x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Nasser al Shaikh resigns three more board posts

The Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the country's largest Islamic lender, said had submitted his resignation.

Nasser al Shaikh, who last month was removed as Dubai's finance director, yesterday stepped down from three more government-controlled companies' boards following his departure from Deyaar on Sunday. The Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the country's largest Islamic lender, said Mr al Shaikh had submitted his resignation from its board of directors. He also stepped down as vice chairman of National Bonds and as chairman of Taaleem, the education provider, according to an aide. He remains chairman of Amlak, the country's largest Islamic lender by assets. The DIB declined to give a reason for his departure and Mr al Shaikh could not be reached for comment. On Sunday, he also resigned as chairman of Deyaar, Dubai's second-largest property developer. For eight months as head of the finance department, Mr al Shaikh was considered the public face of Dubai's financial world and the driving force behind the emirate's plans to tackle the global financial crisis. He is widely credited for playing a crucial rule in easing investor fears about Dubai's US$80 billion (Dh293.84bn) debt burden. The reasons for Mr al Shaikh's removal from his role as Dubai's chief financial architect and his resignation from the four board positions has not been explained. Some observers believe his unusually frank communication with the media and financial stakeholders may have alienated other senior members of the Dubai leadership. Analysts said that, although investors might want to know the reasons behind Mr al Shaikh's resignations, of greater importance was the funding challenges facing Dubai and how the emirate deals with them. Ali Khan, the managing director at Arqaam Capital, said investors were historically more concerned about transparency than personalities at a time of financial stress. "Investors are more focused on the bigger picture, including economic stimulus programmes, banks' health and the fate of property, rather than designations." There have been other high-profile corporate departures in Dubai recently, including Simon Azzam, the former chief executive of the developer Union Properties. "We are going through significant changes and we will see significant responses," Mr Khan said. "It should not be surprising that we see changes at management levels as well." In February, Mr al Shaikh announced the launch of the $20bn government bond programme designed to help Dubai's government-owned companies, notably its large developers, pay their creditors. In one of his last public appearances he announced a support fund as a separate legal entity that would oversee distribution of the bond money, including a second tranche of $10bn. After his dismissal Mr al Shaikh was assigned to the position of assistant director of external affairs at the diwan of the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who is also the Vice President of the UAE. But it is unclear whether Mr al Shaikh has started in his new role. The DIB is 30 per cent-owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai. The bank owns 41 per cent of Deyaar. Dubai Islamic Bank shares closed 1.15 per cent higher yesterday. uharnischfeger@thenational.ae bhope@thenational.ae