NEOM News Room

All the latest news from the $500bn mega-city in the desert

First phase of NEOM construction underway despite Kashoggi fallout

NEOM, the mega project to be built on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, has entered the first phase of development with preparation works to develop the infrastructure of the first residential area.

Work on the first airport in the development is expected to be completed before the end of 2018 with the first bi-weekly flights operating at the start of 2019, NEOM said in a statement.  It is part of a general plan to establish a network of airports in NEOM that will include an international airport with world-class standards.

NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said: “We are working hard to ensure that the newly created towns and cities in NEOM will create new ways of living, economy, trade, innovation that at the end will make NEOM an ideal environment for all of its future residents.” 

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ABB chairman Peter Voser suspends his participation in NEOM's board following death of well-known Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi

Former Shell chief executive and chairman of Swiss engineering firm ABB Peter Voser is the latest high-profile figure to distance himself from the advisory board of Saudi Arabia's $500bn £382.5bn) mega-city project Neom.

The move follows the exit of a string of global business and political leaders from an upcoming investment conference in Riyadh. International ties to the region have been breaking down amid an ongoing investigation into the death of well-known Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

A spokesperson for ABB told City A.M. that Voser had decided to suspend his participation on the board in light of the current circumstances, while ABB chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer will also not attend the event.

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Architect Norman Foster suspends role on Saudi NEOM project following death of well-known Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi

Norman Foster has temporarily stepped back from his role on the board overseeing the planning of a $500 billion mega-city in Saudi Arabia as questions mount over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  The international community is demanding answers over what happened to the Washington Post writer following his recent disappearance inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Foster had been named as one of 18 ‘global experts’ on the global advisory board for NEOM, a proposed desert mega-city in Saudi Arabia, described as the world’s most ambitious project. 

But Foster has told the AJ he stepped away from the project last week. A statement from Foster + Partners reads: ’Earlier [last week] Lord Foster wrote to the head of the NEOM advisory board, stating that, while the situation remains unclear, he has suspended his activities in respect of the board.’

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Ernest Moriz and Dan Doctoroff distance themselves from the NEOM advisory board

A senior executive who works for Google's parent company and a former US secretary of energy have dropped out of the NEOM business advisory board following international outcry over the disappearance and alleged murder of a dissident Saudi journalist. 

Members mentioned in the announcement included famed tech industry investor Marc Andreessen; Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet's urban planning unit Sidewalk Labs; Travis Kalanick, ex-CEO of Uber; former European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes; ex-Dow Chemical Company CEO Andrew Liveris, and Silicon Valley investor Sam Altman.

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Saudis appoint global advisory board to oversee mega-city NEOM

The 18 members of the board come from a diverse range of backgrounds including urban planning, architecture, design, technology, sustainability, energy and manufacturing - the key areas of NEOM.

“We welcome the global and diverse expertise of the advisory board and are confident that each of them will make huge contributions to the development of Neom,” said Neom CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

“The advisory board will help shape Neom’s future through its detailed knowledge and connections with potential long-term strategic partners.”

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Patricia Figueroa

NEOM advisor Gladstone Place brings on Patricia Figueroa as SVP

Gladstone Place Partners has hired Patricia Figueroa as SVP, advising clients on corporate issues and investor relations.

Prior to joining the corporate and financial firm, Figueroa led IR at Arconic since the company was founded in 2016 when it was spun off from aluminum company Alcoa, the firm said in a statement.  Gladstone is advising the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia on NEOM, a city development, via a contract worth $199,500, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act filings with the Justice Department. Gladstone is providing "comms and strategic advice" for U.S. audiences about NEOM, but is not contacting federal officials or seeking to influence policy.

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Saudi Arabia pulls the plug on $200 billion solar farm project

Saudi Arabia has shelved a $200 billion plan with SoftBank Group Corp to build the world’s biggest solar-power-generation project, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The project, which was announced by SoftBank in March, was expected to generate up to 200 gigawatts by 2030, more than the kingdom’s current capacity from all energy sources.

The WSJ report, which cited people familiar with the matter, noted that “no one is actively working on the project,” and instead, the Saudi kingdom is working up a “broader, more practical strategy to boost renewable energy,” to be announced in late October.

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Indian ambassador urges Indian engineers to seize Vision 2030’s opportunities

India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmad Javed has called on Indian engineers and other technical professionals “to grab the opportunities coming up within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.” 

Speaking as chairman and chief guest at a high-profile meeting of engineers in Riyadh recently, he said he was pleased to learn that 12 percent of all engineers in Saudi Arabia are Indian.  More than 300 engineers attended the event, which was organized by the Indian Engineers Forum (IEF) in Riyadh, a leading nonprofit professional organization that for 20 years has been working to share knowledge and forge connections.

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