On Wednesday, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) appointed Abdulmohsin Al Mukhaizeem as permanent President and Chief Executive Officer for its London branch, the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO), according to local newspaper Al Qabas.
The position was vacant since July 2022, when the SWF reportedly removed Saleh Al Ateeqi, highlighting potential internal divisions within the Kuwait fund. A former McKinsey partner, Al Ateeqi had been hired to modernize the KIO in 2018. He was temporarily replaced by Hussain Al Halabi, an internal Director that sat in the boards of St Martins and other subsidiaries since July 2017.
After an extensive internal and external search, the KIA picked Al Mukhaizeem for this high-profile position that is expected to report to the Kuwaiti HQs. Al Mukhaizeem was until now the Chief Investment Officer of Wafra International Investment Co., a subsidiary of pension fund PIFSS and, prior to that, the Executive Director of National Bank of Kuwait’s subsidiary for alternative investments, NBK Capital Partners.
The KIO traces its roots back to 1965, when it replaced the Kuwait Investment Board in the City of London. Today, the entity functions as a subsidiary of the KIA’s headquarters in Kuwait and manages part of the Future Generations Fund (the savings portion of the SWF), including an important portfolio of securities as well as real estate subsidiaries St Martins and Cale Street, and infrastructure subsidiary Wren House (WHI).
The latter has undertaken several changes and grown significantly in the past year as it hired key executives from OMERS (Philippe Busslinger, Michael Bloch-Hansen), Citi (Emmanuel Gionakis), and Blackrock (Martin Torres), and opened an office in New York – in the same building as Wafra Inc., the subsidiary of PIFSS. Last year, WHI invested in Blackstone-backed US mobile tower operator Phoenix Tower International, and acquired Direct ChassisLink from Apollo and EQT, alongside GIC and OMERS.
According to the latest IMF estimates, the KIA could manage north of US$ 800 billion, which would make it the world’s fifth largest SWF, and the second largest in the GCC after Abu Dhabi’s ADIA. Last month, Kuwait’s finance ministry announced a surplus of US$ 20.8 billion in the year ended on March 31, 2023 – the first in nine years.