Earlier this year, Richard A. Debs announced his retirement as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC). Dr. Debs is a founding member of the USSBC, which he helped establish in 1993. Dr. Debs is an Advisory Director of Morgan Stanley, having joined Morgan Stanley in 1976 as the founding President of Morgan Stanley International to develop the investment bank’s international business, now a major part of its global activities. Previously, Dr. Debs served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Dr. Debs was an active participant in the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Businessmen’s Dialogue – the precursor to the Business Council – throughout the 1980s. Following the Council’s incorporation, it held its first meeting of the Board of Directors in March 1995, at which Dr. Debs was named Vice Chairman. In 1996, he assumed the post of Co-Chairman after the resignation of Hugh McColl and was instrumental in leading the Third Plenary Meeting in Washington, D.C. in October 1996. In 1997, when Alfred C. DeCrane, Jr., retired Chairman and CEO of Texaco, Inc., became U.S. Co-Chairman, Dr. Debs became Co-Chairman Emeritus and resumed the position of Vice Chairman.
Throughout his tenure as Vice Chairman, Dr. Debs has remained a steadfast supporter of the Council’s mission – to foster the strategic business alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and thereby create enduring and sustainable bilateral commercial relations between the two countries. His guidance and consultation since the Council’s founding has in no uncertain terms contributed to the successful execution of this vision.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Council remains deeply grateful for Dr. Debs’ unwavering and long-time support of not only the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, but also his dedication to the continued growth of trade and commerce internationally.
In Dr. Debs’ stead, the Council is pleased to welcome Abdulaziz Alajaji, CEO of Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia, to its Board of Directors. Mr. Alajaji joined Morgan Stanley in 2017, and he oversees all of the firm’s business in the Kingdom. Prior to that, he worked at J.P. Morgan Saudi Arabia for six years where he led the corporate banking business. Mr. Alajaji started his career in the Financial Sector when he joined the Saudi British Bank’s (SABB) Junior Officers Development Program. His last role at SABB was as a senior banker in the corporate banking team. Mr. Alajaji has 19 years of experience across investment and wholesale banking. He is a member of the Capital Market Authority’s Advisory Committees, and a board member at Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia and Altamayyuz Academy.
The Business Council is further pleased to welcome to its Board of Directors Mark Brantley, Group President, EMEA and APAC, of Worley, and Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma’aden. Mr. Brantley leads all Worley businesses in the EMEA and APAC regions. He is focused on developing the growth portfolio and sustainability roadmap for these regions. He has also been responsible for energy and chemical (E&C) services in North America in his previous role as President of E&C Services. The first half of his career was focused in Field Services and throughout this time, he held multiple leadership positions. He is the executive sponsor for Women of Worley and advocates for equality, inclusion, and diversity. He is presently based in The Hague.
Robert Wilt was appointed CEO of the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) in January 2022. Prior to joining Ma’aden, Mr. Wilt served as President and CEO from 2019 to 2021 at Sofina Foods Inc., a privately-owned meat and seafood processing company with 44 sites in Canada and Europe. Additionally, in 2017, he worked at PCC Metals Group, a subsidiary of Precision Castparts Corp. of Cleveland, Ohio, which built large structural castings and aircraft/rocket fasteners among other high-end metal products. Mr. Wilt began his career in the U.S. Army, where he served as a combat engineer in the 101st Airborne Division.