UAE community pays rich tribute to late businessman Majid Al Futtaim

Government and business leaders laud his everlasting legacy and contributions to UAE's economic progress



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Sherouk Zakaria

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Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Fri 17 Dec 2021, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 18 Dec 2021, 5:09 PM

Members of Dubai's royal family and the business community paid rich tributes over the demise of prominent Emirati businessman Majid Al Futtaim on Friday night.

Majid Al Futtaim, owner and founder of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, was a well-respected figure in Emirati society with key contributions to the UAE's economic growth. He leaves behind an everlasting legacy in the world of retail, real estate and entertainment in the UAE and across the region.

Taking to Twitter, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, paid tribute to Al Futtaim on Twitter, hailing him as "one of Dubai's most important" business leaders.

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His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said, “today, we bid farewell to a precious pillar in the Emirati society, and a man who spent his life in the service of his nation and community.”

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said in memory of the late businessman: “We have lost a true visionary. The manner in which Mr. Majid Al Futtaim turned his vision and purpose into tangible successes demonstrated private sector institutions’critical roles in driving sustainable national economic growth and human development. His rich legacy and contributions to enriching the UAE’s business environment and the region’s retail sector will continue to inspire entrepreneurship and innovation for years to come.”

Paying condolences to Majid Al Futtaim’s family, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, tweeted: “Majid Al Futtaim's achievements accompanied the growth of the UAE and Dubai economy over the past decades. The future generations will remember his economic and social achievements that he left behind over the years.”

His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Council for Border Crossing Points Security, tweeted: “Leaving us today is a man whose contributions were felt at every stage of the UAE’s development. He helped build an economic base with successes that will forever bear witness to his dedication to the nation.”

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Media Council, described the late business tycoon as “a man of character, principle and innovation.” He added, “Majid Al Futtaim’s imprint and achievements that contributed to Dubai’s journey of development will remain a source of inspiration for generations to come. An exceptional patriot, with loyalty to his country and people. May his soul rest in peace.”

An ever-lasting legacy

Dr. Habib Al Mulla, a well-respected Emirati lawyer, said, “Majid Al Futtaim was not only a businessman, he was a genius in trade and business management. He introduced new concepts in commerce for the first time in the region, and established a business empire with a structure that others can never imitate. He has become an inspiring role model for business pioneers and a story to be studied. May his soul rest in peace.”

Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of Al Habtoor Group, said “Our condolences to the UAE for the demise of a key business pioneer and a school in trade and retail. Majid Al Futtaim, a renowned figure in the country, will be greatly missed.”

His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Secretary General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, called the deceased “a noble generous man who has long supported the development of this country in sincerity and silence." He added that "His work and legacy will forever be engraved in the memory of our nation. A true example of a business leader, teacher and friend. May his soul rest in heaven.”

His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, said, “Today, we lost Majid Al Futtaim after a long journey of giving. He was a true example of a successful businessman, and a key figure with a record of noble initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.”

In reference to Majid Al Futtaim’s last announcement to hire 3,000 Emiratis in his establishments as part of the UAE’s Emiratization drive in the private sector, Khalid Al Marzooqi, CEO of the National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) said, “Businessman Majid Al Futtaim was the owner of countless national initiatives and a major supporter of Emiratis”

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Abdulla Al Nuaimi, CEO, Dubai National Insurance and Reinsurance P.S.C (DNI), said, “Majid Al Futtaim's passing away is very sad news for Dubai and UAE. He worked for Emiratis and contributed immensely to the region's retail sector, trade and economy. He will be sorely missed.”

Noting Majid Al Futtaim’s support to young Emiratis, Hassan Sajwani, Emirati social media influencer, said, “Dubai will never forget Majid Al Futtaim and his efforts in building up our private sector, retail businesses and tourism ecosystem in the emirate.”

Yusuffali MA, Lulu Group chairman and managing director, said the demise was a “great loss.” He added, “A true visionary and inspiration for the entire business community. He played a very key role in many business sectors, especially in the growth of retail sector in UAE and the region.”

Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, noted that “Majid Al Futtaim was one of Dubai's business pioneers and was among those who highly contributed to Dubai's growth thanks to his visionary businessman acumen. May God have mercy on him.”

Paying condolences to the family, Taher Shams, managing director of Zulekha Healthcare Group, referred to Majid Al Futtaim as “an able businessman and honorable leader.” He noted that “the country has greatly benefited across sectors from his wisdom and passion for the development of UAE. Indeed, he will be missed and remembered as a benevolent leader leaving behind a remarkable legacy.”

