New Qatar emir makes changes at wealth fund

Elizabeth Fournier
QATAR’S former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani was yesterday replaced as head of the country’s powerful sovereign wealth fund, in a changing of the guard just a week after its new emir was installed.

The fund – which holds influential stakes in the owner of Heathrow airport, Harrods and helped fund the construction of the Shard – will now be run by Ahmad Al Sayed, who has been in charge of its direct investment arm, Qatar Holding, since 2009.

Under the long planned handover last week, rare in a region where rulers usually die in office, Sheikh Hamad, 61, stepped down following 18 years in the post and made way for his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The new emir has already replaced Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim as prime minister and foreign minister, as part of a widespread shake-up of the country’s administration.

The fund is estimated to have more than $100bn (£65.9bn) in assets, with funds raised from the country’s lucrative oil and gas industry also used to invest in Credit Suisse and Barclays.