Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Orascom Development chairman steps into executive role following chief's death

Samih Sawiris will be assisted by an interim committee which will begin the search for a new leader

The Lustica Bay project in Montenegro, which was developed by Egypt's Orascom Development. The company develops resorts and operates 33 hotels in seven countries. Courtesy of Lustica Bay
The Lustica Bay project in Montenegro, which was developed by Egypt's Orascom Development. The company develops resorts and operates 33 hotels in seven countries. Courtesy of Lustica Bay

Orascom Development Holding's chairman, Samih Sawiris, will become executive chairman following the death of the company chief executive Khaled Bichara in a car accident in Cairo on Friday.

Mr Sawiris will be assisted by an interim committee whose role will involve supervising and supporting the company's executive management as well as leading the appointment and on-boarding of a new chief executive, Cairo-based Orascom Development said.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss," said Mr Sawiris in a statement to the Swiss stock exchange, where the company's shares trade. "Khaled was an innovative leader who, above all, lived the company's core values with a true passion for our people and an exceptional commitment to the group, while consistently delivering strong results. His energy, drive and leadership will be sorely missed."

He added that "the momentum created by Khaled will not be lost", and the company has a solid strategy in place which it will continue to execute.

The interim committee includes board members Naguib Sawiris and Jurgen Fischer, as well as chief financial officer Ashraf Nessim and the company's chief development officer of hotels, Abdelhamid Abouyoussef.

"I am confident that with this new interim structure supported by the strong board of directors and executive management team, the company will remain on the same track," said Samih Sawiris.

Orascom Development is a developer and operator of resorts, hotels and residential communities. It operates 33 hotels in seven countries, including The Cove resort in Ras Al Khaimah and the Jebel Sifah resort in Oman. In the nine months to September, the company reported a 43 per cent increase in revenue to Dh1.23 billion, which helped it curtail losses by 73 per cent.

Bichara had been chief executive of Orascom Development since 2016. Prior to this he had been chief executive of Orascom Telecom and chief operating officer of Veon in Netherlands following its takeover of Italy's Wind Telecom. He had co-founded one of Egypt's first major internet service providers, Linkdotnet, which was eventually sold to Orange Egypt, and was co-founder of Accelero Capital, which made investments in the telecoms, media and technology sector.

Updated: February 4, 2020 05:17 PM

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