Saudi Arabia’s King Salman named his son as energy minister after veteran official Khalid al-Falih was sacked, state media said Sunday, in a major shakeup as the OPEC kingpin reels from low oil prices.
The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, half brother to de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, comes as Saudi Arabia prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing of state-owned oil giant Aramco.
“Khalid al-Falih has been removed from his position,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a royal decree.
“His royal highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is appointed minister of energy.”
The kingdom also replaced the deputy energy minister, SPA added.
Since his appointment as oil minister in 2016, Falih has been the face of Saudi energy policy but the veteran technocrat had seen his portfolio shrink in recent weeks.
His ouster comes just days after he was removed as chairman of Aramco as the company prepares for a much-touted initial public offering (IPO).
He was replaced in that post by Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the kingdom’s vast Public Investment Fund.
Falih’s powers were diminished last month when the world’s top oil exporter announced the creation of a new ministry of industry and mineral resources, separating it from his energy ministry.