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Source: Reuters

PROFILE-Saudi central bank Governor Muhammad al-Jasser

Published: 05 Apr 2011 20:58:13 PST

Position: Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency

Incumbent: Muhammad Al-Jasser

Term: Since February 2009

Key Facts:

-- Jasser replaced Hamad al-Sayari as governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) in February 2009 after almost 15 years as vice governor.

-- He began his career at the Saudi finance ministry in 1981 and later became executive director for Saudi Arabia at the International Monetary Fund, a post he held until 1995. He helped negotiate Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2005.

-- Jasser also chairs state-controlled Saudi Telecom, the kingdom's biggest telecom firm by market value, and sits on the boards of several other Saudi and regional institutions including the Islamic Development Bank and Arab Monetary Fund. SAMA ranks as the fourth biggest central bank in terms of reserves, after China, Japan and Russia.

-- After joining SAMA in 1995, Jasser helped devise the central bank's response to a decade-long oil price rally, an onslaught of currency speculation in 2007 and, most recently, an oil price slump and credit crisis. One of his main actions during the recent financial crisis was to more than double the central bank's gold reserves.

-- Jasser stood steadfastly by the dollar as a peg for the Saudi riyal -- a policy the kingdom has maintained since 1986 -- saying at the height of speculation in 2008 that the peg served Saudi interests. The kingdom is a major holder of dollar assets and a top U.S. ally in the region.

-- Jasser earned a B.A. in Economics from San Diego State University in 1979 and an M.A. in Economics from the University of California in 1981. In 1986, he completed his doctorate in Economics from the University of California.

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