x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Former chief suing Nakheel alleges he is owed $3.7m

Former Nakheel chief executive Chris O'Donnell is asking for more than $3.7 million from the developer.

A former chief executive of Nakheel is suing the palm islands developer for US$3.7 million (Dh13.5m) in what he claims are contractual incentive payments owed to him.

New details emerged yesterday on Chris O'Donnell's lawsuit against the developer behind many of Dubai's iconic developments.

Mr O'Donnell, who left the company last month, is asking for payments totalling more than $3.7m, according to newly released documents. The bulk of the dispute is over $3m Mr O'Donnell claims is due under a long-term incentive provision in his contract.

The first payment under the provision was due on June 16 last year, a year before he officially left the company, Mr O'Donnell says in the suit.

He is also asking for what he says are contractual entitlements valued at Dh849,930, based on his annual salary of Dh3,790,800. Mr O'Donnell's lawyer, Jonathon Davidson, declined to comment on the filing.

Nakheel does not comment on legal matters, a spokesman for the developer said.

The filing with the Dubai World Tribunal, the court set up to handle disputes involving Dubai World and its subsidiaries, does not offer any details on Mr O'Donnell's conflict with his former employer, only the "remedy sought".

Mr O'Donnell, a native of Australia, served as chief executive of the company for five years, overseeing the delivery of the Palm Jumeirah and the man-made archipelago known as The World.

But his last three years were spent guiding the company through a restructuring as it struggled under the weight of $10.5 billion of debt.

Nakheel announced Mr O'Donnell's departure with a brief statement wishing him "all the best in his new endeavours".

He was replaced by the company's chief financial officer, Sanjay Manchanda, who is serving as acting chief executive.

Mr O'Donnell has not made a statement since leaving the company.

In addition to the basic claims, Mr O'Donnell is asking for interest on the unpaid incentive payment from June 16 of last year, calculated at 12 per cent and totalling $180,000, and losses from changes in the exchange rate between US and Australian dollars in the past year totalling $290,850.

He is also asking for a business-class airline ticket from Dubai to Australia.