x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Former Union Properties chief executive joins Majid Al Futtaim

Simon Azzam, a former chief executive of Union Properties, is to join Majid Al Futtaim.

Majid Al Futtaim is set to welcome Simon Azzam, a former chief executive of Union Properties, as chief executive of its Communities business unit.

This puts Mr Azzam in charge of expanding MAF’s residential projects division, which is currently working on three projects. A spokesman said that the company wanted to expand beyond malls and hotels, which account for the majority of MAF’s real estate business, and sees scope for growth in residential property.

Mr Azzam resigned from Union Properties soon after the global financial crisis. In 2009, the company posted losses of Dh227 million.

After his resignation, Mr Azzam opened a consultancy before becoming chief executive of Bloom, the property division of National Holding, a private investment company based in Abu Dhabi.

“His knowledge of the local market, attention to local consumer trends and desires coupled with his leadership skills will greatly enhance our existing team,” George Kostas, the chief executive of MAF Properties, said. Mr Azzam was not available for comment.

Union Properties’ health worsened after Mr Azzam’s departure: it recorded a Dh1.56 billion loss in 2011 and it did not return to profitability until 2012.

The company was forced to sell a number of its flagship projects, including its Ritz-Carlton development in Dubai in 2010, and stakes in its Limestone House and Index Tower projects, after the global financial crisis made it harder for the company to attract finance.

abouyamourn@thenational.ae