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Dubai’s DIFC announces major shake-up

(01/08/2012, Dubai) Jeff Singer, the former chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, was on Tuesday appointed CEO of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA). He replaces Abdulla Al Awar who has been appointed as an advisor to the board of directors, a statement said. The appointments come as the organisation segregates into two independent entities - DIFCA and DIFC Properties which will manage its real estate portfolio. The reorganisation which is effective immediately is part of DIFC's growth strategy, the statement added.

"DIFCA's medium-term goal is to build on the Centre's successful performance to date and double its scale as a global financial hub," the statement said. Singer has been appointed CEO of DIFC Authority and Nabil Ramadhan has been named acting CEO of DIFC Properties. Together they will implement DIFCA's growth strategy to raise the number of DIFC's membership which currently stands at 860 active companies, increase the number of people working at DIFC to an estimated 25,000 people.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the board of directors of DIFC Authority, said: “For the last three years, Abdulla has worked diligently to ensure that DIFC continues to grow despite the global economic backdrop. "As an advisor to the board of DIFC Authority, we will be able to leverage his valuable experience at the centre." He added: “Going forward, our goal is ambitious but achievable. We plan to double DIFC’s scale in terms of the number of member companies and their employees. We also plan to develop the Centre's function and reputation as host to international capital markets. To achieve this, we have decided to change the structure of the senior management team."

Singer added: "DIFC commands a strong position and I look forward to raising awareness of the many opportunities DIFC offers to new and existing members and to developing the business transacted from the Centre."

Ramadhan said: "We have created a very dynamic working environment at DIFC. We will ensure that the Centre continues to evolve and that the contribution we make to the UAE economy continues to grow as a result."

DIFC has become an important element of the UAE economy contributing in 2011 around $1.3bn, equivalent to 1.4 percent of the nation's non-hydrocarbon GDP as estimated by International Monetary Fund. Under the reorganisation, DIFC Authority will oversee the strategic development, operational management and administration of DIFC. DIFC Properties will oversee the property development of the DIFC free zone, of which roughly 40 percent remains to be constructed, and its supporting infrastructure.

Source: AB

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