Story highlights

Salman is "viewed as a pragmatic and cautious reformer," CNN's Becky Anderson says

He ran the Saudi capital for nearly five decades as its population grew significantly

Editor’s Note: This story has been modified to remove reporting that did not meet CNN’s editorial standards, including summaries of speculation by other news organizations about the King’s mental acuity. London-based attorneys representing the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have told CNN that “any suggestion that King Salman is suffering from dementia or mental impairment of any kind is quite simply untrue.”

CNN —  

After the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia quickly announced that one of his younger brothers, Crown Prince Salman, was succeeding him.

The man taking control of the world’s top oil exporter is well established in the Gulf kingdom’s corridors of power.

Salman, 79, is “a stalwart of the royal family” who is “viewed as a pragmatic and cautious reformer, much like his predecessor,” says CNN’s Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.

He has served as defense minister and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia, a vital U.S. ally in the Middle East, for years. Like Abdullah, he’s one of the dozens of sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdulaziz.

Here are some of the key points about the new ruler.

He’s an experienced leader

Salman was governor of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for nearly five decades during a period of significant change.

“When he became governor in 1963, Riyadh had 200,000 inhabitants — today it has more than seven million,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy,