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Sovereign Wealth Funds

Qatar’s QIA chief is said to leave $320 billion wealth fund

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani

The CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority is leaving the firm after almost four years at the helm of one of the world's largest sovereign funds, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The reasons behind the surprise departure of Qatari royal Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani weren't immediately clear and a replacement is yet to be officially named, the people said on condition of anonymity. A spokesman for the QIA wasn't immediately able to comment.

Mr. Abdullah was appointed in December 2014, replacing Ahmed Al-Sayed. Before joining the Doha-based fund, he had served as the chairman of Ooredoo QSC, the country's largest telecommunications company, since 2000. Mr. Abdullah led the company's expansion into Kuwait, Indonesia and more than a dozen other countries in Africa and Asia.

Under Mr. Abdullah, the fund moved away from its strategy of investments in trophy assets, instead focusing on diversifying its portfolio in the U.S. and Asia and deploying more resources at home. The fund, which was created in 2005 to handle the windfall from Qatar's liquefied natural gas and oil exports, stepped in to help local banks and companies last year after Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with the country.

The QIA has about $320 billion in assets, ranking as the 10th largest wealth fund globally, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The fund owns stakes in international companies ranging from commodities giant Glencore to British lender Barclays. The fund and other Qatari investors have also amassed holdings in Hollywood, New York office space, London residential property, luxury Italian fashion and even a soccer team.