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1 Jun 2022

Rory Jones, Wall Street Journal

Saudi Arabia: Allegations of discrimination, "dismissive & demeaning" workplace culture, & high staff turnover at NEOM mega-project; incl. comments from Neom

See all tags Allegations
Saudi Arabia desert

"Expatriate executives flee Saudi Arabia's bad bosses," 31 May 2022

[Neom] is part of a plan to make the desert kingdom less dependent on oil with the help of the world’s best and brightest engineers, architects, executives and urban planners. Tens of thousands of white-collar expatriates have been drawn to work in multibillion-dollar initiatives...

Many recruits are now fleeing, turned off by a management culture that former executives say at its worst belittles expatriates, makes unrealistic demands and turns a blind eye to discrimination...

The man handpicked by Prince Mohammed to lead Neom often berates and scares his employees, current and former Neom staff members say. Under Mr. Nasr’s leadership, Neom has lost dozens of expat executives from its 1,500-member workforce. Many have resigned or been fired since being poached from companies such as Walt Disney Co., Siemens AG and Marriott International. Some have forfeited contracts of more than $500,000 a year rather than work under Mr. Nasr, former employees said...

Neom declined to make Mr. Nasr available for an interview or answer specific questions for this article. The Saudi government didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In a written statement, Neom said that it represents “a scale and ambition the world has never seen before” and that it continues to retain and attract talent. “Employees are passionate about what they do and deeply committed to living up to, and delivering on, the Neom vision,” it said.

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