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History in the Making

Suliman joined Aramco in Dhahran just one year prior to the monumental discovery of oil there in commercial quantities.  He was in the right place at the right time.

He continued working for the company during World War II, when oil became a global strategic asset.

Then, in April 1947, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud made a historic visit to Aramco headquarters in Dhahran. Suliman, by then a company liaison and translator, was in the center of it all.

Education

In Bahrain, Suliman attended local schools where he quickly mastered English. He proved to be an exceptional student overall with a prodigious memory, great curiosity and an ability to see possibility in the midst of challenge.

In 1937, by then a young man, Suliman returned to Saudi Arabia to take a job with the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, forerunner of the Arabian American Oil Company, today known as Saudi Aramco. By 1947, Suliman had risen from transportation dispatcher to storehouse supervisor to a position in government relations.

The Journey Begins

Suliman Olayan was born in 1918 into a merchant family in Unayzah, an oasis town located in north-central Saudi Arabia. For centuries, Unayzah had been a haven for caravans venturing across the Najd, Saudi Arabia's heartland. The merchant families of Unayzah played a vital role in opening central Arabia to trade with the outside world.

Origins

The history of The Olayan Group is intertwined with the life and accomplishments of its founder, Suliman Saleh Olayan. Over a 55-year career as an independent businessman, he served with distinction as entrepreneur, investor, business leader, and philanthropist.

Photo: Downtown Al-Khobar, 1950.

2016

550 Madison Avenue

In association with Chelsfield, the Group purchases 550 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, otherwise known as the Sony Tower.

2016

Cummins Arabia

Cummins Inc. and The Olayan Group form a three-country distribution joint venture in the Middle East, furthering a business relationship that began 60 years ago.

2015

Hotel Ritz Madrid

Through a joint venture with Mandarin Oriental, the Group acquires The Hotel Ritz in Madrid.

2015

Baccarat Hotel

In partnership with Starwood Capital, the Group sells its interest in the Baccarat Hotel in New York to a Chinese insurance firm -- Sunshine Insurance Group.

2014

Paris Portfolio

In its largest real estate acquisition to date, the Group purchases the Paris portfolio from Risanamento. It includes prime office, retail, and residential assets in the city's prestigious central district.

2012

65th Anniversary

The Group marks its 65th Anniversary.

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