Board of Directors

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Abdulla Al Habbai

Chairman, Non-Executive Director

Mr. Abdulla Al Habbai is the Group Chairman of Meraas Holding and Chairman of Dubai Holding. Mr. Al Habbai is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Engineering Office of H.H. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, a post he has held since 2005.

Mr. Al Habbai has more than 25 years’ experience in the property and real estate sector, including a 16-year term with Dubai Municipality where he was responsible for overseeing and translating the Emirate’s vision for urban planning. In addition to his roles with Meraas Holding and the Engineering Office, Mr. Al Habbai is the Chairman of the Board of Dubai Holding, serves on the Boards of Dubai Real Estate Corporation and Museum of the Future, amongst others, and is also the Chief Executive Officer of Shamal.

Mr. Al Habbai holds a Master’s degree in Cadastral and Land Information Management from the University of East London, United Kingdom.

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Abdul Wahab Al-Halabi

Vice Chairman, Non-executive Director

AAbdul Wahab Al-Halabi is the Group Chief Investment Officer of Equitativa, a diversified financial services group specialising in the development of REITs in emerging markets. He was previously the Group Chief Investment Officer of Meraas Holding group, where he was responsible for developing and directing Meraas Holding’s strategy as well as being responsible for its funding and investments. Mr. Al-Halabi has more than 18 years’ experience in the real estate sector, with expertise in financial restructuring, crisis and debt management, credit enhancements and joint ventures.

Mr. Al-Halabi’s early career began at KPMG in the UK, where he spent nine years specialising in debt and insolvency management and restructuring. Prior to joining Meraas, Mr. Al-Halabi was a partner at KPMG where he was co-head of its transactions and restructuring divisions in the MENA region. Previously, he has also acted as Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Properties, a member of Dubai Holding, and has held other executive roles within Dubai Holding. Mr. Al-Halabi is currently a non-executive director of Dubai Hills LLC, Dubai Inn LLC and Arthrogen B.V. In addition, he is a member of the supervisory board of Emirates Real Estate Investment Trust.

Mr. Al-Halabi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and an Executive MBA degree from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a member of the UK-based Securities Institute.

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Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi

Non-executive Director

Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi is the former Chief Executive Officer of DXB Entertainments PJSC. He was previously the Chief Leisure and Entertainment Officer at Meraas Holding. During this tenure, he helped develop new strategies and identify innovative opportunities for the company in the key growth area of leisure and entertainment.

Prior to joining Meraas Holding, Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi held senior management roles with Tatweer, Dubailand, and Dubai Properties Group. His decade long experience with the three industry majors helped him gain extensive market intelligence on the global theme park industry. Leveraging this know-how as well as his expertise in project and people management, Mr. Al Nuaimi has successfully brought innovative concepts to the region that have dynamically redefined Dubai’s leisure and entertainment landscape.

A former member of the UAE Naval Forces, Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Ashford University, UK. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD – CPP).

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Fahad Kazim

Independent Non-executive Director

Fahad Kazim is an Independent Advisor to the Group Chairman at Meraas Holding. Previously he was the Chief Commercial Officer at Meraas Holding where he was responsible for the business development and asset management functions of the company’s real estate portfolio. including its retail interests together with its recently launched Food & Beverage division.

Mr. Kazim was seconded for a period of two years to Bright Start LLC, a holding company in the real estate and investment fields, as its Chief Investment Executive Officer. During his secondment, Mr. Kazim helped formalise the company’s overall investment strategy and oversaw its real estate projects, including a Four Seasons Hotel and a mixed-use development project in Dubai.

Prior to joining Meraas, Mr. Kazim worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers as part of the Transaction Services team, focusing on financial due diligence and valuation assignments and advising clients on buy/sell transactions in the real estate sector with a focus on the hospitality and retail industries. He was also involved in significant assignments, including the establishment of one of the largest real estate development companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In an earlier role, Mr. Kazim was a member of the audit practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Kazim currently serves as a non-executive director on Arthrogen BV and is a member of the supervisory board of Emirates Real Estate Investment Trust.

Mr. Kazim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Concordia University in Canada and is a qualified Certified Public Accountant.

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Dennis C. Gilbert

Independent Non-executive Director

Dennis Gilbert has spent his career in the theme park and attractions business. He has been involved in all aspects of park operations, including rides, attractions, retail, food, marketing, maintenance and human resources for a number of theme parks since he began work as a summer host in 1967 in his first theme park.

Mr Gilbert has held senior executive positions, including vice presidential positions with three Anheuser Busch Adventure Parks; Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sea World of Ohio; Chief Operating Officer for Malibu/Mountasia Family Entertainment parks, operating over 50 Entertainment Centers in North America; Vice President and General Manager for Stone Mountain Park, in Atlanta, Georgia; Chief Operating Officer for Ocean Embassy; and Senior Vice President of Attractions at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, including responsibility for Universal Studios Singapore, Maritime Museum, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Adventure and the world’s largest aquarium, the South East Asia Aquarium.

Mr. Gilbert is a partner in All Parks Solutions and has been involved, throughout his professional career, with the planning and opening of a large number of theme parks and Family Entertainment Centers around the world.
He has provided operational consulting services for theme parks, water parks and attractions in each of the start-up, planning and operation phases, as well as evaluation services for ongoing operations. Mr. Gilbert has also provided safety, maintenance and operational inspections for rides and attractions for a number of theme parks and water parks around the world.

