Orascom Development boss dies in car accident

Khaled Bichara was co-founder of Egyptian venture firm Accelero Capital and of pioneering ISP Linkdotnet

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The chief executive of Egyptian hospitality company Orascom Development passed away following a car accident.

Khaled Bichara, who had also previously run the Orascom Telecom business, died following an accident that took place on Friday, a company spokesman confirmed.

"It is with great sadness that Orascom Development Holding announces that Khaled Bichara, CEO, has suddenly passed away in an accident. On behalf of our board of directors, management team and employees, we extend our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Khaled's family. Our thoughts are with them at this most difficult time," Orascom Development said in a statement on Friday to the Swiss Stock Exchange, where its shares trade.

Mr Bichara was appointed as chief executive of Orascom Development Holding in 2016. The company is a developer and operator of resorts, hotels and residential communities. It operates 33 hotels in seven countries, including The Cove resort in Ras Al Khaimah and the the Jebel Sifah resort in Oman. It also owns the 36.9 million square metre El Gouna resort covering 10km of shoreline on Egypt's Red Sea coast, and Mr Bichara was chairman of local football club El Gouna FC, which issued a statement via Twitter expressing its sympathy for his family.

Mr Bichara was also the chief executive and co-founder of Accelero Capital, a company which made investments in the telecoms, media and technology sectors.

He had previously served as chief executive of Orascom Telecom and as chief operating officer of Vimpelcom (now Veon), following its merger with Italy's Wind Telecom, where he had overseen three-year turnaround strategy, transforming it "from a continuously loss-making company to one of the leading European mobile, fixed line and broadband integrated operators", according to his biography on the Orascom Development website.

He had also co-founded one of Egypt's first major internet service providers, Linkdotnet, which was eventually bought out by Orange Egypt.

Mr Bichara also served on the board of Orascom Development and Orascom Construction, one of the Middle East's biggest construction companies, and was a member of the advisory board for the Computer Science and Engineering department at the American University of Cairo.