The Development and Investment Entertainment Company (DIEC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has been rebranded to Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN).
The subsidiary was established by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund in 2017 to develop the entertainment and lifestyle sectors in the kingdom. PIF has also signed deals with cinema operators such as AMC Entertainment Holdings, in which Wanda is also an investor, and is expected to welcome around 350 movie theatres with over 2,500 screens expected to be built by 2030. In partnership with AMC Group, it launched the first movie theatre in Saudi Arabia in more than three decades.
Former Disney executive Bill Ernest has been appointed as the CEO of the Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company (SEVEN). Bill Ernest is a veteran of 25 years at Disney, and most recently led the parks and resorts business in Asia as president and managing director. Ernest will lead and manage all facets of SEVEN and attempt to maximise its investments in the entertainment infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, the release stated.
Commenting on the appointment, Abdullah Al-Dawood, Chairman of the board of directors of SEVEN, said: “Bill’s unique expertise and extensive skills in the entertainment and hospitality sector, and over two decades in a leadership role at Disney, will enable him to fulfill the company’s future aspirations through its four main sectors—entertainment complexes, theme parks, movie theaters, and family centres and specialty attractions. Furthermore, Bill’s long history in development and management of resorts in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, and his high standing among his global peers will enhance the company’s local and international partnerships for investment and development in the Kingdom’s promising entertainment sector.”