Saudi developer Dar Al Arkan appoints former Damac managing director El Chaar as chief executive

Ziad El Chaar, the former managing director of Damac Properties, has been appointed as the chief executive of Riyadh-based property developer Dar Al Arkan, the Saudi company said on Sunday.

Dar Al Arkan’s board approved a proposal for Mr El Chaar to become chief executive last Thursday, effective immediately, the company said in a statement on the Saudi bourse. His departure from Damac was announced two weeks ago.

Dar Al Arkan is a leading developer in the kingdom whose shares are listed on the Saudi stock exchange, Tadawul. Last year, the company reported a 30 per cent decline in net income to 250.8 million Saudi riyals (Dh245.6m) as revenue dropped by 15 per cent to 1.87 billion riyals.

However, it remains well capitalised, with more than 18bn riyals worth of shareholders’ equity, and is well placed to benefit from proposals within the kingdom’s National Transformation Programme to boost the role of real estate in the economy – from 5 per cent of GDP last year to a target of 10 per cent by 2020.

Mr El Chaar, who holds a master’s in business administration from the American University of Beirut, “has extensive experience in real estate, finance and leadership”, according to the statement issued by Dar Al Arkan.

It added that he “has worked on a wide variety of projects in the Middle East”. He worked at Damac for 12 years, joining in 2005. Mr El Chaar stoked controversy in the UAE in 2015 when he accused some of the real estate sector’s biggest brokerages of “professional malpractice” by publishing Dubai market reports forecasting excess supply. The executive slammed data issued by property brokers as inaccurate and damaging to market sentiment, in an open letter sent to media in October 2015. Brokers responded by stating that their data came directly from developers’ own completion estimates.

Dar Al Arkan, meanwhile, is chaired by Yousef Al Shelash and has developed major mixed-use, retail and residential projects across the kingdom.

Last month, it launched a villa community known as Parisiana Living, close to its existing Al Qasr Mall project off King Fahd Road in south-central Riyadh.

Announcing the launch, Mr Al Shelash said that it “comes in line with Dar Al Arkan’s approach to provide the kingdom’s real estate market with high-quality, ready-made housing units”.

“The expertise and success stories of Dar Al Arkan will enable the company to play an active role in finding suitable housing solutions, supporting government initiatives in the housing sector,” he added.

To date, Dar Al Arkan has built more than 15,000 residential units, as well as 500,000 square metres of leasing space within residential communities.

mfahy@thenational.ae

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter