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salim Al Aydh is a true professional who achieved remarkable success in life through hard work, determination and foresight. Al Aydh has walked with kings and yet has not lost or forgotten the common touch and enjoys the loyalty, support and confidence of those around him. He demonstrates an incredible memory for facts and figures and often recalls with uncanny accuracy details and events.
Let’s know more about the man behind the successful CEO.
What is a typical working day of Salim Al Aydh? What’s your passion/hobby?
I get up at 4 am daily to pray and that is the beginning of the day for me. I travel a lot and visit the Safari sites across the kingdom from Jazan to Neom regularly. I do a lot of work-related reading and if the weather is good, walk regularly and try and retire to bed by 9.30 pm.
Weekends are generally filled with close and extended family visits, and we discuss all sorts of family issues, big and small. It gives me joy to extend help and guidance to others including needy people who are not related to me, and I enjoy seeing their progress. I am also a board member of an oil services company in Dammam which operates internationally and when I visit there, it gives me pleasure to see people growing and doing what they are expected to do.
Tell us about your family...
My wife Rifa and I were married at a young age. Being young, if you are not responsible, your marriage is at risk. My early years had made me responsible and capable. A year after marriage our daughter Amal was born. A year later, my son Faisal was born and thereafter Said, Ahmed, Ali, Abdullah and Mohammed. Faisal is a government officer, Said and Ahmed are involved in project management in Saudi Aramco, Ali has completed his post-graduate studies at the Imperial College in London in Chemical Engineering, Amal works as a teacher and recently became a principal. Abdullah is a chemical engineer working at in Aramco and Mohammed studied at Westminster University in London.
Who do you admire in the business world or in other fields and why?
Two people – Ali Al Naimi, the former head of Saudi Aramco and Minister of Oil, who I worked closely with as a VP and whose clear focus and determination had a great effect on me, and Professor Peter Senge (USA) whose System Thinking and Café round-table approach to problems and discussion generation was remarkable and inspiring.
Are you involved with any philanthropic activities ...
I help and guide anybody who asks for help from me in a rational and sensible way. I was the CEO of the King Abdullah Foundation and by doing that I learned a lot from King Abdullah. It was the long-term thinking always that should be inspiring to everyone – think and plan ahead, for yourself, your family and your country.
What advice do you have for young Saudis seeking to become entrepreneurs or a career in business management?
Focus on making yourself better today than you were yesterday and work on it at every opportunity. Look at yourself and plan your future - study hard - no one can take education away from you.
Can you describe the most important lessons you have learned in life and passed on to your children?
The most important lesson is to get a good education. I try my best and I ask my children to try their best – in everything they do. It stems from my early days struggling for education with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to know how things worked.
What are the guiding principles for you in business? What are the red lines?
Simple – the main guiding principle is Integrity, and the red lines are anything that stands or works against integrity. When integrity is not there, it eats you from within – people need to wake up to this as there are mega companies that have gone down because they failed in this area.
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