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46. Dilip Rahulan
\nChairman, Pacific Controls
\nDilip Rahulan founded Pacific Controls in Australia in 1984 before expanding the company to Dubai. Rahulan is known as something of a champion of green and energy efficient buildings; Pacific Controls’ UAE headquarters was awarded the honour of becoming the Middle East’s first platinum-rated green building by the US Green Building Council and Leadership in Energy and Environment Design. In July, the firm signed an agreement with Saudi telco Mobily to jointly offer machine-to-machine energy management solutions for vertical industry sectors in Saudi Arabia.
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45. Ram Buxani
\nDirector, ITL-Cosmos Group
\nWhen Ram Buxani came to Dubai at eighteen after taking a five-day boat trip, there was no water, no airport, no electricity, no roads, no telephone, and no oil.
\nMore than 45 years later, the city is booming, and he is the head of one of the biggest and oldest businesses in the country. His company, which deals in textiles, electronics and home appliances, information technology and hospitality sectors, is known for representing a wide number global brands including Sharp, Rhythm and Fujitsu Siemens, among others, and for having over 500 dealers in the UAE and Oman.
\nSpearheading its growth, Buxani is well-respected in the industry. In addition, he is also a director/board member for several other firms around the globe. Described as a humble family man, his hobbies include collecting coins, watches and pens.
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44. Santosh Joseph
\nCEO, Dubai Pearl
\nSanthosh Joseph is the chief executive and a shareholder of the $3.8bn Dubai Pearl project, which is currently under construction at the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah. Joseph took over the management of the 1.85 million sq m development project and has planned and successfully executed a revival plan, including redesigning and rebuilding. The three-phase development is due to start delivering units in 2013 and will comprise four 73-storey towers. Designed by Schweger Associated Architects, the development will comprise a unique mix of residential, retail, hotel, office and cultural space, including a purpose-built complex with an 1,800 seat auditorium.
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43. Dr Shamsheer
\nManaging director, Lifeline Hospital Group
\nAnother healthcare entrepreneur, Shamsheer Vayalil graduated as a radiologist in 2003 and opened his first hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2007.His skills have since then enabled him to develop many hospitals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman and Qatar including the prestigious Burjeel hospital. He has major interests in pharmaceutical production, pharmacy and a wide range of healthcare supporting companies including healthy food, medical conferencing and IT.
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42. CK Menon
\nChairman, Behzad Group
\nThis year marks 40 years of Behzad Group’s operations. Doha-based CK Menon oversees the operations of the Qatari conglomerate. The firm, which operates across a wide range of business including transportation and steel manufacturing has operations all over the Gulf, as well as in Europe, South America and the US. Elsewhere, the group has also ventured into the IT arena via the Behzad Information Technology Centre in Dubai. A philanthropist, Menon has helped build homes for slum dwellers in his native Kerala, and is the director of that state’s government infrastructure department. In 2009, Menon was given the prestigious Padma Shri award by India.
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40. Deepak Arora
\nManaging director, DRA Group
\nAs the managing director of the DRA Group of companies, Arora’s industry experience has helped his firms land a series of lucrative contracts during an otherwise quiet period for the regional construction industry.
\nArora’s companies include City Diamond Contracting, MEPTech, Giant Star Trading, DRA Product Design, DRA Group, DRA Logistics and DRA International. With offices on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, the company was established in 1983, and taken over in 1999 by the present management. Since then, the company has expanded from residential complexes to construction of offices, warehouses, logistics and industrial buildings.
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39. Lachmandas Pagarani
\nChairman, Al Maya Group
\nLachmandas Pagarani took ownership of a standalone grocery store in Ajman in 1982. That store marked the beginning of the Al Maya Group’s operations. Today, the firm has over 30 outlets in the UAE and another four in Muscat, Oman, all of which are reported to account for up to 70 percent of the group’s overall business. The rest is covered by wholesale operations and franchises like the UK retailer Bhs and Borders bookstore. As chairman, Pagarani has less of a role in the company’s day-to-day running, but that doesn’t mean he has any less influence.
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38. Jayant Ganwani
\nDirector, Lal’s Group
\nOne of the most diversified business conglomerates in the UAE, the Lal’s Group of Companies has multiple interests in retail, trading and hospitality. It also owns and operates Lamcy Plaza, one of the UAE’s most popular shopping destinations. Ganwani also oversees the Sharjah Shopping Mall and the Arabian Centre Mall.
