Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Position: Director-general, Saudi Intelligence Agency

Biography: Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is regarded as one of the most charismatic members of the Saudi royal family and served as Saudi ambassador to the US between 1983 and 2005. On his return to Riyadh, he was appointed secretary-general of the National Security Council.

Prince Bandar assumed his current role in 2012. His appointment is viewed as Riyadh’s response to the growing sectarian split in the region. Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy has become more hawkish in recent years and its rulers felt the key national security should be handled by someone with influence in Washington.

This year could prove challenging for Riyadh. With the rapprochement between Iran and the West, the kingdom may have to take a less aggressive stance to Tehran while maintaining its own national security. This will require all Prince Bandar’s considerable diplomacy skills.