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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin al-Nasser. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Aramco on Sunday announced an altered and expanded slate of directors, including the first female member, as the company plans for a massive IPO and widens its international footprint.

Why it matters: The move reflects the broader ambitions of the state oil giant, which is planning the IPO to help fund the kingdom's economic diversification.

New members of what's now an 11-member board include:

  • Andrew Liveris, the outgoing chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical.
  • Lynn Laverty Elsenhans, the former president & CEO of Sunoco Inc.
  • Peter L. Cella, the former president and CEO of Chevron Philips Chemical Co.

Timing: The announcement also arrives as Aramco has been looking to expand investments abroad, including potential new petrochemical projects in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere, a business area where the new members have deep experience. Bloomberg looks at planned and potential refining and petrochemical investments in several countries here.

Yes, but: Plans for listing of around 5% of Aramco, which the kingdom hopes will raise tens of billions of dollars, have been mired in uncertainty around timing and even whether to proceed.

  • Officials initially targeted a 2018 IPO, but that looks increasingly unlikely, and the kingdom has also not selected a location, with New York, London and Hong Kong believed to be the major contenders.
  • They are also planning to sell shares on Saudi Arabia's domestic exchange.

The intrigue: The Wall Street Journal notes that the board "remains packed with government officials, which could limit its options for listing on Western exchanges like New York and London."

One level deeper: Other new members of the board are H.E. Mohammed A. Al-Jadaan, who is the country's minister of finance, and H.E. Mohammed M. Al-Tuwaijri, who is minister of Economy and planning.

  • Per the announcement, the outgoing members areH.E. Dr. Majid Al-Moneef, an adviser to the Royal Court; H.E. Dr. Khaled S. Al-Sultan, rector of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and Peter Woicke, former managing director of the World Bank.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”