\nAltogether, Ganwani owns and runs more than 50 retail franchises, including Homes R Us, Mr Price, Bossini, G2000 and Daiso. Last year, the businessman said that he was planning to diversify into manufacturing and education.
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36. Mohan Valrani
\nVice chairman, Al Shirawi Group
\nBorn in Sind in 1940, Mohan Valrani came from a family of entrepreneurs and from an early age those close to him observed that he has a unique ability for making money.
\nIn 1966, Valrani set up a partnership with influential Emirati businessman Abdulla Al Shirawi and the two have remained partners ever since.
\nUnder his leadership, the Al Shirawi Group was set up in 1971 and from a modest beginning of trading in steel and cement has grown into a multi – dimensional company with interest spanning 29 firms and with around 6,000 employees. To celebrate his recent 71st birthday, Valrani donated AED71,000 to the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre in Dubai.
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35. Sarah Belhasa
\nVice chairperson, Belhasa Group
\nFrom a simple childhood in Mumbai to living a privileged life in the upper echelons of Arab society, Sarah Belhasa’s journey has always been full of adventure. These days, Belhasa is one of Dubai’s most fashionable faces. She has been instrumental in the launch of Dubai Fashion Week. Besides serving as an adviser to a number of local fashion bodies, her Studio 8 store, which opened two years ago, has introduced some of the most high-profile Asian and Arab designers to the UAE. Two years ago, Belhasa picked up the Businesswoman of the Year prize at the Arabian Business Indian CEO awards.
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32. Joy Alukkas
\nOwner, Joyalukkas Group
\nWherever you go in the Gulf or the subcontinent, the chances are that a huge Joyalukkas billboard is somewhere nearby. As owner of well-known and award-winning jewellery firm Joyalukkas Group, Joy Alukkas has certainly earned himself a solid reputation as a successful entrepreneur.
\nAlukkas, who set up the $1bn global conglomerate over a quarter of a century ago, has grown the business to become a key player in the Middle East jewellery market, with as many as 80 stores across the region, and 5,000 staff. Founded in 1987, the company has over 10 million customers and Joyalukkas has the distinction of being awarded the Dubai Quality Awards Certification by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai.
\nFrom building homes to helping flood victims, blood donations or helping expats with financial assistance to return home, the group also believes in being there when needed the most.
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31. Ramesh Ramakrishnan
\nChairman, Transworld Group
\nAs the chairman of the Transworld Group of Companies (TGC), Ramesh Ramakrishnan has become a well-respected businessman in the logistics industry thanks to his success in creating one of the region’s biggest shipping empires.
\nAs a commerce graduate from the University of Mumbai, he relocated to Dubai to take the helm of the company. Established in 1976 by R Sivaswamy, TGC started off as a shipping agency in Bombay.
\nThe group has now diversified into a multi-faceted shipping and logistics company. The activities of the group include: ship owning (container and bulk carriers), feedering, NVOCC, logistics, freight forwarding and supply chain management, CFSs, ship management, shipping agencies and retail. Headquartered in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Transworld has offices in the US, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, alongside offices in 28 Indian cities.
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30. Thumbay Moideen
\nPresident, Thumbay Group
\nMangalore-born Thumbay Moideen was plucked from the timber and construction industry to set up the Gulf Medical University in Ajman in the mid-1990s.
\nThe result was a seat of learning that allowed local students wanting to study medicine and health sciences to stay at home instead of spending vast sums of money abroad. Located in the Al Jurf area of Ajman, the university features colleges devoted to medicine, pharmaceuticals and dentistry. Altogether, the group employs more than 1,500 staff, and is hoping to hire more than 7,000 in the next five years.
\nHis vision is that one day we will no longer have to rely on foreign trained medical experts — they will be grown right here, in the UAE.
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29. Azad Moopen
\nChairman, DM Group
\nThe story continues for Azad Moopen, founder and chairman of DM Healthcare, who is looking at listing one of the UAE’s biggest private healthcare providers in the next two to three years. He’s also in the middle of financing a $300m expansion drive across the Gulf, with a similar amount set aside for growth into India. It’s all a far cry from 1987, when Moopen came to Dubai and set up his own clinic.
\nOver the next 20 years, he established a chain of healthcare facilities across Asia and the Gulf, under DM Healthcare (Dr Moopen Healthcare), which today employs about 2,000 people in the Gulf, and serves more than three million patients a year.
