Saudi Arabia's $500bn Neom adds Lord Foster to advisory board

US President Obama's energy secretary has also joined the newly formed board

The first advisory board members for Saudi Arabia's Neom megaproject have been announced [representational image].
The first advisory board members for Saudi Arabia's Neom megaproject have been announced [representational image].

A global advisory board has been announced for Saudi Arabia’s planned $500bn (SAR1.9tn) megaproject Neom city, bringing together international experts from the design, planning, and construction industries.

According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), each member has been “carefully chosen” for their expertise and experience; a global business background; familiarity with large-scale projects; international influence; and enthusiasm for the aims of Neom. The members have also previously held senior board-level roles.

SPA listed 18 members, with more appointments to be announced as they are made.

READ: First contracts awarded for Saudi's $500bn Neom city

The members of Neom's advisory board come from backgrounds in urban planning, architecture, design, technology, sustainability, energy, and manufacturing. They include Lord Norman Forster, founder and executive chairman of global architectural design firm Fosters + Partners. The UK firm's notable projects include the Berlin Reichstag and the Great Court of the British Museum.

Dutch politician Neelis Kroes, former EU Commissioner for Competition (2004-10) and EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda (2010-14), was also announced in this first swathe.

Serving as the 13th US Secretary of Energy between 2013 and January 2017 under President Barack Obama, Ernest Moniz, president and chief executive officer of the Energy Future Initiative, joins Kroes and Lord Foster.

READ: Aramco veteran named CEO of Saudi Arabia's $500bn Neom

Other members include pioneers in technology and urban rejuvenation, as well smart technology, covering the artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and clean energy spaces.

Speaking on the appointments, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, who became Neom’s chief executive officer on 1 August, said: “We welcome the global and diverse expertise of the advisory board and are confident that each of them will make huge contributions to the development of Neom.

“The advisory board will help shape Neom’s future through its detailed knowledge and connections with potential long-term strategic partners.”

The news comes eight months after the contracts for palaces to be built as part of the massive development, expected to create 100,000 in the kingdom, were reportedly awarded.

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