Since Sheikh Khalifa’s demise on May 13, 2022, there has been a lot of speculation in Abu Dhabi, recently dubbed the Capital of Capital, around the new sharing of responsibilities, both political and financial. 

Today, the new ruler Sheikh Mohamed (“MbZ”) shed a light on the latter by reshuffling the board of directors of the emirate’s two main Sovereign Wealth Funds, ADIA and Mubadala. To the surprise of many, MbZ stepped down of both councils, giving the chairmanship of ADIA to Tahnoon; and Mubadala’s, to Mansour.

MbZ (62), Tahnoon (55) and Mansour (53) are full brothers and members of the Bani Fatima, i.e., the six sons of Sheikh Zayed with his third wife, Sheikha Fatima. In addition to ADIA, Tahnoon chairs ADQ, Royal Group, IHC and FAB, and acts as National Security Advisor; while Mansour now chairs Mubadala, EIA, ADFD and ADJD, and acts as Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE – a role that his older brother Hamdan once played.

Besides the chairmanships to the brothers, the changes give new responsibilities to MbZ’s oldest sons, Khalid (41) and Theyab (39). The former, who many analysts believe could be the next Crown Prince, will join his two uncles in ADIA’s board; while the latter becomes vice-chairman of Mubadala, in addition to his chairmanship of the Crown Prince’s Court, and of Etihad Rail. MbZ has two other sons, Hamdan and Zayed, who are younger and have not been given significant responsibilities in the emirate as of yet.

Two important exits from ADIA’s board were Mohammed bin Khalifa, who changed portfolios recently from Indexed Equities to Alternative Investments (i.e., hedge funds); and Mohammed Habroush Al Suwaidi, who was also very close to Sheikh Khalifa and acted as ADIA’s Managing Director until 1997. ADIA continues to be the world’s only SWF to have a royal member as CEO, Sheikh Hamed (half-brother of the Bani Fatima).

Lastly, the changes signify the rise of two of MbZ’s key advisors: Jassem Al Zaabi joins ADIA’s board in addition to being chairman of the DoF, of ADPF and of e&, and vice chairman of ADQ and of the CBUAE; and Sultan Al Jaber joins Mubadala’s board in addition to being the CEO of ADNOC, chairman of Masdar and Minister of Industry of the UAE (and flagbearer for COP28). Along with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Al Zaabi and Al Jaber have arguably become the most powerful figures in Abu Dhabi outside of the royal family.

So – how do all these political changes play into the emirate’s various SWFs? We at Global SWF believe that any further consolidation is now unlikely, and that the emirate’s SWF landscape will stay highly segregated. At the same time, the boundaries between the SWFs, the PPFs, and the private family offices (including Royal Group and its subsidiaries, and AD United Group) may become even blurrier.

ADIA and Mubadala have not been the only Gulf SWFs to change chairman this week. QIA’s chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was appointed as the country’s Prime Minister and will be replaced by Central Bank Governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani. The rest of the Board of Directors, as well as the CEO position at the country’s major SWF will remain unchanged.

Related funds ADIA ADPF ADQ EIA Mubadala QIA
Related tags Abu Dhabi Inc. Qatar