\nElsewhere, DM Healthcare is also working on a project to provide 3,100 hospital beds in Kerala via eight different projects. One of the project is Aster Medcity, a hi-tech healthcare destination being developed in over 40 acres of land in Kochi.
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28. Kabir Mulchandani
\nCEO, SKAI Holdings
\nIf you want to get a handle on the Dubai property market, there’s no bigger expert than Kabir Mulchandani. After being exonerated over fraud charges that threatened his livelihood for two years, the CEO of SKAI Holdings is once again making his mark in the Dubai property market. Mulchadani has wasted no time stringing together a series of mega property deals worth close to $1bn in the past twelve months. Apart from buying land and taking over unfinished projects, he has also moved into the hospitality sector through hotel developments.
\nThe name of the company is an acronym: the “S” stands for the first name of Mulchandani’s brother Siddharth; the “K” stands for Kabir; and “A1” is shorthand for “are one.”
\n“There are a lot of good projects out there and a lot of quality developers, I meet them all the time… [but] there is a lack of traditional capital. The banks are heavily exposed to real estate, here as well as globally,” Mulchandani told Arabian Business in a recent interview. However, he is not targeting distressed assets with a quick exit strategy, but properties that are solid business opportunities but are simply facing cash flow issues.
\n“We are not a lender, we are an investor. We can afford to hold and realise gains for the developer, for us and for the market. It is good for everyone.”
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27. Khurshid Vakil
\nFounder, Marine Exotic Home Interiors
\nFresh from conquering the UAE, Khurshid Vakil now has his sights set on India. And as the founder of the Marina Exotic Home Interiors brand, Vakil admits to being “a perfectionist by nature”.
\nConceptualised in the UAE in 1998 following extensive research, Marina Home Interiors fills a niche within the market. Sourced from over 20 countries in four continents, Vakil says the success of the brand is his understanding of the trends, likes and dislikes of his customers. With last year’s launch in Delhi, Vakil is eyeing major cities across the country.
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25. Deepak Babani
\nCEO, Eros Group
\nAround 45 years in the field and counting, the Dubai-based Eros Group is one of the longest-serving companies in the UAE. Over the course of the last few decades, it has built up a wide-ranging product portfolio that is the envy of the many competitors that have sprung up in more recent years. And that, in a nutshell, is the tale of how an Indian professional by the name of Deepak Babani — supported by the group’s parent, the Badri Group — managed to transform the distributor and retailer of consumer electronics products into what it is today.
\nWhen Babani first joined, the company had around a dozen employees and only one office. Today, it has offices and branches in two continents and employs over 1,300 people. Last — but by no means least — the group had a turnover of just under $544m in 2010. The company is very well placed within the UAE as it holds branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Al Ain and RAK.
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24. Nilesh Ved
\nFounder, Apparel Group
\nTim Hortons, Aeropostale, Cold Stone Creamery and Tommy Hilfiger. You name it, Nilesh Ved has a hand in it. Ved’s family has run the largest gold bullion trading firm in Dubai since 1904. But he became more intrigued with the American retail environment after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Boston University.
\nVed now heads up the UAE’s Apparel Group, which has over 700 stores and more than 50 international brands under its umbrella and is aiming to achieve its goal to open its 1,000th store by the end of 2014. Ved was instrumental in 1999 in bringing the US clothing brand Ninewest from America, and launched the first stores in Lamcy Plaza in Dubai.
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23. Rizwan Sajan
\nChairman, Danube Group
\nThe numbers keep on piling up for Rizwan Sajan, with Danube annual revenues expected to soon top $1bn. A station on the Dubai Metro is now named after the firm. Much has changed since Sajan was forced to leave Kuwait during the Iraq invasion in 1990. A the time, he asked his wife to give him six months to make a go of his new business, a building materials company called the Danube Group. Sajan spent nearly all of his AED100,000 ($27,700) savings on establishing the company, renting an office and hiring a car (an AED3,000 a month Pajero because “a businessman couldn’t be driving a Toyota Corolla”), all of which left very little behind for their personal life. It took just three months before Sajan made his breakthrough. Two decades later and testament to Sajan’s determination sits his Bentley, parked proudly in front of the firm’s Jebel Ali headquarters, a vast property portfolio and a company that has 38 offices across the Gulf, India and China.
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22. Vasu Shroff
\nChairman, Regal Group
\nFounded by Vasu Shroff in 1952, Regal Traders was set up on the banks of the Dubai creek, to deal in wholesaling and indenting of fine fabrics from Japan and India. A pioneer in the region, it soon grew to become the flagship company of the Regal Group, setting up its first retail chain outlet in Dubai. Best known as one of the UAE’s largest fabric retail chains, Regal offers an extensive range of fashionable fabrics from the world over and is the preferred source of quality fabrics to the UAE’s leading couture houses.
