Arabian Business profiles the leadership behind the bid to host prestigious global event
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and constitutional monarch of Dubai. In his time as ruler — he officially ascended to the position in 2006 after the death of his brother Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum — and before in his position as Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed has been credited with shaping Dubai into the modern, global city of today. Projects such as the creation of The Palm Island, the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, all happened on his watch. Sheikh Mohammed founded Emirates Airline, now one of the biggest in the world, and has also spearheaded the development of Dubai’s sector-based hubs, including Internet City, Media City, Knowledge Village and, soon, the Dubai Design District. Mohammed Bin Rashid City, which was announced last year, is an estimated $100bn project that encompasses 4 million sq m for the first phase alone. In June, Sheikh Mohammed ordered the creation of a Dubai Strategic Plan 2020, which will be an update of the Dubai Plan 2015. The city’s tourism strategy envisages 20 million tourists by 2020. In a powerful speech in June Sheikh Mohammed said on hosting the Expo 2020 that the UAE has promised to “astonish the world”, evoking the golden age of the Middle East where innovative minds are welcomed and given the freedom to create. Sheikh Mohammed is responsible for launching Dubai’s bid and the committee reports directly to him.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum
As chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation, CEO of The Emirates Group and chairman of Dubai World, as well as heading up Emirates NBD, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum is a powerhouse of the aviation world. Since becoming DCA chairman in 1985, the same year national carrier Emirates was formed, Sheikh Ahmed has seen the development of Dubai International Airport into the world’s third-busiest for international passenger numbers and tenth-busiest for overall passenger traffic, with 57.7 million passenger movements in 2012. Overseeing the construction of Terminal 3 — the largest in the world — and, more recently, Concourse A at Terminal 3, Sheikh Ahmed has also led the Al Maktoum International Airport project at Dubai World Central, which will open in October and is next to the planned Expo site.
As chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting World Expo 2020, Sheikh Ahmed has run the committee’s high-level meetings, ensuring the every aspect of the bid progresses smoothly. However, with 25 million visitors expected to the Expo, should Dubai win it, and 70 percent to come from elsewhere, his input into the logistics of moving the tourists will be crucial.
Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani
One of Sheikh Mohammed’s key lieutenants, Mohammed Al Shaibani is the director-general of The Ruler’s Court, the prime government body of Dubai under which other arms of government, including the Department of Finance, Dubai Courts and the Executive Council fall. In addition, Al Shaibani is the CEO and executive director of the peak government investment body, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, which oversees the government’s commercial and business assets in areas such as real estate, leisure, utilities, financial services and transport. Among his many and varied roles, Al Shaibani, a computer science graduate, is also on the board of directors of Dubai World, chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank and vice chairman of the Supreme Fiscal Committee of Dubai — which will have done the number-crunching for Dubai’s reportedly well-resourced Expo 2020 bid. Underscoring the confidence placed in him by Sheikh Mohammed, Al Shaibani, who is deputy chairman of the bid committee, is also 15-year president of the royal family’s private management office. In his profile on the Dubai World website, Al Shaibani is described as having “extensive experience as an administrator and corporate leader”.
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