Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Zamil (born 1942) is an industrial engineer, whose work in industry and government has been important to the industrial development of Saudi Arabia. As the original chief executive of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), as Minister of Industry and Electricity, and through his family's Zamil Group Holding Company, he has been instrumental in creating a nationally based, profitable, high-tech industrial enterprise in Saudi Arabia. Al Zamil encouraged careful expansion with strong partners on a basis of sound technology in a wide variety of areas. Zamil Group, which now employs more than 12,000 people in 60 countries, is involved in diverse sectors including general construction, paints, plastics, petrochemicals, shipbuilding, and port management. He has been awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal, 1984 and will receive the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award for supporting industries in 2015.
Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Zamil was born in 1942 in Bahrain. He is the fourth of twelve sons of Abdullah Al-Hamad Al Zamil, originally from Onaiza, Central Arabia. Abdullah Al-Hamad Al Zamil established a food and textile trading entity in Bahrain in the 1930s, later expanding into real estate investment. Upon his death in 1961, the family chose to continue operation of his business as a group, under the leadership of the eldest son, Mohammed.
Abdul Aziz Al Zamil attended primary and secondary schools in Bahrain. He completed his final year of high school in Kuwait in 1959, as did his brother Abdulrahman Abdullah Al Zamil. He traveled to Egypt and to England, where he studied math, biology, zoology, physics, chemistry, as well as learning English. He then went to the United States to study industrial engineering, under a Saudi government program supporting foreign education. Already proficient in English, Al Zamil was able to complete his bachelor's and master's degrees within five years, receiving his bachelor's in industrial engineering in 1967, and his master's in 1968 from the University of Southern California.
Returning to Saudi Arabia in 1968, Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Zamil worked for some years at the Saudi Consulting House, a joint venture of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Saudi government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Under a United Nations fellowship, he traveled internationally to study industrial development in countries such as India, the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Upon his return he was promoted to Deputy Director General.
In 1975 he was asked by Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al Gosaibi, then Minister of Industry and Electricity, to establish the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), which was established by royal decree in 1976. One of his first responsibilities was to examine product proposals and identify those which seemed promising for development. He helped to negotiate joint-venture agreements with foreign chemical companies and ensure that the Saudis gained access to both technological and marketing expertise. He served as Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of SABIC from 1976-1983. From 1983 to 1995 he was Chairman of SABIC and was also appointed Minister of Industry and Electricity for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During this time he traveled extensively, supporting the training and recruiting of young Saudis in technical and professional fields, as well as promoting economic and industrial development. In 1984, he received the King Abdul Aziz Medal from King Fahd.
"In my opinion, building people was as important as building factories... As a result, training became the core of the Saudi development programme, which has seen the kingdom enter into sophisticated industrial sectors through joint venture initiatives."
Retiring from his government position in August 1995, Al Zamil jointed the family business, Zamil Group Holding Company, and supported its expansion into the newly accessible area of petrochemicals. He established the Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) with his brother Abdulrahman, and became Chairman. In 2004, the Zamil Group helped to establish Sahara Petrochemicals Company. Again, Al Zamil became Chairman. He has served as Director; Chairman of the board; and President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Zamil Group Holding Company.
Eng. Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Zamil is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Alinma Bank, as well as other institutions. He has been awarded the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award for supporting industries for 2015.