YES indeed, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently appointed a woman as one of the board members of its major company and the world’s top oil company “Aramco”, the oil fields of which produce ten million barrels of oil per day. The appointee is Lynn Laverty Elsenhans — former chairperson, president and CEO at Sunoco Inc during the period from 2008 to 2012.
From her name, it is evident that she is not a Saudi national. Saudi local newspapers had published her photograph in which she is not wearing a hijab. Four new members were also appointed, two of who are current ministers in the Saudi Government — Minister of Finance and Minister of Economy.
The other two are oil moguls and foreigners — one is the former director of DowDuPont Inc and the CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, which had easily siphoned more than $2 million from Kuwaiti oil geniuses, and the other is the former president & CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical Co LP.
This narration is perhaps boring for my esteemed readers, but I intentionally mentioned it in order to compare our situation with what is happening in Saudi Arabia in terms of recalibration of the course towards the righteous modern path. We Kuwaitis used to be on top in this regard in the mid of last century, but for years after that, we have been plagued by corrupt governments and parliaments. The Kuwaiti oil sector is the main pillar of our economy.
Because of it, we eat, drink and distribute money to other countries, as well as fill the pockets of the corrupt ones among us through governmental projects which have failed in various aspects. A simple glance at this sector will reveal that it has contracted all kinds of diseases and miseries of our society.
The administration personnel of this sector receive unbelievable salaries. This was sanctioned years ago by one of the partisan ministers under the pretext that the oil sector funds itself. His genius viewpoint failed to consider the fact that this extravagantly self-funding sector reduces the size of revenue returns for the State Treasury.
Regarding appointments of board members in this sector and its subsidiaries, most of them are described as parachute appointments. I was really astonished when I came to know about the appointment of an employee of the Public Relations Department as the board director of one of the vital companies in the sector.
The final message I dedicate to the multi-million hijab campaign of Al-Islah Social Society, asking it to look at the great country “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, which has appointed a woman without hijab in a top position in one of its most significant companies.
By Ali Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil