Dubai-based DP World’s group CEO, Mohammed Shafar, has retired with immediate effect.

The company said its board has begun a process to identify a permanent successor for Shafar. In the interim, DP World chairman Sultan bin Sulayem will assume the role of group CEO.

Shafar worked for DP World for 23 years, the last 11 serving as its group CEO. He left DP World to pursue other opportunities, the company said.

Under Shafar’s leadership, the container and terminal operator grew to be a $3.4bn company, handling an estimated 9 per cent of the world’s container trade, while employing more than 36,000 people.

The firm handled a 60 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) container trade in 2014, and is aiming to increase this volume to 100 million by 2020.

DP World is listed with Nasdaq Dubai and is due to announce its throughput results for 2015 on 8 February and its preliminary results for the 12 months ending 31 December 2015 on 17 March.