Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim replaces its chief executive officer

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Dubai-based property and retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC replaced its chief executive officer Alain Bejjani, who’s led the firm since 2015, in a shakeup just over a year after the death of its eponymous founder.

Ahmed Galal Ismail is now the chief executive officer, according to the company’s website. Ismail has been head of the group’s property unit since 2018 and was responsible for its shopping malls, hotels, communities and project management operations. He also previously led the firm’s ventures business.

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The reasons behind the change were not immediately clear. Majid Al Futtaim didn’t immediately respond to an email sent outside of office hours.

Majid Al Futtaim has long been seen as an anchor of Dubai’s economy. The company controls $16.5 billion in assets including a renowned indoor ski hall, the opulent Mall of the Emirates and the Carrefour hypermarket franchise in the Middle East. It has activities in 17 countries, extending into Africa. Investors also hold some $3.7 billion in corporate debt.

Following its billionaire founder’s death in December 2021, the ruler of Dubai appointed a special judicial committee to oversee any potential disputes — a relatively rare occurrence reserved for high-profile cases.

Majid Al Futtaim was in transition to multiple owners and that process could lay the groundwork for more sweeping changes, Bloomberg reported in April. Options include selling parts of the group, an investment by a sovereign wealth fund and a public listing, people familiar with the discussions said at the time.

Bejjani started working at MAF in October 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile. He held multiple of roles at the firm’s property business, including chief corporate development officer, before taking over as CEO of the entire firm in February 2015.

The operator of Carrefour stores in the Middle East reported a 15 percent increase in first-half revenue and a 42 percent jump in profit in August, coinciding with a rebound in Dubai’s economy. The firm said footfall continued to increase at its shopping malls, and that hotel occupancy rates had risen.

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