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21. PNC Menon
\nChairman, Sobha Developers
\nThere’s no doubt that Sobha Developers has played a major role in the growth of the Gulf. Late last year, it signed up to help build one of Dubai’s biggest mixed-use projects - the $3bn Meydan City. Sobha’s boss is PNC Menon, who migrated to Oman in 1976, and started an interior decorating business with a partner. After spotting an opportunity in real estate in India, he established Sobha Developers in 1995, named after his wife. Today, the firm is one of the largest and only backward integrated real estate players in India. Menon has remained the firm’s chairman, while his wife sits on the board.
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19. Dhananjay Datar
\nManaging director, Al Adil Trading
\nSelf-made entrepreneurs don’t come much bigger than Dhananjay Datar, the managing director of import-export firm, the Al Adil Group. Datar is responsible for turning Al Adil Trading, a small grocery store established by his father in 1984, into a major spice company that enjoys a presence across the GCC and beyond. Products are largely sourced from his Mumbai-based firm, Masala King Exports. He received the Best Enterprise Award from the Europe Business Assembly at the Oxford Summit of Leaders last year and has prestigious customers such as Dubai Duty Free and five-star hotels.
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18. JR Gangaramani
\nPresident, Al Fara’a Group
\nFrom inauspicious beginnings, Dr JR Gangaramani now sits on top of a diversifiied conglomerate that employs 18,000 people all over the world. Gangaramani moved to the UAE in 1974 to work as a construction manager on what was then the GCC’s tallest building, Dubai’s World Trade Centre. Six years later he established his own contracting company, which eventually led to the creation of the conglomerate, Al Fara’a Construction & Industrial Group.
\nThe firm is renowned for its vast range of services, comprising construction, ready mix, electro mechanical services and interiors. Its project portfolio has come to include hospitals, bridges, towers, malls and villas.
\nBut Gangaramani is not just a canny businessman; in 2009, he founded the Al Fara’a Foundation, which aims to harness the collective capacity of the Al Fara’a Group of Companies in a focused manner and efficiently meet stakeholder needs with a deliberate and value-seeking approach.
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17. Maghanmal Pancholia
\nChairman, Arabian Trading Agency
\nMaghanmal Pancholia is one of Dubai’s most respected businessmen. Residing in Dubai for more than six decades, he has achieved an admirable number of accolades and senior appointments.
\nIt began for Pancholia in 1957, when he recognised the need for electricity in the emirate and decided to set up a firm to buy a generator and supply electricity to the markets around Dubai Creek. This made him the first man to bring electricity to the emirate, and he was later appointed the director of Dubai Electricity by the late Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. He has also had roles with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Al Maktoum Hospital.
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16. Paras Shahdadpuri
\nChairman, Nikai Group
\nA former diplomat who quit his job with India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and started his own business in 1988, Shahdadpuri is no stranger to taking risks. Currently chairing the twelve companies of the Nikai Group, he has built up a formidable brand that competes with major Japanese and Korean rivals. Nikai now has a range of around 400 products with over 15 million consumers in about 60 countries. It has become a household name and it has earned Shahdadpuri the nickname ‘Mr Reliable’. Shahdadpuri is also president of the Indian Business & Professional Council, a role he relishes by promoting Indian companies and investment abroad. He was awarded the prestigious Bharat Shiromani award in 2005 in recognition of his many achievements.
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15. Yogesh Mehta
\nManaging director, Petrochem ME
\nOne of Dubai’s most popular businessman, Yogesh Mehta is a regular feature on the networking circuit. He came to Dubai at the age of 29 with no job, no plan and no future. Last year his company took over spectacular new offices in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Things have turned out pretty well: Petrochem Middle East FZE was established in 1995 in the free zone of Jebel Ali in Dubai and has its own state-of-the-art storage terminal for bulk and drum chemicals.
\nEstablished as a partnership with Petrochem UK, the company has grown from strength to strength and has become one of the largest independent petrochemical distributors in the Middle East. His profile shot up last year after being selected as a judge on ‘The Entrepreneur’ talent show.
