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Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in the UAE

Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in the UAE

The highest ranking entries originating from the UAE in Gulf Business’ annual Arab power list

The UAE accounts for the most number of entries in Gulf Business‘ annual list of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arabs in 2019, with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum also topping the list for the second year in a row.

In total, 44 of the most powerful Arabs reside in the UAE.

Those on the list from the UAE span across industries – from real estate and finance to energy.

The top five most powerful Arabs from the UAE remain the same as last year, although three of them have seen their overall rankings on the list go up.

Read: Top 100 most powerful Arabs 2019

Also read: Revealed: Top 5 most powerful Arabs in Saudi Arabia

1. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Chairman, Emirates/Emirates NBD

Sector: Diversified

Overall rank: 1

2018 rank: 1

It’s hard to see past Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum as the leader of the pack once again. Having replaced Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed at the top of the list in 2018, Sheikh Ahmed retains the crown thanks to his multiple roles across the region’s business landscape.

Among his many private and public sector roles, Sheikh Ahmed is chairman and CEO of ever-high- flying Emirates Group, chairman of Dubai Airports, chairman of Emirates NBD, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, chairman of the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee, and many, many more.

With Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed oversaw a number of milestones, including the launch of new routes, enhanced technology, greater customer-centric services, and the carrying of more than 59 million passengers in 2018. Meanwhile, Emirates NBD recorded nine-month net profit of Dhs7.65bn in October – up 24 per cent on 2017 –adding to Sheikh Ahmed’s seemingly endless array of successes.

2. Mohamed Alabbar

Chairman, Emaar/noon.com

Sector: Real estate/retail

Overall rank: 6

2018 rank: 6

Speaking at the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival in November last year, Mohamed Alabbar emphasised the importance of ensuring the presence and influence of home-grown businesses in the region. He has certainly taken the lead in doing so, both with his ubiquitous development company Emaar, and more recently his e-commerce venture Noon.com.

Now just over one-year-old, Noon has made substantial ground in its bid to win market share from Amazon-owned rival Souq.com. Backed by Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF, Alabbar plans to expand the online marketplace to Egypt by the end of Q2 in 2019, and has also called for new legislation that imposes 51 per cent local ownership of e-commerce related businesses. Meanwhile, Alabbar is plotting greater international expansion, with China foremost among the company’s priorities.

3. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak

CEO, Mubadala Investment/chairman, City Football Group

Sector: Diversified

Overall rank: 7

2018 rank: 9

Already a major power player due to his role as CEO of Mubadala Investment and chairman of City Football Group (and therefore of Manchester City FC, New York City FC and Melbourne City FC), Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak gained even more prominence in October last year when he was named as the UAE’s first Presidential Envoy to China.

His appointment comes at a busy time for the man who is also chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, member of the UAE Supreme Petroleum Council, chairman of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, and chairman of Emirates Global Aluminium. A string of recent deals for Mubadala included acquisition of a 20 per cent interest in the Nour Concession in Egypt, the leading of a $60m series B funding for logistics platform Truvo, and an agreement with two partners to develop oil fields in Western Siberia.

4. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair

CEO, Mashreq

Sector: Finance

Overall rank: 9

2018 rank: 10

Not only has Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair continued to play a prominent role within the UAE’s banking and finance community, but he has become an increasingly important figure in terms of philanthropy for the Arab world. His family’s philanthropic vehicle, the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation For Education, has provided hundreds of scholarships to Arab children since Al Ghurair’s father pledged to donate $1.1bn to the foundation.

Last year, following the establishment of a three-year $27m fund for the education of refugees, Al Ghurair was named philanthropist of the year at the World Congress for Muslim Philanthropists. As CEO of Mashreq he enjoyed a net profit of $463m for the first nine months of 2018 – up 5 per cent on 2017; while as chairman of the UAE Banks Federation he has worked to boost the interests of the finance community – most recently by exploring the adoption of blockchain for the country’s banks.

5. Dr Sultan Al Jaber

Director general and CEO, ADNOC/chairman, Masdar

Sector: Energy

Overall rank: 10

2018 rank: 11

Another man with numerous roles to juggle is Dr Sultan Al Jaber, who has not only led ADNOC and Masdar through a busy year, but also served as the UAE’s minister of state, chairman of the UAE National Media Council, and chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports.

Throughout 2018 ADNOC announced several investments, concessions and partnerships, including $7.9bn in offshore concession participation fees and the securing of markets for 40 per cent of the UAE’s oil for the next 40 years.

And Al Jaber announced there are a number of transactions and partnerships in the pipeline for 2019, as part of its 2030 smart growth strategy.

Similarly, future energy company Masdar made important advances with the launch of its new clean-tech innovation hub in the UK, and installation of the first wind turbine at the Dhofar Wind Power Project in Oman among its achievements.

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