The rise of Nakheel
Nakheel’s Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, has declared the company debt-free, telling reporters at a press conference: "We are closing the restructuring file. We are a debt-free company as of yesterday."
Coming just seven years after the developer was forced into a massive debt restructuring as a result of the property market crash in Dubai, Lootah has been dubbed Nakheel’s ‘turnaround man’.
Over the last six years, Lootah has overseen the launch of 70 new projects – ranging from neighbourhood retail centres to entire new communities – some of which are completed and operational while others are in various stages of development
Here are three of Nakheel's key projects of 2016.
1. Waterpark and resort at Deira Islands
Nakheel has joined up with Spanish hospitality giant, RIU Hotels & Resorts (RIU), to create a AED900 million, 800-room joint venture resort and waterpark at Dubai’s Deira Islands.
Dar Al Handasah has been appointed to oversee design, engineering and construction supervision of the resort, which will be RIU’s first property in the GCC.
Set on a 3.4 million square foot plot at Deira Islands, the resort will be one of the biggest in Dubai in terms of rooms and the waterpark will occupy 10 percent of the overall area.
2. Nakheel Mall
Work is continuing on Nakheel Mall, the AED1.2 billion retail and entertainment destination at the heart of Palm Jumeirah. When complete, Nakheel Mall will have five retail levels with 350 shops, restaurants and leisure attractions spread across 1.2 million sq ft of leasable space. There will also be a rooftop restaurant offering panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah, Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline.
3. The Palm Gateway
The Palm Gateway on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is one of Nakheel’s current residential leasing projects – a three-tower residential, retail and beach club complex at the foot of its flagship master development, Palm Jumeirah.
The Palm Gateway includes 1,265 luxury homes across three high-rise buildings – the tallest topping 285 metres – to be constructed on top of the existing Palm Monorail terminal, which includes 14 levels of parking spaces.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.