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14. Khimji Family
\nDirectors, Khimji Ramdas
\nThe Khimji family is the driving force behind the Omani business conglomerate Khimji Ramdas, which operates across a wide range of sectors including consumer, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Currently there are six main partner-directors who run the company. These are: Kanaksi Gokaldas Khimji, the most senior director; Anil Mathradas Khimji, responsible for global brands; Ajay Mathradas Khimji, who handles the Nutro biscuit brand, for a sister firm of KR, based in the UAE; Pankaj Kanaksi Khimji; Nailesh Kanaksi Khimji, responsible for Roto Packaging and SFIC, both sister firms in the UAE; and Hritik Ajay Khimji.
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13. Hitesh Bodani
\nChairman, Bond Investment Group Holdings
\nDr Hitesh Bodani is both a registered MD and a self-driven ambitious entrepreneur. He is regarded as being particularly astute and has proven his capability to transfer business vision into corporate reality.
\nAs founder, general partner and chairman of the board at Bond Investment Group Holdings, his reach has stretched across a number of sectors, including hotel and resort developments, private equity, shopping malls, real estate, medical technology, mining and oil and gas. The firm also operates the Buddha Bar chain internationally. In the past, Bodani served as a board member at the Fortune Group, a Dubai-based property development company with a series of luxury projects in Jumeirah Lake Towers and Business Bay.
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12. P Mohamed Ali
\nVice chairman, Galfar
\nThis year will be a big one for P Mohamed Ali, as his firm, Galfar pushes into Kuwait and Iraq. As the founder of the Oman-based company, he is one of the Gulf’s most prominent entrepreneurs. Since its establishment in conjunction with Sheikh Salem Said Al Fannah Al Araimi, Ali has turned the small construction company into a regional market leader, listed on the Muscat Securities Market. Today, the company is the single largest private sector employer in Oman.
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10. LT Pagarani
\nThe Choithrams supermarket brand was originally set up in West Africa in 1944 by Thakurdas Choithram Pagarani.
\nThe elder Pagarani opened the first grocery in Sierra Leone and over the last seven decades Choithram & Sons has developed into an international company spanning Europe, North America, Africa as well as the Gulf. Three decades ago Choithrams established its first UAE store and now has a total of 25 across the emirates as well as the GCC.
\nToday, the firm is led by LT Pagarani, who continues to expand the brand across the region. In 2010, Pagarani confirmed that Choithrams planned to almost double the number of shops across the UAE and open smaller convenience stores.
\nAside from retail, the company also has interests in food services, hospitality, garments and household appliances, and logistics and distribution.
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9. Tony Jashanmal
\nFounder, Jashanmal Group
\nFrom humble beginnings with just one store in Iraq in 1919, the Jashanmal Group has grown into one of the most successful retail conglomerates in the region. Headed by Tony Jashanmal, the firm oversees the retail and wholesale trading of high-end luxury and consumer goods and services. In the last year, the group has rolled out new franchise deals, including with British clothier LKBennett and Kate Spade, a jewellery and accessories brand from New York.
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7. Sunny Varkey
\nFounder, GEMS Education
\nSunny Varkey is the brains behind GEMS Education, one of the largest private school operators in the world for students from kindergarten to grade 12. Under Varkey’s leadership the group morphed from a single school, Our Own English High School — which he established in Dubai in 1980 — to an operator that oversees the teaching of 110,000 students in 100 schools across ten countries.
\nHe established the Varkey GEMS Foundation, a philanthropic trust — which is chaired by former US president Bill Clinton — and introduced the Guruvar Awards in India, which honours over 144,000 teachers in around 3,000 schools across 45 cities in India.
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6. Ravi Pillai
\nFounder, RP Group
\nRavi Pillai is known as ‘the Ambani of the Gulf’ and with good reason. The Saudi Arabia-based magnate is believed to be the largest employer of Indians in the region. With over 70,000 employees today, RP Group is a multi-billion-dollar operation. The Saudi-based RP Group has interests in construction, travel and tourism, healthcare, retail and education sectors. The most prominent of these is Nasser S Al Hajri Corporation, the largest industrial contractor in the Middle East. Pillai has an MBA from Cochin University and an honorary doctorate from Excelsior state University in the United States. In 2007, Dr Pillai was bestowed with the coveted Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the president of India for his commendable services to Non-Resident Indians.
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5. BR Shetty
\nChairman, NMC Group
\nBR Shetty’s fortune just keeps on growing, and if his expansion plans are anything to go buy, you can expect to seem him climb up this list in the next few years.
\n His NMC Group is considering opening up hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with further expansion across the MENA region once political stability returns. In an interview with Arabian Business last year, Shetty said the company could use cash generated from the business.
