ABU DHABI/DUBAI, Dec 4 – Abu Dhabi has revamped the boards of two key state-owned entities, Abu Dhabi Airports and the Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC), which are handling some of the emirate’s biggest development projects.
Company sources gave no reason for the changes, which occurred last month and replaced Ali Majed al-Mansouri, who had served as Abu Dhabi Airports chairman since 2012 and TDIC chairman since 2014.
Like other governments in the Gulf Arab region, Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation, tends to shield its inner workings from the public eye and out of the media. Decisions such as personnel changes are often announced late, if at all.
Awaidha Murshed al-Marar was appointed the new chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, and some board members have also been replaced, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.
Marar is already chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipal Affairs and chairman of Etihad Rail.
Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak is the new chairman of TDIC, a company source confirmed. Mubarak’s existing roles include chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and the chief executive of Aldar Properties.
There was no formal announcement of the new appointments by the firms. However, websites of both entities showed the changes on Sunday.
“The new chairmen already hold the top positions in related entities in the transport and tourism sectors respectively, so it makes sense to bring (Abu Dhabi Airports) and TDIC under them,” a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Abu Dhabi, home to the capital of the UAE, is investing billions in tourism, infrastructure and industry to diversify its economy away from oil. But some projects have been hit by delays.
A 10.8 billion dirham ($2.9 billion) expansion of the emirate’s main airport Abu Dhabi International, which Mansouri oversaw as chairman, has been delayed by around five months until December 2017.
The opening of the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is being developed by TDIC, is also delayed to 2017 due to pending construction work, sources told Reuters last month. It was originally scheduled to open in 2012 but that target was pushed back to the second half of 2016.