Goldman Sachs Head Lloyd Blankfein Visits Saudi Arabia, Calls Changes in Kingdom ‘Striking’

Goldman Sachs Group’s CEO visited Saudi Arabia this week and praised the Kingdom’s reform efforts on Twitter, calling the progress in Saudi Arabia “striking.”

Lloyd Blankfein visited Saudi Arabia after speaking on a panel with the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Yassir Al-Rummayan, on September 20th. In comments on that panel, Blankfein said Saudi Arabia “must address cultural differences with the West” to attract more foreign workers as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil, according to Bloomberg.

The comments were made just days before Saudi Arabia’s King Salman took the landmark decision to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive for the first time.

“Just back from Saudi Arabia. Social and economic change is striking. Long way to go but new generation is ‘driving’ reform,” Blankfein said.

Goldman Sachs has been expanding in Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg notes. The bank was one of the firms that helped arrange the nation’s debut international bond sale last year, and the kingdom’s Capital Market Authority has given Goldman Sachs approval to trade local equities.