Dubai’s Shuaa names Colin Macdonald as new CEO

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By Mirna Sleiman / Reuters

DUBAI: Shuaa Capital, the struggling Dubai-based investment bank, on Tuesday named a former ABN Amro banker as its new chief executive, replacing Michael Philipp who stepped down after just six months in the job.

Shuaa said Colin MacDonald, who was previously ABN’s group managing director and regional head for the Middle East, will over a bank struggling to find its feet after the global financial downturn hit its core business.

MacDonald left the Dutch lender in 2010 and has been working as an independent financial advisor since then.

Shuaa also said in a statement that Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Al-Maktoum, a member of the ruling royal family, will assume the position of executive chairman with immediate effect.

Sources had told Reuters earlier that Philipp, a former Credit Suisse banker who was named CEO in October, had resigned.

Phillip’s departure comes as the latest blow to Shuaa, whose stock price has fallen by more than 90 percent since 2008.

One of the Arab world’s largest investment banks and once a symbol of the sector’s potential in the region, Shuaa was hit by the 2008 global financial downturn, with asset impairments erasing profits.

The company reported a wider 2011 net loss of 293.8 million dirhams ($80 million) for 2011, compared with a net loss of 223.7 million dirhams a year earlier as it booked provisions and one-off charges.

The Dubai-listed company shares closed down 2.8 percent on Tuesday. The stock is up 43.6 percent since the beginning of 2012 after hitting bottom and losing more than 56 percent of its value in 2011.

Shuaa, which helped float ports operator DP World several years ago, fired close to 60 employees by the end of December, and is in the process of cutting more jobs.

The majority of the redundancies related to the retail brokerage business, which Shuaa exited after slumping trade volumes in the United Arab Emirates.

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