Al Gergawi to leave Dubai Holding post

Mohammad Al Gergawi is to step down as the chairman of Dubai Holding after 18 years at the helm of the conglomerate that owns hospitality business Jumeirah Group and Tecom business parks.

The replacement for Mr Al Gergawi, who had held his position since the investment group was founded, was not named in the press statement on Saturday but a spokesman said that in the interim, Dubai Holding will be led by Ahmad bin Byat, its vice chairman, and by Fadel Al Ali, the chief executive.

Mr Al Gergawi, who is the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, will focus on his duties in the government.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, thanked Mr Al Gergawi for his service, stating that Dubai Holding had “added real value to our national economy”.

He said: “We gave him the responsibility of tackling a lot of challenges and he succeeded, and we gave him our trust after we saw his dedication and sincerity in servicing his country.”

Dubai Holding also announced that its main operating arm, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group, posted an 8 per cent increase in net profit in 2016 to Dh6.32 billion on the back of growth across its units. Revenue rose by 16 per cent to Dh16.84bn.

Mr Al Gergawi said Dubai Holding had been started with 20 employees “in rented offices with used furniture and with a small loan”.

Now, he said, it has 22,000 employees in 21 countries and its Dh200 million loan has been grown into a business with assets of Dh100bn.

Dubai Holding is the owner of the Tecom business parks group, the Jumeirah Group hospitality business, Dubai Properties and telecoms operator du’s parent firm, Emirates International Telecommunications.

In the past year, there was growth in all the business divisions of Dubai Holding Combined Operations Group.

Some highlights for the firm, which last year set itself a target of reaching Dh10bn in annual profit by 2020, include Jumeirah Group’s completion of the fourth phase of the Madinat Jumeirah resort, Jumeirah Al Nasseem, and a new terrace at its flagship Burj Al Arab property.

Dubai Holding also announced that it would move its Mall of the World project to an as-yet-unspecified site on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road to make way for Jumeirah Central — a Dh73.5bn mixed-use city district unveiled in September. It is due to be built on a site fronting Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Mall of the Emirates.

Last week, Jumeirah Central’s chief operating officer, Morgan Parker, told The National that an international launch of Jumeirah Central is set to take place at the Mipim global property conference in Cannes next month, where details of the first seven buildings to be brought forward will be revealed to potential investors. These include a new office tower at the entrance to the existing Sharaf DG metro station, hotels, a hospital, residential towers and an education building.

Tecom also launched the Dh30bn Dubai Wholesale City project — a 550 million square feet park aimed at wholesalers. A deal with one of the world’s biggest exporters, China Commodity City Group, was also agreed with a view to developing wholesale operations in the area.

Its media operations, which fall under the remit of Tecom, helped 165 new companies move into the region, including YouTube, which has taken its first space in the Middle East at Dubai Studio City.

Dubai Design District also attracted 150 new companies, including architecture firms Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid and Benoy. About 175 companies from the technology industries also moved into Dubai internet City and Dubai Outsource City, including Visa, Huawei and Samsung Electronics.

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