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Al Futtaim CEO resigns
After serving for less than a year, Al Futtaim CEO Robert Willet resigns for “family reasons”. A successor is yet to be named.
January 18, 2011 5:14 by Eva Fernandes
Gulf News reports that Al Futtaim CEO, Robert Willett, resigned from the group on Monday. Willet cited “family reasons” as the reason for his departure; he is expected to move to the UK. At the time of writing, no successor has been named.
The appointment of Willet less than a year ago (in May) was considered unusual, as family businesses in the region generally prefer to keep executive positions in the family. Willet, who was a former Best Buy and Accenture executive, told Gulf News in an interview last June that he was planning “to build a team to walk a united way forward.”
Founded as a trading business in 1930’s, the Al-Futtaim group operates more than 65 companies across various sectors including automotive, electronics, engineering and technologies, retail, financial services, general services, real estate and joint ventures, though Kipp will always associate the group with its motors division thanks to their catchy radio jingle “Al Futtaim Motors – We care and it Shows”. According to its website the group employs a 20,000 strong staff across the GCC, Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Europe.
The group’s motor division Al Futtaim Motors was recently in the news for its formation of a ‘dealer council.’ The council, which aims to standardise and brand the group’s network of 125 parts dealers, is expected to give the group an edge in the competitive car market. Since the onset of the recession, the industry in the UAE has taken a severe beating, with some estimating UAE car sales have dropped by as much as 40 percent. In response car dealers have increased spending on customer service and after-sales market, with Al Futtaim Motors increasing their spending on after-sales by as much as 35 percent.