With a distinctive step to enable the localization of military industries in Saudi Arabia, Walid Abukhaled, a leading Saudi engineer in the defense and military industries, joined the Saudi Military Industries Company (SAMI) as Chief Strategy Officer from the American giant Northrop Grumman, where Walid was heading the Kingdom and Middle East operations.
Walid Abukhaled has a distinguished experience in the military industries sector where he started his career working in the British Aerospace Company, now known as BAE Systems and has worked in the company's facilities in Britain and the Kingdom and was one of the leading engineers in the company After 20 years working in BAE Systems, Walid headed General Electric Company (GE) in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Then he was appointed as the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for Industrial Affairs.
He was responsible for creating a national industrial strategy to stimulate and support industry growth, technology transfer and research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He then moved to Northrop Grumman, one of the world leading US defense companies, to become the first Saudi to head the company in the Kingdom and the Middle East before moving to Saudi Military Industries.
Walid has been known to be an accomplished leader in addressing key issues affecting international companies operating in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Walid was granted several awards for his efforts and excellence in leadership, including in 2011, he was selected as one of the “Top 3 Revolutionary Executive CEOs in the Middle East”. In 2015, he won the 'CEO of the year' in Saudi Arabia.
In 2018, he was awarded “Best Innovative Thinking Leader” in the Middle East.
SAMI is owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Established in May 2017, SAMI operates four major divisions, including Aeronautics, Land Systems, Weapons and Missiles, and Defense Electronics.
In line with the Saudi Vision 2030’s primary objectives, SAMI expects to contribute over SAR 14 billion (USD 3.7 billion) to the Kingdom’s annual gross domestic product, with an investment of over SAR 6 billion (USD 1.6 billion) towards research and development processes, and creation of 40,000 job opportunities for Saudi youth.