The board changes at Dubai World have resolved some of the issues still surrounding the conglomerate, but leave other questions unanswered.
The injection of Dubai's top business talent into the boardroom has been welcomed by international creditors and financial markets. The four new appointees really are the cream of the emirate's commercial and political elite, and their appointments demonstrate again that the company's problems are being tackled at the highest possible level.
Their presence should reassure stakeholders that Dubai World's financial problems will never again be allowed to threaten the emirate's international reputation.
In particular, the appointment of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum as chairman is a crucial step. He is the best-known and most widely respected of all Dubai's businessmen among the international community. He runs Emirates Group, Dubai's most successful company, as well as chairing the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee (DFSC) charged with steering Dubai to full recovery.
The other appointments are equally reassuring. Mohammed al Shaibani and Ahmed Humaid al Tayer are also on the DFSC, as well as running other important parts of the emirate's business infrastructure (Investment Corporation of Dubai and Dubai International Financial Centre respectively) themselves.
There are also encouraging signs that Dubai World is opening up to fresher, more independent influence. Hamad Buamim, the director general of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will bring a new perspective. Saadi Abdul Rahman al Rais, well known in the shipping world, and Soon Young Chang, an adviser to Investment Corporation of Dubai, will view Dubai World in a more global context.
The appointment of a Korean at the heart of Dubai's corporate infrastructure speaks volumes about the eastward tilt of the emirate, away from the fading economic power hubs of Europe and the US.
The Old World may make something of a comeback, however, when the new executive management committee is appointed. This is the immediate issue the new group board has to resolve.
When Aidan Birkett quit his role as chief restructuring officer in October, the Government said it would put in place a permanent management structure. As he led the negotiations with creditors to restructure the US$24.9 billion (Dh91.45bn) of debts and liabilities and reshaped the business operationally, Mr Birkett was effectively managing director and chief financial officer combined.
Now those two jobs have to be filled, and you can imagine the global headhunting firms would have been working overtime to find the right individuals with the appropriate skill-set for these challenging positions. They have to be international executives with experience at the top of a high-profile corporation with intimate connections to the Government. Those kind of people are few and far between.
The other appointment that has to be made is that of creditors' representative on the management committee. The 90-odd banks that agreed to the $24.9bn restructuring want to have their own person at the heart of the action, to oversee the new repayment programme over the next eight years.
Essentially, having given Dubai the benefit of the doubt this year, they want to ensure they will someday get their money back. If that involves an asset disposal programme, then so be it. Dubai World has already told banks it can see some $19.4bn of potential value three years out.
Group finances are another area that the new board, when it appoints its management committee, will have to urgently address. The last public statement on aggregate Dubai World debts and liabilities was in summer last year, when the company told NASDAQ Dubai these amounted to $59bn. Of course, almost $25bn of that has been restructured, but that still leaves a hefty chunk, of which some is pressing - about $4.4bn of debts fall due in the next year.
It may be, as Standard Chartered (itself a major creditor) recently said, that Dubai can repay its debts through a combination of disposals and bond sales. But given what has happened at Dubai World, it would be more reassuring for international capital markets, as well as in keeping with the new spirit of transparency promised by the company, to spell out the total level of group debt as early as possible.
After group finances, there are two further areas that need some pretty urgent attention. First is Nakheel, where despite the property developer being part of the $24.9bn restructuring, problems linger on. Plans to demerge Nakheel from Dubai World are still awaited. Many contractors have still not resolved repayment disputes with the company, and an Islamic bond designed to be a tradeable asset to compensate for partial cash repayment has still not materialised.
The second is DP World. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem remains chairman of the listed ports business; in fact, ports are in his blood: they were his first business when he set up the Jebel Ali Free Zone in the 1980s, and he was the architect of the 2006 deal that bought the global business of P&O (excluding the US operations), arguably the emirate's biggest business coup yet.
There are plans to list the company on the London Stock Exchange next spring, and maybe sell down more of the 80 per cent stake held by Dubai World. Mr bin Sulayem's experience would be put to good use in that deal.