King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud acceded to the Saudi throne on the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.
He served as governor of Riyadh Province for 48 years before becoming defence minister in 2011 and crown prince a year later.
Aged 79 when he came to the throne, he had already taken on the duties of the king as Abdullah’s health faded.
King Salman is part of an influential faction within the royal family formed of the sons of the late King Abdulaziz by a favourite wife, Princess Hassa al-Sudairi.
King Salman: Key facts
Born on 31 December 1935
Son of Princess Hassa al-Sudairi
Governor of Riyadh from 1955-1960 and again from 1963 to 2011
Appointed defence minister upon death of his brother Crown Prince Sultan
Owns important stake in one of the Arab world’s largest media groups
As governor of Riyadh, he oversaw its transformation from an isolated desert town into a crowded city of skyscrapers, universities and Western fast-food chains.
The post raised his international profile as he hosted visiting VIPs and envoys and helped secure foreign investment.
As defence minister he was head of the Saudi military as it joined the US and other Arab countries in air strikes in Syria in 2014 against the Islamic State militant group.
King Salman’s sons include:
Deputy Oil Minister Prince Abdulaziz
Prince Faisal, the governor of Medina
Prince Sultan, the head of the tourism authority and a former Royal Saudi Air Force pilot and astronaut.
The king’s health has, however, been a concern. He is believed to have suffered at least one stroke that has left him with limited movement in his left arm.
After becoming king he announced that the next crown prince will be his half-brother Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the youngest surviving son of the late King Abdulaziz.