Abdulla Al Gurg is the group general manager of the Dubai conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg. Victor Besa for The National
Abdulla Al Gurg is the group general manager of the Dubai conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg. Victor Besa for The National

Off hours: Abdulla Al Gurg of the venerable Dubai conglomerate



Abdulla Al Gurg is the group general manager of the Dubai conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg, one of the oldest and most venerable of the emirate’s family businesses with interests in construction, real estate, consumer products, retail and lifestyle. Its international partners include some of the biggest names in global business such as Siemens, Unilever and British American Tobacco. The Emirati, 34, has four children, three boys and a girl aged between two to 12.

What are your favourite things to do at the weekend?

My ideal weekend involves spending time with family and friends. I enjoy entertaining my guests at home if I am not at a gathering, then going to the beach with my children or hitting the gym would be an ideal relaxing weekend. I enjoy the beach at Mina A’Salam hotel in Madinat Jumeirah and often go there. The kids love the Sinbad club. I have four children, all under 12 years old, so that is the kind of thing they love to do.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobbies?

Fitness is a passion. If I am not exercising at the gym, then a run or walk on the beach is my next option. But at the moment I’ve got a knee problem – showing off too much in the gym did something to it.

What can’t you live without?

It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and lose touch with people, but I am a people person. With the technology available today, there is no excuse to not stay in touch. It has been said that people with friends tend to live longer. That makes a lot of sense when you think about it. If one has a strong support system that one can count on, life is a lot better. No matter what happens, one must keep relationships with family and friends alive. I also like to have some time to myself a few times a week, mainly for exercise, but I don’t think I’m an introvert. Where do people like that get their sense of joy?

What is your favourite gadget?

Well, I don’t know if it counts but I am passionate about cars. Can you call a Lamborghini a gadget?

What do you consider the secret to your success?

Taking care of yourself. When we don’t sleep or eat well, shun exercise and are living off adrenalin for too long, our performance suffers. Our decisions suffer. Our company suffers. I believe in working hard but also having that sense of balance and making space for life outside the workspace. It is always best to simplify life. There will always be a less complicated solution. More importantly I believe it is essential to switch off and recharge.

How did you become general manager?

I began my career working for the government of Dubai and then went to work for Dubai Holding on projects like the Tiger Woods development and Dubailand. But the family came calling in 2008 and it was time to take up my responsibilities here.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

The importance of humility for effective and fearless leadership cannot be understated. Today more than ever, it’s important not to confuse confidence with arrogance, or humility with a lack of aggressiveness. They are extremely different. Showing humility is a sign of strength, not weakness. Beware of the notion that because someone seems “nice” they aren’t aggressive. Always remember to listen to another’s point of view. We aren’t always right. In fact, we are more wrong than right and that is what makes us human.

What do you have on your desk at work?

Just the usual boring stuff, but I do have a set of golf clubs in the office. Not that I play very much, or very well, but they were a gift from Tiger Woods and they have good memories for me.

If you weren’t running the company what else would you be doing?

I love to live well and eat healthy. Hence, if I were not heading the operations of my family business, I would have been a restaurateur. Maybe a brasserie in London or somewhere else in Europe, and I could go out to get the groceries every morning on my bicycle. The food of choice would be organic treats or a juice bar with interesting mixes. Or what about being the PR for something glamorous, like Vogue magazine?

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

Languages. I think they are very important. We have business partners in Germany, Spain and Italy and I’d love to learn their languages. I learnt some French at school but it’s not enough really. I also want to make sure my children learn Arabic properly; it is so easy to neglect it in a cosmopolitan place like Dubai. I’ve hired an Arabic teacher for them to help them learn.

fkane@thenational.ae

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BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Rating: 3.5/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Innotech Profile

Date started: 2013

Founder/CEO: Othman Al Mandhari

Based: Muscat, Oman

Sector: Additive manufacturing, 3D printing technologies

Size: 15 full-time employees

Stage: Seed stage and seeking Series A round of financing 

Investors: Oman Technology Fund from 2017 to 2019, exited through an agreement with a new investor to secure new funding that it under negotiation right now. 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The biog

Hobby: Playing piano and drawing patterns

Best book: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Food of choice: Sushi  

Favourite colour: Orange

In numbers

Number of Chinese tourists coming to UAE in 2017 was... 1.3m

Alibaba’s new ‘Tech Town’  in Dubai is worth... $600m

China’s investment in the MIddle East in 2016 was... $29.5bn

The world’s most valuable start-up in 2018, TikTok, is valued at... $75bn

Boost to the UAE economy of 5G connectivity will be... $269bn 

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Review: Tomb Raider
Dir: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Walter Goggins
​​​​​​​two stars

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Profile

Company: Justmop.com

Date started: December 2015

Founders: Kerem Kuyucu and Cagatay Ozcan

Sector: Technology and home services

Based: Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai

Size: 55 employees and 100,000 cleaning requests a month

Funding:  The company’s investors include Collective Spark, Faith Capital Holding, Oak Capital, VentureFriends, and 500 Startups. 

