Change is always good, and especially when it has come to the make-up of the Newcastle United boardroom. Tyneside was electric when the news came through that Mike Ashley had sold his shares in the club to the consortium made up of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP and RB Media. While we have had over 18 months to prepare for the news, it didn’t stop it feeling like a massive weight had been lifted of our shoulders.

As the dust settled, attention turned to the boardroom, and who would take their positions in this new look Newcastle. There is a new man at the head of the table, a new man to lead the new directive of Newcastle United into a much brighter future.

His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan is the man chosen to lead Newcastle into this new era. He will be the sole representative of PIF on the new look club board, as he takes up his role as Chairman. To say he is a massive step up from our previous chairman would be an understatement. We have moved from someone who was ok at running shops, to someone who is a leader in their field, and someone who according to CNBC is one of the worlds most influential CEO’s.

Born 18th February 1970, The Saudi CEO has two qualifications from higher education. HE graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from King Faisal University in 2003, and completed a General Business Programme with Harvard Business school in 2007. Just by his qualifications alone you get the feeling His Excellency is the right man to lead the new look Newcastle United.

His suitability for his new position is just backed up by his qualifications, but his working experience as well. He was Head of International Brokerage at the Saudi Hollandi Bank, then Head of Securities Listings for the Capital Markets Authority. He then joined the investment banking side of Banque Saudi Fransi as CEO, with his final year with Saudi Fransi Capital, he also served on the Board of Directors for the Saudi Stock Exchange.

It would be this early success in his professional life that would catch the eye of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The future ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would see Al-Rumayyan as the perfect person to run his new Public Investment Fund (PIF). He would take an initial role of Managing Director and Board member of PIF in 2015, and would be made Governor in 2019. A move that saw him take control of the vision and investment of Saudi’s PIF.

He would join Aramco as a board member in 2016, and would be made Chairman of the Board in 2019. A-Rumayyan is essentially the man in charge when it comes to a lot of the wealth within the Kingdom. While Bin Salman is head of the board with PIF, the running of which has been entrusted to Newcastle’s new chairman.

During his tenure with PIF, Al-Rumayyan has overseen investments in some of the worlds biggest companies, including and not limited too, Facebook, Twitter, Starbucks, Disney, Uber ( he also hold s a position on the Uber board) and McClaren. Along with Vision 2030, he has led PIF to be one of, if not the biggest Investment Funds on the planet, something that is shown in the owners wealth table. It is a move too take the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away from a reliance on oil money, and make their wealth in environmentally friendlier avenues.

Through his work with PIF and Aramco, he has been able to use this to integrate his love of Sport. You will see advertising boards throughout every Formula 1 race on the calendar. There have also been events sponsored on the Men’s European Tour in Golf, with events from the Rolex series being held in Saudi, which attracted some of the Sports biggest names. There have also been events sponsored on the Women’s LPGA tour. The Chairman is a massive Golf fan, and has been a leading light within these deals to involve some of the worlds best from the men’s and women’s game in events.

Our new chairman is a busy man, and tries to fit sports within his busy schedule. In fact the weekend of the new ownerships opening fixture, Al-Rumayyan was playing in a team event on the LPGA on the Friday and the Saturday. He would then fly from New York on the Sunday morning of the game to take a first hand look at his newest investment. If that wasn’t enough on the Monday he would be in London to meet Queen Elizabeth.

The Saturday of the Palace game, he also held a conference to support Climate Change, and look at ways PIF and Aramco are working with industries from other countries to make the world a cleaner environment. It would be at this event he would pick up the first Distinguished Global Leader award from the Middle East Institute.

Here we have a man that has worked well with his passions, enabling them to integrate and benefit from his roles. A man that has continually climbed the ladder in his professional life to becoming one of the most influential men in the world of business.

So while Yasir Al-Rumayyan won’t be in the directors box every week, you feel Newcastle are in a safe set of hands with him heading the board. It is exciting times for Newcastle United and the city, and having someone with the background of His Excellency leading the way can only mean good things for the future of our football club and our region. Here we have a man whose official title is “His Excellency”, which is a massive step forward from Retail Mogul.

This is a man who has excelled in everything he has done, and hopefully will excel in his role as Newcastle United chairman. Something I don’t doubt that he will continue to strive to achieve, just like everything else in his professional life!

CARL RICHARDSON