New CEO appointed: Al Rajhi Bank

Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest publicly traded lender, has appointed Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Zaben as chief executive officer after Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi resigned.

Al Zaben’s appointment will be effective April 1, the bank said in a statement to the Saudi bourse on Sunday. Al Rajhi resigned to pursue his personal business, it said, without providing further details.

Al Rajhi reported in January a 14 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts’ estimates. The lender reduced provisions for bad loans to SR540.6m in the quarter from SR546.5m a year earlier.

Saudi Arabian banks may benefit from a pick-up in lending as the biggest Arab economy invests in infrastructure and industrial projects.

The government forecast a budget surplus of SR12bn this year after King Abdullah announced a $130bn spending plan last year to build homes and reduce unemployment.

Al Rajhi shares closed unchanged at 80.75 riyals on Sunday before the announcement. The stock has gained 16 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent increase for the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index.