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Tue 21 Jan 2020 08:36 AM

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Chairman of Palm Jumeirah developer Nakheel to leave

Ali Lootah steered the Dubai state-owned developer through a $10.5 billion debt restructuring

Chairman of Palm Jumeirah developer Nakheel to leave

Nakheel chairman Ali Lootah. Image: ITP Media Group 

Nakheel chairman Ali Lootah, who steered the Dubai state-owned developer through a $10.5 billion debt restructuring, is leaving after 10 years in the role, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Lootah was hired as head of the developer of the palm-shaped islands in 2010, replacing Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. The people asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

A spokeswoman for Nakheel declined to comment.

Nakheel was at the centre of Dubai’s debt crisis in 2009 that pushed the emirate to the brink of a default. After receiving support from the government, it now has billions of dirhams of projects and infrastructure development underway.

Still, Nakheel is among developers coming under pressure as Dubai’s property market’s long decline since a peak in October 2014 defies all predictions of a rebound. The company in March dismissed about 300 employees as part of its plans to consolidate its operations, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Dubai is taking steps to help the market recover. In September, the government set up a committee to manage the supply and demand of properties and ensure that private developers operate in fair environment. The city’s Land Department has been focusing on promoting Dubai’s real estate to investors abroad, mostly in the US, UK, China, India and Russia.

Nakheel reported a profit of 4.38 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) in 2018, down from 5.67 billion a year earlier.

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