Coronavirus: Dubai’s Emaar chief abolishes all job titles at the property developer

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The head of Emaar, one of Dubai’s largest companies, has abolished all titles for employees including his own in a move aimed at shifting the company culture in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email seen by regional news outlets.

Mohamed Alabbar, who until Tuesday was the official chairman of the Dubai-based real estate developer, said in an internal email that Emaar employees no longer had job titles as part of the company’s shift to focus on “talent, not titles.”

“When you reach the end of this email, you will notice something different. I have no job title. And from this moment onwards, nor do you,” the email reportedly read.

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“Yes, of course structures are needed, but I believe every single member of our organisation adds great value. Emaar is not a collection of talented individuals, but a team of great pooled talent. Today I am announcing what is the smallest change that will have the biggest impact for generations to come,” wrote Alabbar.

“For Emaar to continue to succeed, it is vital that every single one of our employees feels empowered to contribute. They must be motivated by their talent and the work they do,” he added.

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Alabbar founded Emaar in 1997 and has chaired the company since its inception. Today, Emaar is one of the largest property developers in the world.

“From now on we will pledge to focus on continuous growth and development. We will invest in developing the skills and capabilities of those who have helped us to achieve the success we had had in the past and who will be part of our growth journey in the future,” he added in the email.

It was unclear whether the removal of titles meant changes in payment or hierarchy for Emaar staff.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global economic slowdown which some experts have said will likely be the biggest recession in nearly a century. In April, Alabbar informed staff that Emaar would be cutting salaries to stay ahead of the COVID-19 storm. While all staff received a cut of 15-50 percent, Alabbar decided to forgo a salary all together.

Earlier, Alabbar had advised retailers in the UAE that now was the time to “be bold” while the world emerges from lockdown.

“Now is the time to be bold. Of course, we are all being cautious, but we must not be afraid to act now in this new environment. This is the time to fast track many initiatives, including our digital plans, customer experience, loyalty, efficiency and business diversification,” Alabbar said at the time.

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