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Thu 9 Apr 2015 02:09 PM

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Alabbar hits back over claims of conflict of interest, staff exodus

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar says there is nothing wrong with him working on outside projects

Alabbar hits back over claims of conflict of interest, staff exodus

Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar has hit back at claims that his increasing commitments outside the company are proving a distraction, saying there is no conflict of interest.

In an interview with Arabian Business to be published on Sunday, Alabbar said: “Yes, I am on the board of other real estate entities around the world. This has been the case for the past 20 years, it has never been an issue before and I don’t agree that it is an issue now.

"What has changed maybe is that the projects now, such as in Serbia and Egypt, are far more high profile. But there is nothing wrong or unusual for a chairman to have other non-executive roles in other companies. Everything I have ever done has always been cleared by the board and within the law.”

He added: “And by the way, these are all companies in real estate, a field in which I believe I have something to contribute and offer. I am not on the board of a technology or media or telecom company. It is strictly real estate. When you ask specifically about projects such as the Belgrade Waterfront being done by Eagle Hills, I can categorically say that, there is absolutely no conflict of interest with Emaar.”

Alabbar also refuted suggestions that Emaar is suffering from a “brain drain” following the departure of several senior executives, telling the magazine: “Sure, staff at all levels, not just senior levels, have come and gone. That is the choice of the staff, and when our people get great positions in other companies, I am proud of them. It shows that we hired good people and that we trained them well. And it shows that we are constantly bringing fresh blood into this company. But I am still here, running the show, providing leadership and direction.”

*Alabbar Uncensored: Read the full Arabian Business interview with Mohamed Alabbar on Sunday 12 April, from 9am on www.arabianbusiness.com. The interview is also being published in both Arabian Business English and Arabian Business Arabic on April 12.

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

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Ulevpri 5 years ago

I do not agree that nothing is wrong with that! If you sit in the Board of Toyota, Suzuki and Mazda at the same time, than how can you make sure that one of these brands is treated same as the other? They are competitors and one person can't support 3 different brands within the same industry without making decision in favour of one or the other of them from time to time. And this is not fair for the shareholders.
Thats not how leadership and competition should be. Not in the Real Estate Sector nor in any other Industry.

sami 5 years ago

Dear Ulevpri, your example is not accurate and does not apply to Mr. Al Abbar simply because the companies he's a board member in are in different countries and do not compete with Emaar.

Kris 5 years ago

I disagree with you Ulevpri. Your example with car brands doesn't relate, because cars are sold everywhere. Real estate on the other hand is specific to where it is built, just like there is one Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and there is no similar building anywhere else.

If Mr Albabbar's involvement in a real estate project in Serbia in a non-executive capacity conflicted with his involvement in Emaar here in Dubai, do you think that the powers at be, here in Dubai would allow that to continue - surely not !

Joe Karcia 5 years ago

Alabbar is not on the board of Emaar, Nakheel and Sobha. But he is on the board of other real estate companies that Emaar doesnt compete. As an investor at Emaar, I would say we need Alabbar more than him needing Emaar. He is the driving force of the company. He must continue and that will be good for Emaar.

Peter 5 years ago

I'm sorry but I fundamentally disagree. As much as I admire Mr. Alabbar, I'd be more at ease if the Chairman of Emaar were sitting on the board of a technology, media or telecom company rather than on the board(s) of other companies in the same industry, competing for the same land, funds and consumers. It would be uncomfortable enough if the position were merely advisory, but even more problematic if personal funds are tied into non-Emaar projects.

khalid 5 years ago

ask apple when the chairman of google eric schmidt was on the their board. the result, android.

Mohammad Ali (Emaar customer since 2004) 5 years ago


Mr. Al Abbar has changed the landscape in Dubai wherever he built the projects. Not only Emaar employees did well in terms of their career, but also investors in Emarr projects (including myself) got rewarded. During initial phase, while some big developers used to sell the whole building projects to big brokers and agents only, and put smaller investors at risks,
the Emaar used to directly reach the end users. Mr. Al Abbar delivers what he commits and that is why he is trusted. It is all about trust. My best wishes and prayers for him.

Ali 5 years ago

@Kris you are sadly in a delirious mind. it is a clear conflict of interest, how can a man be in charge of various same real estate companies but not have own interest? investors should be very upset. all of the company involved directed by same person.

Giresh BR 5 years ago

I am an Emaar customer since longtime, I have always benefited whenever I purchased Emaar property, but also lost sometimes. This is a part of the Real Estate investmetn anywhere in the world.
What is scarying me is that relying on one individual at higher level is too risky for investors.
As Mr.Abbar Said they bring in Fresh Blood and new staff in the company. What if the Old Blood is gone from the company.
Means the company will collapse !!
As one reader stated that "Emaar needs Mr. Abbar more than he needs Emaar" this is not good for the Emaar Investors/ shares holders as they are depending solely on one individual as "ONE MAN SHOW" to take care of their interest. Although in the past the investors are well treated and get handsome returns investing with Emaar past, but that is not a Guaratneee for the future performance.
Therefore Mr.Abbar you must also get good Fresh Blood and train him to run EMAAR if you decided to leave Emaar or vice versa.

Ulevpri 5 years ago

I am not pretty sure whether you got the point. Emaar, CCP and Eagle Hills operating and sitting IN the UAE! they are able to bid at the same projects wherever in the world!!! As for cars, all of the have GM's for Middle East and wouldn't hire one and the same person for different brands...