Dubai Duty Free’s Colm McLoughlin was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at the annual CEO Middle East Awards, which were held at the Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah, last night in Dubai.
The mainstay of Dubai Duty Free since 1983, McLoughlin was part of a team from his native Ireland asked to set up the operation by the Dubai government.
During his 34 years in charge, he has built one of the world’s largest airport retail operations in the world in terms of turnover. By the year 2020 expects business in excess of $3 billion a year, with 10,000 staff.
McLoughlin also grew the company’s Leisure division, overseeing the Aviation Club, the Irish Village, Century Village, the Dubai Tennis Stadium and the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.
Speaking at the awards, McLoughlin said, “I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled by hearing the names of the [lifetime CEO award winning] people that went before me. I feel honoured to be following them this evening.
“The company that I’m involved in has done well and we’re very proud of it but mostly I’m proud of the freedom that we have been given to make things happen by the government of Dubai and my own chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed, and by my team of staff at Dubai Duty Free, of whose number now stands at 5,900. I want to dedicate this lifetime achievement award to those people and, of course, my beautiful wife Breda.”
CEO Middle East Award winners
Family business CEO of the Year – Anees Ahmed Moumina, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group
Young CEO of the Year – Talal Al Gaddah, CEO MAG Property Development
Bank CEO of the Year – Hisham Ahmed Al Rayes, CEO GFH Financial Group
Industry CEO of the Year – Flemming Dalgaarrd, CEO Gulftainer
Healthcare CEO of the Year – Dr. Michael Fakih, CEO Fakih IVF
Start Up CEO of the Year – Ahmad Ashkar, founder and CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation
Hospitality CEO of the Year – Omer Kaddouri, Rotana CEO and president
Energy CEO of the Year – Ahmad bin Shafar, Empower CEO
Innovation CEO of the Year – Dietmar Siersdorf, CEO, Siemens Middle East
Property CEO of the Year – Hussain Sajwani, Chairman and CEO Damac Properties
Retail CEO of the Year – Nilesh Ved, CEO Apparel Group
Female CEO of the Year – Rafiah Ibrahim, President, Middle East and Africa, Ericsson Group
Visionary CEO of the Year – Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO Souq.com
Philanthropy CEO of the year – Kabir Mulchandani, Five Holdings
Lifetime Achievement Award – Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free