2019 RPME Power 50: Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO, SABIC, ranked No. 2

2019 RPME Power 50: Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO, SABIC, ranked No. 2
Published: 9 December 2019 - 5 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
Yousef Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO, SABIC, occupies the second position in the 2019 ‘Power 50’ list. SABIC is the world’s third-largest diversified petrochemicals company. Headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the company has 34,000 employees worldwide.

While Al-Benyan was at the helm of affairs in the making of many watershed agreements during the year, the most important one was ExxonMobil and SABIC announcing the decision to proceed with the construction of a chemical facility and a 1.8mn metric tonne ethane steam cracker in San Patricio County, Texas, leading to thousands of high-paying jobs and billions in economic output.

The project is expected to create more than 600 permanent jobs with average annual salaries of $90,000 per year. An additional 6,000 high-paying jobs will be created during construction. A preliminary independent study, conducted by Impact DataSource, estimates the project will generate more than $22bn in economic output during construction and $50bn in economic benefits during the first six years of operation.

Al-Benyan joined SABIC in 1987, just eleven years after the company’s formation. His first role was as a business development specialist before joining corporate communications. Later, Al-Benyan relocated to Stamford, Connecticut, as operations manager. In 1994, he became commercial manager for SABIC in the US and Latin America, based in Houston, Texas.

In 2002, Al-Benyan was promoted as general manager of SABIC Asia, headquartered in Singapore. He made significant contributions to SABIC’s growth in Asia, especially in China. Al-Benyan returned to Houston in the fall of 2005 as the general manager of SABIC Americas.

In 2007, Al-Benyan took on the role of general manager at fibre intermediates, before being named in February 2008 to head corporate human resources. As chairman of the ‘1 SABIC’ global unification initiative, he reorganised the company’s business structure with a new, single, global organisation and operating model, moving from a responsive, transactional entity to a proactive, strategic global organisation.

In 2013, Al-Benyan was named to head SABIC’s chemicals business, the company’s largest unit, to help SABIC achieve its goal of becoming the preferred global leader in chemicals by 2025. Prior to being named vice chairman and CEO, Al-Benyan also served as executive vice president, corporate finance, and CFO.

Other positions he holds include chairman of GPCA, chairman of the boards at Yansab, SAFCO and HADEED, as well as chairman of the Petrochemical Manufacturers Committee.

Al-Benyan is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and Global Business Council of the Bloomberg Global Forum. He also sits on the board of directors of Boao Forum for Asia, International Council of Chemical Associations, Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu, and Saudi Ports Authority.

Al-Benyan is a board member of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the National Industrial Clusters Development Program, and an executive committee member of the Riyadh Economic Forum at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce.

Al-Benyan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in industrial management, in addition to several specialised executive management courses.

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