Saif Bin Ahmed Al Ghurair with Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former President of the United Arab Emirates.
Saif Bin Ahmed Al Ghurair, an Emirati billionaire businessman, CEO of the Dubai-based Al-Ghurair Group, a large company in the UAE's real estate and manufacturing sector, passed away in Dubai on Tuesday at the age of 95.
Saif Al Ghurair was born in 1924 in Deira, Dubai. At early age, he was engaged in his family's career in pearl fishing. However, after the emergence of artificial pearls from Japan by the 1930s, this trade became useless. Then, the late Saif along with his family changed their career to trade, and developed the small pearl fishing boats in order to sail for longer voyages. At the time, the late began with his family on commercial voyages to transport dates, fabrics and textiles between Iraq, Africa and India, and later added gold to the trade. But, on one of voyages to India, Al Ghurair lost one of his eyes as a result of strong storms and violent winds.
With death of Saif Bin Ahmed Al Ghurair, Dubai has lost one of the witnesses and contributors to its early renaissance, in which he and his fellow businessmen helped shape the emirate's transformation. They founded business groups that quickly grew and significantly contributed to the development and modernity of Dubai until it reached what it is today.
At the end of the 1950s, Dubai began to witness rapid growth led by the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who supported his ambitious vision through major investments in infrastructure. Dubai's economy began to thrive. In that period, specifically in 1960, Saif Al Ghurair founded an integrated economic group to bring together the family’s businesses. Over time, the Group's business expanded to include retail, industry and real estate. Each of the Group's projects was assessed for its contribution to the Group's growth and prosperity in particular and the Dubai's economy in general. The Group set an example.
The Group was the first to establish a cement factory in Dubai, in addition to wheat mills, sugar refineries and aluminum smelting plants. It also built the UAE’s first mall in 1981. Thus, the Group anchored the strongest economic sectors in Dubai under the attraction based-economic philosophy of Al Ghurair. The focus was primarily on the activities that would enhance the economy of Dubai and the UAE. That vision proved to be useful as the Group not only benefited from Dubai's rapid development, but also contributed to it.
Saif Al Ghurair also involved his six sons to the Group: Abdul Rahman, Majid, Mohammed, Ahmed, Rashid, and Saeed, to continue to expand into new projects and industries, particularly in the field of packaging and aluminum industry, as well as the development of shopping malls.
Al Ghurair inculcated in his employees excellence in customer service through his words. Among of those words were “The core of the Group's success lies in its corporate culture, which aims to foster growth and innovation, as well as in the strategy of gaining customer’s confidence by delivering the best quality, innovative solutions and diligent striving for the best ways to serve our customers.”
He also chaired the Abdulla Al Ghurair and Saif Al Ghurair Groups and was Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry from 1977 to 1980.
He was a member of the Dubai Municipality Council and the Executive Council of the emirate of Dubai. He also ranked the sixth in the UAE and the 1284th globally in Forbes “the world's billionaires list 2018”, which included seven Emirati businessmen.
During his term as the Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the emirate witnessed a remarkable growth and development regionally and globally. He has transferred his experience and expertise as one of the largest businessmen in the emirate of Dubai to the Dubai Chambers, contributing effectively to the status it reached as one of the most important chambers of commerce and industry in the world.
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