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Top Majid Al Futtaim executive is quitting — again

Peter Walichnowski, who led the development of Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, is stepping down from his post for the second time in seven years.

Peter Walichnowski, who led the development of Dubai's Mall of the Emirates, is stepping down from his post at Majid Al Futtaim for the second time in seven years.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties has started a global headhunter search to find a replacement for him. Mr Walichnowski plans to step down as chief executive in March.

The Australian property high-flyer has led the development of two of the most successful shopping and leisure destinations in the world, Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, the world's secondlargest shopping centre, and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, southern England.

He told The National that he had given his notice in September and planned to quit the Arabian Gulf, possibly to take up a new post in the United States.

The move will come as a blow to MAF, which is currently putting the finishing touches on its 160,800 square metre The Mall of Egypt shopping centre in Cairo and its delayed 60,000 sq metre Beirut City Centre mall in Lebanon.

Mr Walichnowski, a well-known figure on the global property scene, first joined MAF in 2002 as the chief executive of MAF Investments.

He left MAF three years later to set up his own company, Skylan Properties, that operated in north Asia.

He returned to Dubai in 2008 as chief executive of Omniyat Properties before taking over as chief executive of MAF Properties in June 2009 after Omniyat shed a third of its staff in a company shake-up.

"I've worked in Australia, I've worked in Europe, I've worked in Asia and the Middle East," said Mr Walichnowski. "I'm now at the time of life where I want to try somewhere different."

Mr Walichnowski was one of the key speakers yesterday at the three-day Recon shopping centre conference in Dubai.

The conference ends today.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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