Will Qatar change under new leader?
7 July 2013 Last updated at 01:52 BST
Gulf leaders have traditionally held on to power until their deaths, so Sheikh Hamad's decision to give control of the world's richest country, Qatar, to his son surprised many.
So what does this mean for Qatar's economic direction? And what message does such a seemingly orderly succession send to outside investors?
Speaking to the BBC, Shadi Hamid, Director of Research, Brookings Doha Centre, suggested that the Qatar's strong economic position would not be threatened by the transition.