Sheikh Mohammed leads tributes to pioneering Dubai businessman Majid Al Futtaim

Majid Al Futtaim was behind developments such as Mall of the Emirates

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Friday led tributes following the death of a leading UAE businessman.

Majid Al Futtaim was one of Dubai's commercial pioneers and was among those who spearheaded Dubai's growth as a global city.

Most prominent among his many achievements was the establishment of the Majid Al Futtaim group in 1992.

The group oversaw the development of Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, which is known around the world for its indoor ski slope.

Sheikh Mohammed said Al Futtaim was one of the emirate's “most important merchants and senior men".

“May God have mercy on him,” said Sheikh Mohammed on Twitter.

Majid Al Futtaim with the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed. Photo: @MaktoumMohammed
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My dream is to create great moments for everyone, every day.
Majid Al Futtaim

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also paid tribute.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Majid Al Futtaim, a groundbreaking UAE entrepreneur and a pioneer in charitable and humanitarian work,” he said.

“He was an inspirational model of business success combined with a deep commitment to society. May he rest in peace.”

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said Al Futtaim had served his country with distinction.

"Today we bid farewell to a ... man who spent his life serving his country and his family," said Sheikh Hamdan on Twitter.

Sheikh Hamdan also appeared with his brother Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, offering condolences.

Al Futtaim founded the Majid Al Futtaim group in 1992 and it is now one of the Arabian's Gulf's biggest employers, with tens of thousands of staff on the books.

It counts the Mall of the Emirates among its most notable projects.

The group is also the exclusive franchise holder for Carrefour, the world’s second largest hypermarket chain, and has developed, owns and manages at least 27 shopping malls.

It also owns numerous hotels operated by Sheraton, Kempinski, Aloft and Pullman, while Vox Cinemas is also a Majid Al Futtaim brand.

Majid Al Futtaim. Photo: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid / @HHShkMohd

Al Futtaim also had commercial interests encompassing property and retail from Asia to Africa.

But his home was always Dubai and Al Futtaim was among a key group of businesspeople who helped to oversee the development of the city from the 1960s onwards.

He was part of a core group who worked tirelessly to transform what was a small town by the Creek, known for pearl fishing and dhow trading, into the global metropolis it is today.

In essence, he helped make the vision of the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, a reality.

“My dream is to create great moments for everyone, every day,” said Al Futtaim.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, tweeted a photograph showing Al Futtaim with Sheikh Rashid.

“Future generations will remember him for the economic and societal achievements he left over these years,” said Sheikh Maktoum.

The company was also known for encouraging more Emiratis into its workforce. In September, Majid Al Futtaim began a drive to recruit 3,000 Emiratis.

At the time, Sheikh Mohammed tweeted his “thanks and appreciation” to Majid Al Futtaim. He mentioned this again in his message on Friday.

The Majid Al Futtaim group said he was a “visionary entrepreneur who transformed the face of business in the entire region".

“Majid Al Futtaim believed wholeheartedly in robust, world-class private sector institutions and the role they should play in driving sustainable economic growth [and] human development,” it said on Twitter.

“He worked tirelessly on turning this purpose and vision into a reality that acts as a role model for others. His legacy lives on in Majid Al Futtaim’s business and culture.”

A cause of death was not revealed.

Updated: December 18th 2021, 2:32 PM