Rizwan Sajan, Chairman and Founder Danube Group, said, “Dubai's most iconic and a trailblazer in thought and spirit Majid Al Futtaim passed away today, his efforts in building up the region's private sector, retail businesses, and tourism ecosystem in the emirate will not be forgotten.”

Sir Anthony Ritossa, chairman of Ritossa Family Office, noted that Majid Al Futtaim’s “legacy as a respected family man, global businessman, family office influencer, and all-around great person is evidenced by his beloved family and business empire and will live on in generations to come.”

Urging the business community to follow in Majid Al Futtaim’s footsteps, Ritossa said, “His passing comes near the end of the year, which is a special time during which many of us reflect on our hopes, aspirations, and dreams for the future. In dear Majid’s honour, please continue to reach for the stars and make a positive difference on this beautiful planet.”

Remembering Majid Al Futtaim’s early journey in the business world, Ram Buxani, Chairman of ITL -Cosmos group, said he interacted with the business leader in the early 1960s. “I vividly remember his initial role as a banker before embarking upon distribution business. He is a person who believed in leading the success. He went on expanding the lines before diversifying into real estate development giving prestigious names like City Centre, Mall of Emirates, Festival City and the like. His demise creates a rare vacuum in local business scenario.”

Deepak Bhatia, Managing Director of Uncle’s Shop, said, “It is very sad to hear about the passing away of not only an old family friend but a person who was one of the closest friends to my late grandfather Uttamchand Bhatia. Majid Al Futtaim will always be remembered for his great contributions and will always remain in our heart and memories.”

Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare: Sad to hear about the demise of Majed Al Futtaim , who was a legendary businessman of the Arab world. MAF , which is the acronym of his name, is synonymous with shopping experience for over 2 decades in the Middle East. He has created one among the most recognised brands in retailing in Middle East. May God bless his soul.

Mohammad Badri, Director, Eros Group: We are all saddened by this terrible news. He was a visionary leader who helped transform this country towards the city of future and growth. Our prayers are with his family and employees of Majid Al Futtaim

Omar Alghanim, Chairman of Family Business Council GulfFBCG extends our condolences to Majid Al Futtaim’s family, loved ones and the entire MAF organisation for the loss of a great businessman and leader in our region. He was a benchmark who made a positive impact in the business community and beyond.

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and MD- Al Adil Group: It is a great loss for all of us. He was a visionary leader and has played a crucial role in the growth and development of the community. As a business leader, he is credited with many path breaking initiatives that has provided business people like me the opportunity to learn and grow.

Kamal Vachani, group director and partner, Al Maya Group: MAF.. an inspirational & dignified person and a businessman and icon like . An essential part of the UAE business community who has accomplished exceptional things. My deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and entire MAF group.

The Emirati billionaire businessman Majid Al Futtaim created major impact on retail shopping and entertainment in the region since the establishment of Majid Al Futtaim Holding in 1992 that runs 28 shopping malls and 13 hotels. It expanded across the Mideast with malls and other ventures. It also runs over 300 Carrefour supermarkets and hypermarkets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Deepak Babani, executive vice-chairman of Eros Group: Majid Al Futtaim was a visionary leader and his loss will be felt by the UAE business community. He was a very unassuming and humble man. I had the opportunity to meet him by accident at one of his construction sites at Nasr Square in Deira. He introduced himself and briefly chatted with me. I still remember spotting him at the coffee shop at DCC as part of his routine visits. His professional approach to business is what family businesses in the Middle East should emulate.

Majid Al Futtaim Holding vows to take mission forward

In a statement on Friday night, Majid Al Futtaim Holding offered condolences to the UAE community upon the demise of its beloved founder, with vows to carry forward his vision in creating innovative brands and exceptional destinations that bring happiness to people across the region.

The statement read, “Mr Majid Al Futtaim was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the face of business in the entire region and his lifetime achievements have been an inspiration for many, and particularly for us at the Majid Al Futtaim group of companies, which was built around his clear sense of purpose and an unwavering vision. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with Mr Majid’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

In describing the late business tycoon’s mission, the statement said, “Mr Majid Al Futtaim believed wholeheartedly in robust, world-class private sector institutions and the role they should play in driving sustainable economic growth and human development. He worked tirelessly on turning this purpose and vision into a reality that acts as a role model for others.”

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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