Saudi Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, has appointed veteran banker Alastair Wooler as FX and rates hedging specialist. Wooler joins the state-owned oil giant and the world’s top oil exporter following more than 20 years in investment banking.
Prior to Aramco, Alastair had spent 14 years at UniCredit, the largest Italian lender, where he held several senior FX roles. Most recently, he was the global FX business manager, responsible for the day-to-day operational management of foreign exchange activities. This included regulatory and other initiatives in cash and derivatives products.
Wooler had originally joined UniCredit in 2005 to develop and execute their rates and FX risk hedging strategies for financial sponsors. He was then promoted to deputy head of FX structuring, where he arranged first FX-linked bonds and certificates for UniCredit in Italy. He was also tasked with expanding their FX notes business in Germany and Austria.
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Italy’s biggest lender has recently unloaded the majority of its stake in the online broker FinecoBank to raise over $1.3 billion as it seeks to free up more capital. UniCredit had already sold a 26 percent stake in the unit back in 2016, just as its CEO Jean Pierre Mustier started a strategic in-depth review in an attempt to boost capital and improve profitability. The two-phase sales netted over €880 million.
Earlier in his career, Alastair worked as a corporate liability structurer at Deutsche Bank AG for more than five years, focusing on interest rates and FX for British and Swiss clients. Other stops include serving as FX exotic options structurer at Global Financial Markets, as well as fixed-income research assistant at Lehman Brothers, part of a lengthy career dating back to 1992.
In his new role with Saudi Arabia’s oil giant, he will be responsible for analysis, monitoring, and hedging of FX market risks. He will also assess market exposures, perform quantitative and qualitative analyses on positions and risks of the respective portfolios, and report the findings to risk management.
Saudi Aramco initial public offering (IPO) was the biggest business event that hit public markets around the world in 2019. The biggest ever public offering values the company at $2 trillion. It has raised $25.6 billion as Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil by investing in non-energy industries.