x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Starting on January 1, Essa Kazim will replace Abdullah Saleh as the governor of the emirate’s financial free zone.

Essa Kazim has been appointed as the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Paulo Vecina/The National
Essa Kazim has been appointed as the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Paulo Vecina/The National

Essa Kazim, the chief executive of the Dubai Financial Market, was yesterday appointed as the governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Starting on January 1, he will replace Abdullah Saleh as the governor of the emirate’s financial free zone.

“This step falls within Dubai’s keenness to continue to bring fresh blood into Dubai’s system by making way for more exceptional and visionary national competencies that have proved their professional worth,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAEand Ruler of Dubai, was quoted as saying by the state news agency Wam.

Mr Kazim is also the chief executive of Borse Dubai, the holding company for the DFM and Nasdaq Dubai. The DFM General Index rose 0.5 per cent yesterday to close at 2,681.47 points.

The DIFC is the largest offshore financial district in the Arabian Gulf and home to the regional offices of banks such as Goldman Sachs Group, Citigroup and Standard Chartered.

Dubai set up DIFC in 2004 with its own regulations and an international stock market to attract foreign banks, asset managers and insurers to help to diversify the economy.

Mr Kazim obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, economics and computer science from Coe College in the United States. He then pursued a master’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa.

He began his career in 1988 as a senior analyst at the Central Bank’s research and statistics department. In 1993, he joined Dubai’s Department of Economic Development until the Government decided to launch the DFM in 2000.

In his tenure as bourse chief, Mr Kazim has supervised the consolidation of Dubai’s two exchanges and the outsourcing of Nasdaq Dubai’s trading, clearing and settling activities to DFM after the latter acquired the former through a cash and share payment.

Mr Saleh was appointed as governor of the DIFC in July 2011 after serving almost four years as chairman at the DIFC’s regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Before that, he was chairman of National Bank of Dubai until the lender merged with Emirates Bank International to create Emirates NBD.

Following Mr Kazim’s appointment as the DIFC governor, Mr Saleh will retain a position as board member at the financial free zone, the statement said.

halsayegh@thenational.ae

* with Bloomberg