Mr. Gilbert is Chairman of the Board and majority stockholder for Gilberts of Atlanta, a restaurant
company operating as a “Wendy’s” franchisee.

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Steven D. Shaiken

Independent Non-executive Director

Steven D. Shaiken heads his own consultancy firm, offering services to global brands in the travel and leisure market such as Disney, Universal, Aramark, and Hudson News. Mr. Shaiken also provides consultancy services in connection with revenue generation and profit enhancement. He is currently involved with an emerging immersive destination offering called Evermore in the Salt Lake City Area.

Mr. Shaiken has over 40 years’ experience in the destination branded entertainment arena, including government liaison, resort master planning, sourced entertainment zone venues, contract negotiations, supplier relations and vendor management.

Mr. Shaiken was the Executive Managing Director at Adventure World Warsaw for 13 months during 2011 and 2012 where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of project management, including marketing, revenue management, food service, hotel management, park operations and staff recruitment for this project which was the first of its kind in Central Eastern Europe.

Earlier, Mr. Shaiken was the President of the Smithsonian Business Venture Unit, and Senior Vice President of Global Retail and Revenue at Universal Parks & Resorts, and where in this capacity, he was responsible for the properties in Orlando, Japan, Hollywood and Spain. Concurrently, he also served as President of Spencer Gifts, a wholly owned division of Vivendi Universal.

In his earlier capacities, Mr. Shaiken has worked with industry majors such as the Royal Caribbean International, Seaworld Parks & Entertainment, Disney Cruise Lines, Starwood and Hilton hotel chains, and Smithsonian Business Ventures.

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Christian Gheorghe

Non-executive Director

Mr Gheorghe is Chief Financial and Investment Officer at Meraas LLC. Bringing with him over 18 years of experience working globally across several industries, Cristian joined the Meraas team in May 2016. He has a broad area of expertise including direct private equity investments in the US tech sector and hospitality, M&A, corporate finance, as well as providing strategic advice to large conglomerates.

Prior to joining Meraas, Cristian served as Investment Strategist at Citi Private Bank in Geneva where he led the buy side investment advisory and corporate finance to a high profile, multi-billion-dollar franchise relationship of the bank in Saudi Arabia. He is a board member at Yvolv LLC, MD Health and Wellness LLC and Marsa Al Seef LLC and others.

Along with a CFA designation, Cristian holds an MBA degree from Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.

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Edris Alrafi

Non-executive Director

Mr Alrafi is the Chief Commercial Officer at Meraas Holding. He brings more than 13 years of experience in investment banking, finance and private equity.

Prior to Meraas, he served as Head of Middle East Business at the private equity firm Developing Markets Capital (DMC) Partners where he was responsible for identifying private equity investment opportunities. Mr Alrafi also served as Head of UAE client coverage at Goldman Sachs for the UAE. Prior to Goldman Sachs, he served as General Manager at First Gulf Bank in the Securities Division and worked closely with the CEO and Managing Director of the Bank.

He is currently Vice Chairman at Noor Bank and Nashma Properties, and the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Holding, where he is responsible for developing and implementing the commercial and financial strategy for the overall group. He holds a finance degree from the Higher College of Technology in the UAE.

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John Ireland

Executive Director

John Ireland joined DXB Entertainments as Chief Financial Officer in June 2017. John has experience across a wide range of media, including broadcast, digital, out-of-home, print, event management and recorded music.

He was previously Chief Financial Officer at the Arab Media Group. In his role, he oversees the financial, strategic and legal aspects of the group’s operations, including the Arabian Radio Network, Global Village and Done Events.

John joined Arab Media Group from 21st Century Fox, where he held a number of senior finance positions across the Group’s operations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including regional experience as Chief Financial Officer of Rotana Media Group.

John has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in business and management from the University of Exeter, UK and is a qualified chartered accountant, having previously worked for Deloitte in the telecommunications, media and technology sector.

Our Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring effective implementation of the corporate governance framework within the Company via application of the best practice principles incorporated within the Corporate Governance Manual.

The Board is also responsible for leading the Company and its subsidiaries towards the attainment of the Company’s vision and goals and is responsible for enhancing shareholders’ value through management of the business by way of providing strategic direction. The Board oversees the management and is responsible to maintain an adequate system of internal controls which provides assurance of effective and efficient operation, financial reporting and risk management.

The Board of Directors ensures satisfactory succession planning for the Board, the CEO and other executive management of the Company.

The Board of Directors is the decision-making body for all matters of significance to the Company due to their strategic, financial or reputational consequences or implications. Detailed responsibilities of the Board of Directors are laid down in the Board Charter.

Currently, one-third of the Board’s membership comprises of independent directors with the majority being non-executive directors. Members are chosen for their experience, including that relevant to the Company’s core entertainment and leisure offering.

The Board of Directors’ affairs are managed by a Company Secretary.

  • Abdulla Al Habbai

    Chairman, Non-Executive Director View Bio
  • Abdul Wahab Al-Halabi

    Vice Chairman, Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi

    Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Fahad Kazim

    Independent Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Dennis C. Gilbert

    Independent Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Steven D. Shaiken

    Independent Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Christian Gheorghe

    Non-executive Director View Bio
  • Edris Alrafi

    Non-executive Director View Bio
  • John Ireland

    Executive Director View Bio