\n“In about three years’ time, we plan to open one hospital in Doha and one in Saudi. In Saudi they give the land but also give some money. We have been approached by so many people, but we don’t have anything planned yet. When the political situation improves we might look at the MENA region,” he said.\nLast year, Dr Shetty decided to float 30 percent of the healthcare side of the business on the London Stock Exchange in a bid to finance its ambitious $330m expansion plans. It raised $187m from the IPO.
\nOne big area of interest for Shetty in the coming years will be India, where he has plans to open a chain of speciality hospitals and a medical college in Manipur.
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4. Yusuffali MA
\nManaging director, EMKE Group
\nAnother year, another roll-call of success for Kerala-born Yusuffali MA. The boss of the EMKE Group owns many brands including the Lulu chain of hypermarkets. Last year, it opened its 100th store, and the firm was ranked the world’s ninth fastest-growing retail concern by Deloitte. EMKE Group, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and has offices in 29 countries, employs around 27,000 people — including 22,000 Indians — and has an annual turnover of $4.5bn. EMKE Group opened its first supermarket in the early 1990s in Abu Dhabi and gradually expanded to cover different parts of the UAE capital. Today the LuLu Hypermarkets, Supermarkets and Department Stores control 32 percent of the retail market share with 104 stores spread across the GCC, Yemen and Egypt. Yusuffali also became was the first expat to be elected as a board member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI).
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3. Raghuvinder Kataria
\nChairman, Kataria Holdings
\nIt is unlikely you will bump into Ragu Kataria. The billionaire businessman keeps a low profile, working out of his home in Emirates Hills. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing big deals. Back in June 2009, he quietly acquired two buildings in Emaar Square — including Building 5, which houses the Dubai headquarters of HSBC, and Building 3 — for a total purchase value of approximately AED750m ($204.15m). The value of that AED750m investment has increased by over 40 percent in the past three years.Early in his professional career, he led the formation of JT Telecom — a joint venture between Telia of Sweden and Thailand-based Jasmine Telecom — that pioneered mobile telephony in India. That JV company later merged with Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises to provide coverage across the world’s second-most populous nation.
\nToday, Bharti Airtel is the number one provider in India and the third-largest in-country mobile operator in the world. As the driving force behind the launch and subsequent privatisation of mobile services in the country, Kataria remains a founding shareholder in that company — which now serves nearly 250 million subscribers across the globe.
\nIn addition to property investments in Dubai, Kataria also owns a wide range of real estate assets in both India and Europe. He is also a major investor in the financial services sector, with strategic stakes in firms such as Dhanalaxmi Bank and Destimoney, a brokerage firm in India.
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2. Feroz Allana
\nFounder, Allana Group
\nHis son Irfan Allana is the chairman of the Allana Group, but Feroz is credited with its staggering success. His vision and business acumen not only drives his business, but also ensures that his expertise is liberally employed by the federal government and various state governments of India, in the development of long-term plans for exports from India in general and agro-based products in particular.
\nEstablished in 1975, IFFCO is a UAE- based business house, which manufactures and markets a well-integrated range of consumer products. IFFCO operates under the following business segments: fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), commodities, oils, frozen foods, and institutional services. IFFCO also manufactures related derivatives and intermediates associated with these business segments. IFFCO brands include London Dairy, Tiffany, Noor, Rahma, Igloo and Al Baker.
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1. Micky Jagtiani
\nFounder, Landmark Group
\nIt’s no suprise to Micky Jagtiani tops our list. But it’s hard to believe that Micky Jagtiani founded the Landmark Group in Bahrain in 1973 with a single store.
\nToday, his Dubai-based company is one of the largest retail conglomerates in the region with interests spanning children’s fashion, footwear and cosmetics, with additional interests in leisure, hotels and electronics.
\nLandmark operates a string of international stores such as New Look, Shoemart, Steve Madden and Kurt Geiger and has also developed its own brands including Maxx Fashion, Splash, the Baby Shop and the Home Centre. With all those brands, it’s not surprising Jagtiani’s operations have a turnover of $4.7bn a year. It has a presence in eighteen countries with 1,300 outlets, 40,000 employees and commands a staggering 20 million square feet of retail of space.
\nBut it seems there is no stopping Jagtiani. He has set a goal of hitting over $5bn in sales by 2015, which includes plans to have 2,000 stores under his belt and a presence in 20 countries. Few would bet against him succeeding.