Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem

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This is an Arabic name; the family name is Bin Sulayem.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at Retail City 2007.jpg
Sulayem cutting the ribbon at the opening of Retail City 2007
Born Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem
Residence Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Alma mater Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation Former Chairman of Dubai World. Chairman of DP World. Director at Seven Tides.
Years active 1985–present

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (born 1955 in the Dubai UAE) was the chairman of Dubai World until December 12, 2010. Bin Sulayem is currently involved in Seven Tides International, a diversified Real Estate Investment and Development Company in Dubai UAE. On 30 May 2007 Bin Sulayem became the Chairman of DP World.

Family background[edit]

The Sulayem family has been one Dubai's most prominent business and political families since at least the early 20th century. Ahmed bin Sulayem's father was a key advisor to Dubai's ruling Maktoum family.[1]

Business career[edit]

Bin Sulayem's first job after graduating from college in the late 1970s was as a customs inspector at Dubai's then sleepy port. He told Fortune Magazine in 2008 that his future career was set when a man mistakenly came into his office one day and in the course of chatting suggested that Dubai could serve as an entrepot for the tea trade if it created a tax-free zone at the port. That chance meeting encouraged him to travel the world studying tax-free trading zones. When he returned home he approached Dubai's future ruler and family friend Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with a proposal to build a free trade zone at the port. "If you really believe in it, you go run it." Bin Sulayem said Sheikh Mohammed told him. "I was 30."[2]

That conversation led to Bin Sulayem serving as the first chairman of the Dubai government's tax-free Jebel Ali Free Zone [3] when it was founded in 1985.

Since the 1980s, Bin Sulayem has been one of the most prominent businessmen in Dubai, with a string of government-linked ventures. In addition to chairing Dubai World he helped found Nakheel, one of the UAE's largest property developers and Istithmar, a major investment holding company in Dubai. Both companies are Dubai World subsidiaries.

He also served on the board of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, until November, 2009, when Bin Sulayem was removed from that post in the wake of the debt crisis that struck Dubai that year.[4] In late 2009 and early 2010, Dubai was struggling to pay $80 billion in debt, most of it linked to Dubai World and its subsidiaries.

The Wall Street Journal's influential Heard on the Street column said in October 2009 that Dubai World "has just been radically restructured after running up almost $60 billion of liabilities on ill-judged acquisitions like struggling Madison Avenue retailer Barneys and the Queen Elizabeth II liner, which has since largely languished in a Dubai dry dock" and that "surprisingly, senior management remains in place, including Sultan bin Sulayem, the chairman who masterminded the expansion.""[1] Sulayem was finally removed from his post in December, 2010 and was replaced by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a member of the royal family.[5]

Education and awards[edit]

He received a B.S. in economics from Temple University of Philadelphia, the United States.[6]

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University in Dubai[7]


  1. ^ a b Dubai Inc. is in need of change at the top, WSJ, Andrew Critchlow, October 21, 2009
  2. ^ Searching for the next Dubai, Fortune Magazine hosted at, February 22, 2008
  3. ^ LLC, New York Media (21 September 1987). "New York Magazine". New York Media, LLC. Retrieved 28 July 2016 – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ Dubai holding up to scrutiny, The National, Dubai, December 20, 2009
  5. ^ [1] New Chairman for Dubai World, The National, Dec. 13 2010
  6. ^ Dubai World corporate bio on Sulayem
  7. ^ "Middlesex University Dubai awards its first honorary doctorate to His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem" (PDF) (Press release).