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The Energy Research Centre

Founded 50 years ago as a nuclear research institute, scientists at the centre believed nuclear would be the “solution for everything”.
Although they still do, they discovered in 1955 that the Netherlands had a lot of natural gas. “We still had the idea that, by 2000, it would all be nuclear,” said Harm Jeeninga, director of business and programme development at the centre.
"In the 1990s, we found out about global warming so we focused on energy savings and tackling the greenhouse gas effect.”
The energy centre’s research focuses on biomass, energy efficiency, the environment, wind and solar, as well as energy engineering and socio-economic research.

Williams at Wimbledon

Venus Williams - 5 titles (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008)

Serena Williams - 7 titles (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016)

THE SPECS

Engine: AMG-enhanced 3.0L inline-6 turbo with EQ Boost and electric auxiliary compressor

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 429hp

Torque: 520Nm​​​​​​​

Price: Dh360,200 (starting)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

BOSH!'s pantry essentials

Nutritional yeast

This is Firth's pick and an ingredient he says, "gives you an instant cheesy flavour". He advises making your own cream cheese with it or simply using it to whip up a mac and cheese or wholesome lasagne. It's available in organic and specialist grocery stores across the UAE.

Seeds

"We've got a big jar of mixed seeds in our kitchen," Theasby explains. "That's what you use to make a bolognese or pie or salad: just grab a handful of seeds and sprinkle them over the top. It's a really good way to make sure you're getting your omegas."

Umami flavours

"I could say soya sauce, but I'll say all umami-makers and have them in the same batch," says Firth. He suggests having items such as Marmite, balsamic vinegar and other general, dark, umami-tasting products in your cupboard "to make your bolognese a little bit more 'umptious'".

Onions and garlic

"If you've got them, you can cook basically anything from that base," says Theasby. "These ingredients are so prevalent in every world cuisine and if you've got them in your cupboard, then you know you've got the foundation of a really nice meal."

Your grain of choice

Whether rice, quinoa, pasta or buckwheat, Firth advises always having a stock of your favourite grains in the cupboard. "That you, you have an instant meal and all you have to do is just chuck a bit of veg in."

The Breadwinner

Director: Nora Twomey

Starring: Saara Chaudry,  Soma Chhaya,  Laara Sadiq 

Three stars

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe


Price, base: Dh201,153
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Power: 204hp @ 5,800rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,600rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 6.7L / 100km

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Baftas 2020 winners

BEST FILM

  • 1917 - Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Jayne-Ann Tenggren
  • THE IRISHMAN - Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • JOKER - Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho, Kwak Sin-ae

DIRECTOR

  • 1917 - Sam Mendes
  • THE IRISHMAN - Martin Scorsese
  • JOKER - Todd Phillips
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

  • 1917 - Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
  • BAIT - Mark Jenkin, Kate Byers, Linn Waite
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • ROCKETMAN - Dexter Fletcher, Adam Bohling, David Furnish, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn, Lee Hall
  • SORRY WE MISSED YOU  - Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
  • THE TWO POPES - Fernando Meirelles, Jonathan Eirich, Dan Lin, Tracey Seaward, Anthony McCarten

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

  • THE FAREWELL - Lulu Wang, Daniele Melia
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • PAIN AND GLORY - Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
  • PARASITE - Bong Joon-ho
  • PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE - Céline Sciamma, Bénédicte Couvreur

LEADING ACTRESS

  • JESSIE BUCKLEY - Wild Rose
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON - Marriage Story
  • SAOIRSE RONAN - Little Women
  • CHARLIZE THERON - Bombshell
  • RENÉE ZELLWEGER - Judy

LEADING ACTOR

  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO - Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
  • ADAM DRIVER - Marriage Story
  • TARON EGERTON - Rocketman
  • JOAQUIN PHOENIX - Joker
  • JONATHAN PRYCE - The Two Popes

