Saudi’s $500bn NEOM project reveals international advisory board

British architect Norman Foster, the ex-CEO of Uber and Apple’s chief design officer are all part of the advisory board



Saudi Arabia’s $500bn NEOM development has announced the formation of a new advisory board comprising of several international experts.

The members of the board have diverse experience in urban planning, architecture, design, technology, sustainability, energy and manufacturing.

“Each member has been carefully selected on the basis of their experience, background in global business, knowledge of mega projects, major board-level tasks and international influence,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The board held a meeting in New York in August to review the NEOM strategy and discuss the project’s developments, the SPA stated.

The board includes: American entrepreneur Sam Altman – the co-chairman of Open AI; Marc Andreessen – co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz; Tim Brown – CEO of innovation and design firm IDEO; Timothy Collins – founder and CEO of private equity and VC firm Ripplewood Advisors; Alexandra Cousteau – environmental expert and senior adviser to Oceana; Daniel Doctoroff – founder and CEO of urban innovation company Sidewalk Labs; Norman Foster – founder and CEO of British architecture firm Foster + Partners; Sir Jonathan Ive – Apple’s chief design officer; Travis Kalanick – former CEO of Uber and CEO of real estate redevelopment firm City Storage Systems; Neelie Kroes – former vice president of the EU; Andrew Liveris – former chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company; Ernest Moniz – CEO and president of the Energy Futures Initiative; Marc Reibert – founder of robotics firm Boston Dynamics; John Rossant – founder and chairman of New Cities Foundation; Rob Speyer – CEO of real estate company Tishman Speyer; Peter Voser – chairman of ABB Group; and John Frechette  vice president for research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi.

Other members of the advisory board will be announced when they are appointed later, the SPA report added.

Also read: Saudi’s $500bn mega zone NEOM appoints tourism head

“We are confident that each of these experts will make significant contributions to the development of the project,” said NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nassr.

NEOM was first unveiled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman at a Public Investment Fund  (PIF) conference last October.

Spanning 26,500sqm, it will act as a technology hub, job creator and centre for foreign investment and is key component of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda to diversify away from oil.

It is intended to be “an oasis of stunning cliffs, sandy beaches and high-tech projects powered by wind and solar energy where robots outnumber humans and a cosmopolitan lifestyle offers sports, concerts and fine dining”,  it was announced at the time of launch.

Read: New Saudi mega city NEOM is Crown Prince’s desert dream

Speaking to Bloomberg last week, Prince Mohamed revealed that the master plan spanned 12 small cities or towns next to the sea and six or seven elsewhere as well as a huge industrial zone, port and three-to-four airports.

He indicated first town in an area called the Neom Riviera will be ready by 2020.

“I am pushing to have it in 2019, I don’t know if I will succeed in that,” he explained.

“After that, we will have from two to three new towns in Neom every year. Neom city will be completed in 2025.”

Read more: Saudi’s crown prince to double SoftBank investment, hopes for first NEOM town in 2019

Currently the only structures in NEOM are believed to be part of a palace complex built for monarch King Salman.

In July, it was reported that King Salman holidayed in the zone in palaces on the Red Sea coast.

Read: Saudi Binladin diverted ‘tens of thousands’ of workers to complete king’s NEOM palace