The Dubai Government media office has informed that Al Habbai will retain his existing role as the Chairman of Meraas Holding, the development company owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which is behind such concepts as The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence, City Walk in Jumeirah, Boxpark on Al Wasl Road and the Bluewaters Island project. Meraas Holding is also the majority shareholder in the owner of the Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park cluster near Jebel Ali.
Al Habbai has more than 25 years of experience in property and is the Chief Executive of the engineering office of the Private Office of the Ruler of Dubai. Prior to this, he spent 16 years at Dubai Municipality where he was responsible for overseeing urban planning.
Other current roles include memberships of the board of Dubai Real Estate Corporation and of the Museum of the Future project as well as serving as the Deputy Chairman of Rove Hospitality, a new chain of budget hotels being developed by Emaar Properties.
Al Habbai replaces Mohammed Al Gergawi, Dubai Holding’s Founding Chairman, whose decision to step down after 18 years at the helm of the group was announced last month.
Al Gergawi had overseen the growth of Dubai Holding from a start-up with 20 employees and a $54.45 million loan into a group with more than $27.23 billion in assets and 22,000 employees in 21 countries. His departure was announced as the company’s main operating arm, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group, recorded an 8% increase in net profit for 2016 to $1.72 billion and a 16% growth in revenue to approximately $4.59 billion.
Dubai Holding, which owns Dubai Properties, the business parks operator Tecom and the Jumeirah Hospitality Group, has set itself a target of hitting an annual profit of $2.72 billion by 2020.