Klaus Kleinfeld abruptly resigned from his post as CEO of Arconic Inc (NYSE: ARNC) (formerly Alcoa Inc.) after writing an unauthorized letter to activist investor Elliott Management. The hedge fund viewed the letter as being "a threat to intimidate or extort a senior officer."
Kleinfeld's apparent retirement was short-lived, as the 59-year old is heading to Saudi Arabia to serve as the CEO of NEOM, a mega business and industrial zone that will link with Jordan and Egypt. The vast 10,000-square-mile zone, known as NEOM, won't require dependence on oil exports and is expected to attract $500 billion from the Saudi government and outside investors.
NEOM is intended to serve as a "place for the dreamers for the world" and requires the expertise of a "globally respected business leader," the Saudi Arabian government said in a press release.
"Dr. Kleinfeld has a track record in leading some of the world's most dynamic, advanced and best-performing businesses and we believe these skills and his leadership will ensure NEOM's success," the press release also said.
Saudi Arabia's new project was part of the country's Vision 2030 plan, which serves as a long-term transformation away from oil revenue. The government aims to transform the country into a "thriving model of excellence in various and important areas of life."
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