postgraduate diploma in research methods from the University of Bradford in the UK. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Contact Tel: (+966) 544701299

David Keyes 

Position: Dean, mathematical and computer sciences and engineering, Kaust

Biography: David Keyes is leading efforts at Kaust to provide opportunities and facilities for researchers to expand their research in applied mathematical and computer sciences. Keyes was appointed dean of the university’s mathematical and computer sciences and engineering faculty from the US’ Columbia University – he is currently on a sabbatical from Columbia. A pioneer in the development of large-scale simulation, Keyes has led a mathematical cyber-infrastructure centre for the US’ Department of Education under the scientific discovery through advanced computing initiative. Keyes’s work in algorithms in scientific simulation was recognised with the Sidney Fernbach Award of the IEEE Computer Society in 2007, and an ACM Gordon Bell Prize in 1999. Keyes holds a PhD from Harvard University in the US, which was awarded in 1984.

Contact Tel: (+966) 5447 01299

Charles Kingdon

Position: Director, research park and industry collaboration, Kaust

Biography: Charles Kingdon was appointed director of research park and industry collaboration at Kaust in September 2008. Kingdon joined Kaust after five years in the US. As associate vice-president for technology partnerships at Brown University, Rhode Island, he was responsible for fostering research partnerships between the university and private and state-owned entities. Kingdon holds a biochemistry degree and a PhD from London University in the UK. In 1985, he became the recipient of the first industrial fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the UK, Kingdon was a consultant at the US’ Arthur D Little from 1986-1990, as well as having worked from 1990-1995 at the UK’s Centre for Exploitation of Science & Technology in London. From 1995-2002, he ran his own consultancy, Charles Kingdon & Associates.

Contact Tel: (+966) 50 587 5219

Mohamed al-Mady

Position: Vice-chairman and CEO, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)

Biography: Mohamed al-Mady is a key member of Kaust’s president’s international advisory council. He first joined Sabic in 1976 as a chemical engineer, rising in 1998 to vice-chairman and CEO. Al-Mady also serves as chairman of the Sabic Innovative Plastics supervisory board. Al-Mady is chairman and managing director of Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company and chairman of the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association. He is a board member of the international advisory board of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, and of Aluminum Bahrain. Al-Mady is a fellow of the London Business School. Al-Mady graduated from the US’ University of Colorado in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree, and received a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the US’ University of Wyoming in 1976.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1225 8000

Brian Moran

Position: Acting provost, Kaust

Biography: Brian Moran joined Kaust in September 2008 as professor of mechanical engineering and dean of the earth and environmental sciences and engineering division. He was later named associate provost for academic affairs. As acting provost, Moran leads efforts to recruit top faculty members. Prior to joining Kaust, he served as chairman of the civil and environmental engineering department at the US’ Northwestern University. Moran holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the National University of Ireland in Galway. He holds a PhD in solid mechanics from Brown University in the US. Moran is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He serves on the board of directors of the Society of Engineering Science, and as secretary.

Contact Tel: (+966) 505 875 219

Ali Ibrahim al-Naimi

Position: Chairman, board of trustees, Kaust

Biography: Ali Ibrahim al-Naimi has been Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources since August 1995. Prior to that, he served as chief executive officer (CEO) of Saudi Aramco for seven years. Al-Naimi has spent his career in energy exploration and production with Saudi Aramco, beginning in 1947 as a foreman and rising through the ranks before moving into the exploration department in 1953 to work as a geologist. He was elected Aramco director in 1980. He became executive vice-president of Operations for Aramco in 1982, and then company president in 1984. Al-Naimi studied at the International College and the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, from 1956 until 1963, and holds a bachelor of science degree in Geology from the US’ Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, and a master of science degree in Geology from the US’ Stanford University.

Contact Tel: (+966) 478-1661

Nadhmi al-Nasr

Position: Interim executive vice-president, administration and finance, Kaust

Biography: Nadhmi al-Nasr became the interim executive vice-president, administration and finance, for Kaust on December 1 2008, having previously served as the university’s interim president. Al-Nasr joined Saudi Aramco as an engineer in 1978. In 1981, he began working on the execution of the kingdom’s master gas system, a programme to provide feedstock for the petrochemical industries of the industrial cities at Jubail and Yanbu. In 1986, he was promoted to project manager with responsibility for all Ghawar oil field capital programmes. In 1991, he began managing the crude expansion programme in the Ghawar oil field. In 1995, he became manager of the Shaybah development programme. Al-Nasr holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Contact Tel: (+966) 50 587 5219

Bill Odell

Position: Director, science and technology group, HOK

Biography: Bill Odell was the principal designer on the Kaust project. As head of HOK’s science and technology group, Odell is a specialist in laboratory design. This was crucial to the Kaust project, which has 48 laboratory ‘neighbourhoods’. He is a sustainable design specialist, having designed several Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (Leed) accredited buildings soon after the programme’s inception in 1998. Prior to being head of the science and technology group, Odell was head of sustainable design at HOK, a position to which he was appointed in 2000. Odell was one of the founding members of the US Green Building Council, which is the body responsible for Leed, in 1993. HOK designed the $3.5bn King Saud University in Riyadh in 1975, which at the time was the largest such project in the world.

Contact Tel: (+1) 314 421 2000

Frank Press 

Position: Member, president’s international advisory council

Biography: Frank Press is a member of Kaust’s president’s international advisory council. Press specialises in advising on strategic planning in research and development, management and research for new ventures in industry and academia. He was president of the US’ National Academy of Sciences and chairman of the National Research Council from 1981 to 1993. From 1977 to 1980, he was director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy. Prior to that, he was professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1993, he has been a visiting professor at Cornell, California Institute of Technology, Stanford, and Indiana universities. Press holds a bachelor of science degree from the US’ City College of New York, and PhD from the US’
Columbia University.

Contact Tel: (1607) 254 4636

Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Saud 

Position: Minister of education

Biography: Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Saud was appointed Saudi Arabia’s minister of education in February this year. He is responsible for Saudi Arabia’s 30,000 schools and 400,000 teachers, and as the kingdom’s highest-ranking education official, has played a key role in overseeing the Kaust project. Al-Saud began his career at the research and industrial development centre at the Commerce Ministry in 1971, where he worked until 1973. He was appointed undersecretary for the National Guard’s western sector in 1992, where he worked until 2003, when he was appointed deputy chief
of general intelligence. Al-Saud has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the US’ Menlo College, and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the US’ Stanford University.

Contact Tel: (+966) 1404 2888

Choon Fong Shih

Position: President, Kaust

Biography: Choon Fong Shih was named founding president of Kaust in January 2008, and took up the appointment in December 2008. He is also a professor of mechanical engineering at the university. Shih joined Kaust after nine years as president and vice-chancellor of the National University of Singapore, promoting the university’s global profile and building high-profile research and educational partnerships. Shih is chairman emeritus of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium of 37 leading research universities. After receiving a PhD from the US’ Harvard University in 1973, he joined the General Electric Corporate Research Laboratory in the US, where he led the fracture research group. In 1981, he joined the US’ Brown University, Rhode Island, serving as associate professor and later as professor in the division of engineering.

Contact Tel: (+966) 50 587 5219

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