Revealed: Winners at the Gulf Business Awards 2016

A total of 25 awards were handed to the winners during the event on Tuesday

The fifth edition of the Gulf Business Awards was held in a glittering ceremony at Taj Dubai on Tuesday evening and hosted some of the biggest business leaders in the UAE.

A total of 25 awards – judged by an independent panel and public voting – were given away during the evening, which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Gulf Business magazine.

The awards sought to applaud excellence in the corporate world and recognised companies and business leaders across nine industries.

For his outstanding achievements and contributions, the founder and chairman of the UAE-based GEMS Education – Sunny Varkey was bestowed with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016.

The coveted Gulf Business Company of the Year award was bagged by home-grown brand Jumeirah, and the 2016 Business Leader of the Year award was handed to the CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths.

varkey and ghurair

The judging panel included: Ian Fairservice, Motivate managing partner and group editor-in-chief; Neil King, editor of Gulf Business; Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO and co-founder of; Brandy Scott, host of Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye 103.8; and Hisham Farouk, CEO of Grant Thornton UAE.

The evening was hosted by Motivate Publishing in association with Audi, our official car partner and category sponsors: Samsonite, Grant Thornton, Faithful+Gould, Kiza, Atiyeh Saba, Arton Capital, DeLonghi Group and Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre

Don’t miss: In pics: Gulf Business Awards 2016 – Companies of the year

In pics: Gulf Business Awards 2016 – Business leaders of the year

In pics: Gulf Business Awards 2016 – Special category winners


Lifetime Achievement Award

Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of GEMS Education

Gulf Business Company of the year: Jumeirah

Gulf Business Business Leader of the Year: Paul Griffiths, 
CEO of Dubai Airports

Companies of the year



Tourism and hospitality


Aviation and transport



Emirates NBD



Media and marketing





Dubai Duty Free

Business leaders of the year

Real estate

His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar


Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar

Tourism and hospitality

H.E. Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Aviation and transport

Paul Griffiths, 
CEO of Dubai Airports


H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank


Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation

Media and marketing

Jonathan Labin, managing director of Facebook Middle East North Africa and Pakistan


H.E. Humaid Al Qatami, chairman and director general of Dubai Health Authority


Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free

Special categories

Businesswoman of the year

H.E Raja Al Gurg, managing director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, president of Dubai Business Women Council, deputy chairperson of the board at Dubai Healthcare City Authority, board member of the Dubai Chamber Of Commerce & Industry

Innovator of the year

Dubai Future Foundation

SME of the year


CSR initiative of the year(public vote)

ActiveLife by Daman

Entrepreneur of the year (public vote)

Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson, founders of Careem