Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

Spending time trying to predict the future is an exercise in futility. Instead, history has shown us that the only way to predict the future is to shape it — to actively work towards it.

Two pieces of recent news reminded me of that. First, that Google is opening its first permanent retail store, which will sell its phones, wearables and other products; host workshops and provide repair and troubleshooting services; and, perhaps most importantly, allow customers to try before they buy.

Second, this compelling interview about the rise of…


Authors:
Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding
Ahmed Galal Ismail — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Properties
Hani Weiss — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Retail
Ignace Lahoud — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Leisure, Entertainment & Cinemas

For the last 20 years, prioritising Saudi Arabia has been a no-brainer for Majid Al Futtaim: The Middle East’s largest economy and the world’s top oil exporter has strong market fundamentals. Today, five years into the Vision 2030 economic transformation that could reshape the MENA region for decades to come, the Kingdom is even more compelling.

Transformation is unfolding…


Cultivating our hidden leaders

Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

There’s been much debate over the last year about the future of the workplace — will we work from home, from different geographies, how will we collaborate and so on. Less has been said about the future of the workforce.

I recently had the privilege of participating in a very thought-provoking panel discussion on this with some of the brightest minds in global business today. …


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

How do you disrupt a disruption? How do you turn something innovative into something even more so? The answer starts with thinking alloy.

All science students know stronger alloys are created by mixing metals — and knowing which specific ingredient to add can improve toughness, corrosion resistance, ductility and so on.

The same is true for business: Knowing your business and your market thoroughly allows you to add the right ingredient that will strengthen an innovation and increase its traction. …


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

If you’ve lived in the Middle East for any length of time, you’ve hopefully experienced the magic of a baqala.

These indispensable neighbourhood grocery stores were not only masters of logistics, squeezing arrays of goods into small spaces, they were almost prescient in anticipating customer demand. I’ve shared earlier about my experiences as a child at my local shop with shopkeepers who knew what I liked and needed, often before I knew myself. They were all about the personal.

Baqalas also perfected the art of super-fast and small-volume delivery. Many…


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

Why sustainability and hospitality go hand in hand

We travel for the new and the different — places, cuisines, cultures, people, perspectives and experiences. We travel because it changes us, and change begets change.

That’s one reason we at Majid Al Futtaim are invested in providing cleaner, greener and more sustainable travel options across our hotel portfolio. We want our guests to see how easy it is to make small and big changes that benefit the environment, and to know what it feels like. …


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

At the highest levels of global and regional activity, the onus is increasingly on business to engage with and address global issues.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on business to lead on climate change, pandemic recovery, sustainability and other global challenges. Policymakers for the European Central Bank said the ECB should consider climate risk and climate-related reporting requirements when conducting monetary policy, lending or buying corporate bonds.

All this points to a new remit for business leaders — to lead not only in their sectors and…


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

The World Economic Forum’s Davos meetings — including this year’s Davos Agenda virtual meeting — are very well timed. They are, in many ways, a strategic staging area where we ready for the marathon before us.

With complex global issues from pandemic recovery to climate change and resetting economic and social systems on our shared horizon — and on the WEF agenda — progress will require the perseverance, long-term outlook and grit that marathons mandate.

For those committed to building to a reset via better business and genuine private-public partnerships…


Author: Alain Bejjani — CEO, Majid Al Futtaim — Holding

I’ve talked a great deal this last week about the Majid Al Futtaim advanced analytics that detail the recovery of the UAE’s retail economy. But even as the top-line findings continue to make headlines, there is still much to be gleaned from the finer details.

Here are a few details that I found to be illuminating:

1. The difference between a soft W-shaped recovery and the V-shape that preceded it.

Although these are only one letter apart, there is obviously a world of difference between them. There’s also considerable difference between a shallow or soft shape and a deeper or full one. The drop in activity in September averaged 15%, for example; in a full…


Author: Ahmed Galal Ismail, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim — Properties

  • There is a unique opportunity for businesses to lead the way when it comes to sustainable investments.
  • But it needs the support of governments and regulators, and it will require hard dollars and soft power.
  • By seizing the opportunities and working together, the private sector can not only create a more sustainable future but can unlock significant long-term value, for business and for society.

In 2019, impact investing was a $715 billion global market. Looking beyond the pure financial heft of the market, the number accurately reflects the…

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