Dubai has removed the head of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and reshuffled the board of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the company through which the government holds stakes in some of its biggest companies.
Omar bin Sulaiman has been removed from the DIFC to be replaced by Ahmed al Tayer, who is also chairman of Emirates NBD. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, has also removed Mohammed al Gergawi, Mohammed Alabbar and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem from the board of ICD.
The three have so far not been replaced, with Sheikh Mohammed continuing to chair the now six person board. ICD holds stakes in several large Dubai companies on behalf of the government, including Emirates airline, Emirates NBD and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal).
Al-Gergawi, Alabbar and bin Sulayem will continue in their other roles as heads of Dubai Holding, Dubai World and Emaar Properties, respectively. Bin Sulaiman will remain deputy chairman of the Central Bank of the UAE. The four were considered a major driving force in Dubai’s rapid emergence as a global business centre.
The move is considered an attempt to consolidate power under Sheikh Mohammed in the wake of the financial crisis. One senior Dubai-based banker says, “The move is seen as Dubai trying to put its house in order and Sheikh Mohammed getting more involved in the running of the emirate’s commercial operations.”