He was the eldest son of Ibn Saud, and was made a crown prince on May 11, 1933, and became king upon his father's death in 1953. During his reign he was responsible for the establishment of numerous governmental ministries, and also for the establishment of King Saud University in Riyadh.
His reign was marked with dissatisfaction within his own family. Like his father, he had more than 30 sons. Saud was keen to give his own sons power, and placed them in high governmental positions. This annoyed his half-brothers, who thought that Saud's sons were too inexperienced, and began to fear that Saud would select his own son to succeed him. He was also known for his lavish spending squandering state funds for his own family and made diplomatic blunders, such as a supposed plot to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser. These helped bring about his downfall. He was also known for his drinking, outlawed by Islam.
He was deposed on November 2, 1964, by a family coup, with the backing of the ulema, and replaced by his half-brother King Faisal. Saud lived out the rest of his life in exile.