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • TOM HANKS - A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS - The Two Popes
  • AL PACINO - The Irishman
  • JOE PESCI - The Irishman
  • BRAD PITT - Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • LAURA DERN - Marriage Story
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON - Jojo Rabbit
  • FLORENCE PUGH - Little Women
  • MARGOT ROBBIE - Bombshell
  • MARGOT ROBBIE - Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • THE IRISHMAN - Steven Zaillian
  • JOJO RABBIT - Taika Waititi
  • JOKER - Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Greta Gerwig
  • THE TWO POPES - Anthony McCarten

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • BOOKSMART - Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
  • KNIVES OUT - Rian Johnson
  • MARRIAGE STORY - Noah Baumbach
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE - Han Jin Won, Bong Joon ho

DOCUMENTARY

  • AMERICAN FACTORY - Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert
  • APOLLO 11 - Todd Douglas Miller
  • DIEGO MARADONA - Asif Kapadia
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • THE GREAT HACK - Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaime

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER

  • BAIT - Mark Jenkin (Writer/Director), Kate Byers, Linn Waite (Producers)
  • FOR SAMA - Waad al-Kateab (Director/Producer), Edward Watts (Director)
  • MAIDEN - Alex Holmes (Director)
  • ONLY YOU - Harry Wootliff (Writer/Director)
  • RETABLO - Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio (Writer/Director)

ANIMATED FILM

  • FROZEN 2 - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
  • KLAUS - Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh
  • A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON - Will Becher, Richard Phelan, Paul Kewley
  • TOY STORY 4 - Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen

CASTING

  • JOKER - Shayna Markowitz
  • MARRIAGE STORY - Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Victoria Thomas
  • THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD - Sarah Crowe
  • THE TWO POPES - Nina Gold

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)

  • AWKWAFINA
  • JACK LOWDEN
  • KAITLYN DEVER
  • KELVIN HARRISON JR.
  • MICHEAL WARD

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • 1917 - Roger Deakins
  • THE IRISHMAN - Rodrigo Prieto
  • JOKER - Lawrence Sher
  • LE MANS ’66 - Phedon Papamichael
  • THE LIGHTHOUSE - Jarin Blaschke

EDITING

  • THE IRISHMAN - Thelma Schoonmaker
  • JOJO RABBIT - Tom Eagles
  • JOKER - Jeff Groth
  • LE MANS ’66 - Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Fred Raskin

COSTUME DESIGN

  • THE IRISHMAN - Christopher Peterson, Sandy Powell
  • JOJO RABBIT - Mayes C. Rubeo
  • JUDY - Jany Temime
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Jacqueline Durran
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Arianne Phillips

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • 1917 - Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales
  • THE IRISHMAN - Bob Shaw, Regina Graves
  • JOJO RABBIT - Ra Vincent, Nora Sopková
  • JOKER - Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran
  • ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD - Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh

SOUND

  • 1917 - Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson
  • JOKER - Tod Maitland, Alan Robert Murray, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic
  • LE MANS ’66 - David Giammarco, Paul Massey, Steven A. Morrow, Donald Sylvester
  • ROCKETMAN - Matthew Collinge, John Hayes, Mike Prestwood Smith, Danny Sheehan
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 1917 - Thomas Newman
  • JOJO RABBIT - Michael Giacchino
  • JOKER - Hildur Guđnadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN - Alexandre Desplat
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - John Williams

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

  • 1917 - Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
  • AVENGERS: ENDGAME - Dan Deleeuw, Dan Sudick
  • THE IRISHMAN - Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Pablo Helman
  • THE LION KING - Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Elliot Newman, Adam Valdez
  • STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy

MAKE UP & HAIR

  • 1917 - Naomi Donne
  • BOMBSHELL - Vivian Baker, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan
  • JOKER - Kay Georgiou, Nicki Ledermann
  • JUDY - Jeremy Woodhead
  • ROCKETMAN - Lizzie Yianni Georgiou

BRITISH SHORT FILM

  • AZAAR - Myriam Raja, Nathanael Baring
  • GOLDFISH - Hector Dockrill, Harri Kamalanathan, Benedict Turnbull, Laura Dockrill
  • KAMALI - Sasha Rainbow, Rosalind Croad
  • LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) - Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva
  • THE TRAP - Lena Headey, Anthony Fitzgerald

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION

  • GRANDAD WAS A ROMANTIC - Maryam Mohajer
  • IN HER BOOTS - Kathrin Steinbacher
  • THE MAGIC BOAT  - Naaman Azh
Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5