x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Aldar loses chief executive in challenging market

John Bullough, the chief executive of Aldar Properties, has "submitted his early retirement", according to the company.

John Bullough, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s largest developer Aldar Properties, has left the company, say officials.

Mr Bullough could not be reached for comment but a spokesman for Aldar said he had “announced his long-planned retirement from the company” and the board would convene next Monday to appoint a new chief executive.

The move comes as Aldar faces a challenging property market and days before the scheduled public opening of the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park on Yas Island, with which it remains the partner of choice.

Mr Bullough was appointed to his position in October 2008 to replace Ronald Barrott. Mr Bullough was previously the chief operating officer.
He is also a former retail director with the Grosvenor group in London and had extensive experience in the UK property market before coming to the UAE.

The Abu Dhabi property market has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and regional property downturn but prices and rental rates have held up better than in some areas. Under Mr Bullough’s tenure, the company has been forced to deal with an abrupt end to the off-plan sales market and redesign some of its projects to cater to middle-income buyers.

The company has partially supported itself by diversifying its work to include project management on developments such as the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and the Cleveland Clinic on Sowwah Island.

It has also won contracts from the Government to build public housing.

But analysts say the company is likely to need some form of support or restructuring within six months to be able to finish its projects.

bhope@thenational.ae