Renowned Saudi billionaire Saleh Abdullah Kamel passes away at 79

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi billionaire businessman Saleh Abdullah Kamel | File Image

Renowned Saudi billionaire businessman Saleh Abdullah Kamel died in Dr. Samir Abbas Hospital in Jeddah today.

Kamel, who was 79, had a net worth estimated at $2.6 billion (Dh9.55 billion) with vast investments in 40 countries across the world.

He was the chairman and founder of the Dallah Albaraka Group, one of the Middle East’s largest conglomerates and a multi-national holding company with investments including the financial, banking, healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, media, operations and maintenance sectors.

Kamel, who founded Arab Radio and Television Network (ART) in 1993, was also the chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In addition to being chairman and member of many boards within his companies and sister companies, Kamel worked on the boards of trustees and directors in many social, charitable and cultural societies and foundations such as the Arab Thought Foundation, King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Gifted.

He has also served on the boards of the International Academy for Information and Media Sciences, Arab Academy for Financial and Banking and the Islamic Solidarity Fund.

Born in Makkah in 1941, Kamel received elementary and preparatory education in Makkah and Taif. He then moved to Jeddah where he completed his secondary education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Riyadh in 1963.

Kamel was married to Egyptian actress Safaa Abu Al Saud and had one daughter. His son Abdullah from another wife chairs the board of ART.

In November 2017, Kamel was detained by Saudi authorities among 200 businessmen and royals such as Al Waleed Bin Talal, in the Ritz-Carlton hotel Riyadh on corruption charges.