HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), met with French President HE François Hollande on Tuesday, May 5th 2015 at the King Saud Palace the President was accompanied by HE Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defence and HE Bertrand Besancenot, French Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia The meeting was attended by Ms. Hassna Alturki, Executive Manager for International Relations to HRH the Chairman, Mr. Fahad Bin Nafil, Senior Executive Assistant to HRH the Chairman and Mr. Kacy Grine, Advisor to HRH the Chairman.
The meeting began as Prince Alwaleed greeted President François Hollande. The two discussed political, economic and cultural matters. They also discussed the bi-lateral relations between Saudi Arabia and France, and the strong relations between HRH and France, especially KHC’s investments in France that are considered to be the largest Saudi Arabian presence in France through the ownership and management of the iconic landmark The Four Seasons Hotel George V, the management of Le Royal Monceau Hotel (Raffles), Disneyland, Paris (Euro Disney), 7 hotels in Disneyland, Paris, in addition to the management of the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in the South of France, and through the presence of Citigroup. Also Prince Alwaleed’s cultural contributions through Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation that have donated US$20 million in 2005 to establish the center of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre.
Recently, Prince Alwaleed received HE Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed received HE Mr. Jean- Louis Borloo, Special Envoy to the French President HE François Hollande. Also in 2015, Prince Alwaleed received at his office in Riyadh, HE Dominique De Villepin, Former French Prime Minister.
In 2014, Prince Alwaleed met President Hollande during their visit to the Republic of Senegal. During the visit President Hollande and Prince Alwaleed attended the 15th Francophonie Summit at the International Conference Centre of Dakar in response to an invitation from HE Mr. Macky Sall, President of Senegal. The summit was attended by Heads of State, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers and Senior Government Officials of countries which have the French language in common on the theme of “Women and Children in the Francophonie: Peacemakers and Key-players for Development“.
Furthermore, Prince Alwaleed attended a dinner at the French presidential palace, The Elysee in 2014, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Institutional Investor Roundtable (IIR) headquarters with an official invitation from President Hollande.
In 2014, Prince Alwaleed met Mr. Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S, Paris. The two discussed a number of issues that included KHC’s investment in Euro Disney in which it holds a 10 % stake. In the same year, French President François Hollande and Prince Alwaleed held a meeting at the French presidential Palace, The Elysee. Also in 2014, KHC and Caisse des Dépôts International Capital (CDC International Capital – CDCIC) have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to establish an investment vehicle jointly managed by CDCIC and KHC seeking to develop Saudi projects and ventures that shall benefit from the involvement of French companies, technologies and know how.
In 2012, President Hollande and Prince Alwaleed inaugurated the new center of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre in Paris in the presence of Mr. Henrie Loyrette, Director of the Louvre Museum and Ms. Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communications during a ceremony in 2012. In response to an invitation from the former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who presided the G8 Summit for 2011, Prince Alwaleed attended the e-G8 forum that was held the eve of the G8 Summit.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V was ranked in Gallivanter’s Guide “Best City Hotel Worldwide” and “Best European City Hotel” for 11 years. Prince Alwaleed acquired the George V in 1996 for $178 million. A two-year $125 million comprehensive renovation was started in 1997. The total cost of acquiring the hotel and renovation amounted to $303 million, reflecting the Prince’s dedication to restore the glory of this landmark.
In 2006, HRH was bestowed the medal of “Legion of Honor,” with the rank of Commander by the former French President, Jacques Chirac during an official ceremony held at the Élysée Palace. The medal is the country’s highest civilian honor, and it was bestowed to the Prince in recognition of his role in strengthening Saudi-French cultural, business and economic relations. In 2007, HRH was awarded the “Golden” medal by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.