Most influential Brit expats in transport
Arabian Business counts down the most powerful Brits currently living and working in the UAE.
Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline
\nAnother massive year for Emirates Airline has just seen the carrier’s net income rise by 52 percent — its 25th straight year of profits. Much of this growth is due to Tim Clark, an able assistant to Emirates Group chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and to the former vice chairman, Sir Maurice Flanagan, who retired earlier this year. During the carrier’s rapid expansion, Clark has been responsible for overseeing some of the largest plane orders in history. \nClark joined Emirates in 1985 when the Dubai-based carrier was formed. Having previously worked at British Caledonian and Bahrain’s Gulf Air, Clark leveraged his experience in conjunction with Dubai’s strategic location, and oversaw Emirates’ expansion into the world’s largest airline by passenger traffic on the back of one the strongest international networks of any carrier. The London University economics graduate became president of the carrier in 2003 after spending eighteen years helping build an aviation empire. \nClark is the chairman of the Emirates Airline Foundation, a non-profit charity that he helped found, which provides humanitarian, philanthropic aid and services for children in need around the world. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. In November 2009 he was conferred an “Officier de la Legion d’Honneur” by the French government for his services to transport and aviation and was given the 2009 Gold Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society for his contribution to civil aerospace. In addition, he holds the 2011 Airline Business and Flight Global Achievement Awards.
Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airportse
\nAviation contributes around $40bn to the UAE economy, accounting for almost fifteen percent of GDP. Much of the country’s success in leveraging the benefits of the sector comes from the performance of Dubai International Airport, which has grown astonishingly quickly in the last two decades. Griffiths became CEO of Dubai Airports in 2007, and he has overseen the operations and development of one of the busiest airports in the world. He managed the airport’s successful launch of Terminal 3 in 2008 and is also at the helm of Dubai World Central, which will eventually be the world’s largest airport with capacity to handle 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of freight annually once fully operational. Right now, he is in the process of overseeing Dubai Airport’s $7.8bn expansion plan, as well as simultaneously coordinating the handover to Dubai World Central. Griffiths was previously managing director of London’s Gatwick Airport, the second largest airport in the UK. Before joining airport operator BAA in 2004, he spent fourteen years with the Virgin Group, working closely with Sir Richard Branson as a board director of the Virgin Travel Group, looking over commercial activities of both Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains. In the 1980s, he spent four years in Hong Kong developing the marketing, commercial planning and technology functions for the then start-up airline Dragonair.
Tony Douglas, CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports Company
\nIn March this year, former London Heathrow chief executive Tony Douglas was appointed as CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC). Douglas, also formerly CEO at Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), is leading the transformation of Abu Dhabi’s international gateway through one of the most ambitious multi-billion-dollar airport expansion schemes in the world. The airport is building up to a capacity of 40 million passengers a year and will be a critical element in Abu Dhabi's vision to become a global commercial hub and thriving destination for international tourism. Douglas’ track record of achievements includes delivering Heathrow Airport's award-winning Terminal 5 on time and on budget, as well as leading the programme management team in the build-up to the widely acclaimed London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. At ADPC, he was responsible for the on-time, on-budget delivery of Khalifa Port and its associated industrial zone, Kizad. Douglas was previously with airport operator BAA, where his roles included: managing director of the £4.3bn Heathrow Terminal 5 project; group supply chain director; group technical director and CEO of Heathrow Airport.
Sir Maurice Flanagan, former executive vice chairman, Emirates Group
\n“I learnt a lot from Sir Maurice. Indeed, when you see some good in me, you see what Maurice taught me. My bad habits are my own.” So said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum on the retirement of Sir Maurice Flanagan in April this year. Legendary Emirates vice chairman Sir Maurice helped found the airline 28 years ago. He was a key architect in the phenomenal growth of Emirates Airline and Group, having overseen dnata's operations and subsequently every stage in the airline’s remarkable rise from regional carrier with two aircraft to global giant with a fleet of more than 170 aircraft. Sir Maurice first arrived in Dubai in 1978 when he was appointed director and general manager of dnata. Six years later, he led the ten-man team that hatched the plan to launch an airline in five months on a budget of just $10m. He was the managing director for the inaugural Emirates flight in 1985 and his pivotal role in the company’s development was recognised in 1990 when he was appointed group managing director of Emirates Group.
Karl Hamer, managing director, Al Habtoor Motors
\nAs managing director of Al Habtoor Motors, Karl Hamer oversees the import and distribution operation of one of the most prestigious car dealerships in the UAE and an icon of the prominent Habtoor merchant family. Hamer directs the business agenda of the company, which employs about 1,400 people and has been growing market share for brands like Bentley, Bugatti, McLaren, and Mitsubishi. Al Habtoor Motors was recognized in 2011 by Bentley as ‘Dealer of the Year’ and for achieving the highest Middle East and North Africa & India sales. Prior to joining Al Habtoor Motors in 2008, Hamer was at Casey Motor Group. Hamer has 35 years of industry experience and started his career on the showroom floor.
Simon Frith, managing director, Al Futtaim Motors
\nAs managing director of Al Futtaim Motors, Simon Frith runs a unit of one of the oldest companies in the UAE. Established in the 1930s as a trading business, Al Futtaim is one of the most progressive regional business houses headquartered in Dubai and operates through more than 65 companies across sectors as diverse as commerce, industry and services. It employs in excess of 20,000 people across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Singapore and Europe. Frith oversees the Toyota and Lexus franchises in the UAE. He oversaw a 32 percent rise in Toyota sales in the country in 2012 over the previous year.