Al Shaibani to Head Dubai Palm-Shaped Island Developer Nakheel

(Bloomberg) –Top government official Mohammed Al Shaibani will take over as chairman of the Dubai-based palm-shaped island developer Nakheel PJSC, replacing Ali Lootah.

Al Shaibani, who is also chief executive officer of Investment Corp. of Dubai and director general of the city’s ruler’s court, will take over after Lootah resigned, Nakheel said in a statement.

Lootah, who steered the state-owned developer through a $10.5 billion debt restructuring, left the company after 10 years in the role, Bloomberg reported on Monday. He will join the board of Dubai World, according to the statement.

Al Shaibani is one of four new board members, which also include former Nakheel Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem, Khalifa AlDaboos, and Issam Galadari, according to the statement. Lootah replaced Bin Sulayem as chairman in 2010.

Nakheel was at the center of Dubai’s debt crisis in 2009 that pushed the emirate to the brink of a default. After receiving support from the government, it now has billions of dirhams of projects and infrastructure development underway.

Still, Nakheel is among developers coming under pressure as Dubai’s property market’s long decline since a peak in October 2014 defies all predictions of a rebound. The company in March dismissed about 300 employees as part of its plans to consolidate its operations, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Dubai is taking steps to help the market recover. In September, the government set up a committee to manage the supply and demand of properties and ensure that private developers operate in fair environment. The city’s Land Department has been focusing on promoting Dubai’s real estate to investors abroad, mostly in the U.S., U.K., China, India and Russia.

Nakheel reported a profit of 4.38 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) in 2018, down from 5.67 billion a year earlier.

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