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Dubai’s Nakheel CEO leaves, CFO takes over for now

Chief financial officer Sanjay Manchanda will be acting CEO until further notice. Chris O'Donnell to leaves after 5-yr contract ends, his departure comes as Nakheel nears $10.9 bln restructuring


June 9, 2011 8:55 by

Dubai World’s property arm Nakheel, which is restructuring a $10.9 billion debt, said on Wednesday its chief executive officer is leaving his post after ending a five-year contract.

Chris O’Donnell will be temporarily replaced by the chief financial officer Sanjay Manchanda as acting CEO, the developer said.

The developer, which overstretched itself with projects such as islands in the shape of palm trees and a map of the world, said O’Donnell decided to leave following the five years he spent in the company according to his contract.

The former CEO was not immediately available for comment.

O’Donnell played a key role in handling Nakheel’s debt troubles, which forced its parent company Dubai World to announce a shock debt delay in 2009.

“Nakheel is finally close to restructuring its debt and things are perhaps returning back to normal,” said Mohammed Yasin, chief investment officer at CAPM Investments.

“The announcement of his exit is a good sign in the sense that Nakheel is trying to be more transparent now,” he added. “However, it’s not fair to say at this point that his tenure not being renewed is any judgment on his performance.”

The company said in March it expects its debt restructuring process to be completed by the first half of 2011.

But it has been struggling to negotiate terms with contractors who hold the keys to its many delayed projects. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Derek Caney)


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