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Dubai sends message with Dubai World reshuffle

Dubai sends message with Dubai World reshuffle

Dubai World board change seen as signal of serious intent; New directors are close to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed; Dubai distanced itself from Dubai World debt last year.

December 15, 2010 11:16 by

The ruler of Dubai’s decision this week to put trusted players in charge of debt-ridden conglomerate Dubai World suggests new resolve to reestablish the tarnished brand name of the freewheeling emirate.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, head of the local ruling dynasty and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates federation, appointed his uncle, Emirates Airlines chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, to head Dubai World’s board.

Emirates Airlines is one of Dubai’s business success stories and Sheikh Ahmed comes to tackle Dubai World — preparing to sell assets to repay $25 million in debt — after he spearheaded Dubai’s initial attempt to recover from last year’s crippling debt crisis as head of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee (SFC).

Other SFC members on the new board of directors include Mohammed al-Shaibani who is also head of the Dubai ruler’s court and head of Investment Corporation of Dubai, the investment arm of the government, Ahmed Humaid al-Tayer and Dubai finance director Abdulrahman al-Saleh.

“It gives more credibility to Dubai World’s debt restructuring efforts. The message that it gives is the Dubai government, and Dubai authorities at the highest levels, are very keen, very serious to sort out this problem,” said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities & Investment Co in Manama. “It basically gives confidence.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about having the trust to do the proper job … (This) decision from his highness demonstrates that kind of trust,” said Christian Koch, an analyst at the Gulf Research Centre.

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