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Saudi Aramco taps Skandia exec to lead PE unit – exclusive

Jonas Nyquist, most recently head of private equity and infrastructure at the Swedish life insurer, will head a team at the oil and gas giant's fund management subsidiary.

Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest firms by revenue, has hired the private equity and infrastructure head of one of Sweden’s largest life insurers to lead a private equity team.

Jonas Nyquist

The Saudi Arabian state oil company has appointed Jonas Nyquist, a 10-year veteran of Skandia, to establish a team within its fund management arm, according to a source familiar with the matter. It is understood Nyquist will relocate to the Middle East towards the end of the year.

Nyquist declined to comment.

Saudi Aramco, which does not publish financial information, had a net income of around $34 billion in the first half of last year, according to a Bloomberg report. The earnings are more than four times that of Exxon Mobil over the same period.

Nyquist has held various positions at Skandia since he joined in 2008, including as head of buyout fund investments. He was previously a manager at management consultant firm Arthur D Little where he focused on private equity and strategy.

In an August roundtable discussion about the Nordic private equity industry, Nyquist said private equity was well placed to weather a macroeconomic downturn.

“The buyout model is still valid in terms of having a single strong owner, especially in a downturn,” he said. “The relative outperformance from the asset class should continue.”

Daniel Winther replaces Nyquist as head of private equity and infrastructure at Skandia, according to his LinkedIn profile. Winther joined the insurer in 2012 and was most recently an investment director focusing on private equity.

Nyquist’s hire comes amid heightened pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi from its embassy in Turkey. The incident has cast a shadow over business deals involving the Kingdom, which has been accused of murdering the journalist, and firms including Blackstone, BlackRock and global banks have said they will not attend an investment summit in Riyadh in late October.

Saudi Aramco was founded in 1933 as a partnership with the US’s Standard Oil. In August, the Kingdom abandoned plans to list 5 percent of the firm, which is the world’s largest producer of crude oil. The flotation was part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme to  wean the country off oil revenues.

Saudi Aramco did not return a request for comment by press time.