Company: Desert Group
Designation: Group CEO
Michael Mascarenhas has built a career around revitalising businesses that have, for whatever reason, lost their way. With clear insight and hard-won experience of the UAE business landscape, he is able to see through a company’s complexities, rediscover their core values and bring them back to life. Take Desert Group, for example, a company that designs, landscapes, builds and manages golf courses, as well as delivering a range of services centred around water, green and sustainability.
Since 2012, when he took the helm, Mascarenhas has driven it forward with renewed purpose, enabling it to expand its portfolio, broaden its scope and increase its workforce to 3,200.
Hailing from a small town in Rajasthan called Ajmer, he says his simple upbringing surrounded by the Thar Desert instilled a sense of respect and humility. Recalling a childhood of rushing outside to catch a glimpse of passing plane, it also fostered a sense of the curious, of always “wanting to know”, a trait that continues to propel his business life to this day.
His embrace of diversity and inclusion is also evident at Desert Group, which has one of the most integrated work inclusion programmes for people with learning, development and cognitive disabilities in the world.
Prior to Desert Group, the art enthusiast transformed the Wall Street Group into a global power house and grew its US operations at a time when money remittance was taboo.
Life has been incredibly exciting and there have been many ‘back flips on Mount Everest’ moments”