NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, or PIF, has hired KARV Communications.
KARV has been tasked with letting investors, potential portfolio companies, business leaders, the media, and others know that PIF is focused on business. Its $120,000-a-month contract, as first reported by Al-Monitor, stipulates that it "create a clear distinction between [PIF] (and its investment-driven mission) and the political leadership in Saudi Arabia," according to documents filed with the Department of Justice.
In addition, KARV will bolster the fund and its leaders’ reputations "while underscoring [its] business-only purpose and focus" and "emphasizing its achievements." It will also develop and improve relations with its stakeholders - listed above - and make sure it is prepared for any negative publicity.
"KARV Communications will be providing strategic communications counsel to the Public Investment Fund’s MD Yasir Al-Rumayyan and his professional senior management team as they work to identify new international investment opportunities," said Andrew Frank, founder and president at KARV. "We will be providing media relations guidance and editorial support to PIF as it keeps its important stakeholders informed of its accomplishments."
The contract is effective January 1 through December 31, 2019.
However, there is a wrinkle in KARV’s plan, according to Al-Monitor.
"This may prove a tough sell with [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud] chairing the [PIF], while Saudi ministers make up six of the remaining eight board members," the outlet reported.
PIF receives money from the Saudi government, according to the Justice Department filing. Separate from its board, there is a professional investment committee within PIF that oversees its investment decisions.
Previously, PIF received comms support from Gladstone Place Partners, who worked on the sovereign wealth fund’s $500 billion NEOM project. The Steve Lipin-led firm resigned the $200,000 account after it was suspected the Kingdom played a hand in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Kingdom came under intense public scrutiny, threatening its ability to attract foreign investors and modernize its economy. Numerous PR and lobbying firms cut ties with the country and its various philanthropic and business entities, including most recently, CGCN Group.
Despite the controversy, others are willing to take on the country.
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