By Andy Sambidge
Colin Macdonald will take on role at struggling Dubai investment firm from April 12
Shuaa Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank, said on Tuesday it had appointed Colin Macdonald, previously a top banker at ABN Amro, as its new chief executive.
It also said that Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al Maktoum will assume the position of executive chairman with immediate effect.
Macdonald will join the company as Group CEO from April 12 and will take over from Michael Philipp who has been interim CEO since October 2011.
Michael Philipp will continue to support the company, a statement said.
One of the Arab world's largest investment banks and once a symbol of the sector's potential in the region, Shuaa was hit by the 2008 global financial downturn, with asset impairments erasing profits.
Sheikh Maktoum said: “I would like thank Michael for his contribution during the last six months and for the significant progress we have made under his tenure in implementing Shuaa’s restructuring efforts, defining a clear direction and a long term vision for the company.
"I am confident that Colin has the right skill-set to steer the company through the next phase of our strategic plan.”
Macdonald added: “Shuaa Capital is an enduring brand with a well-respected position in the region and a clear strategy for the future.
"This is an exciting time as the early signs of market recovery emerge and I look forward to leading this unique business; bringing my experience to bear and building on the significant progress made in recent months.”
Macdonald is a banking executive with over 25 years of experience in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Prior to joining Shuaa Capital, he was Group managing director and regional head, Middle East of ABN AMRO where he was responsible for all business units in the Middle East, including Private, Corporate and Investment Banking.
Last year, Shuaa Capital implemented job cuts as the investment bank moved away from retail brokerage business after markets in its home base declined and losses mounted.
Shuaa said in October that it plans to expand its asset management and advisory business in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and will focus on high net-worth family businesses and small- to medium-sized companies as well as institutional clients.
Shuaa is going to have to focus on the higher margin activities. It's net profit and profit margin have been in negative territory for two quarters. Pure brokerage has so little margin, sometimes none, which is why around 50 have gone out of business since 2009. Dubai and Abu Dhabi's stock exchanges would have benefitted from merging for liquidity and transaction cost reeasons, as a commissioned Goldman Sachs report advised. Separately, investment banking needs a new start in the Gulf.