Our Leadership

H.E. ABDULLA AHMED AL HABBAI
Group Chairman

Abdulla Al Habbai is the Group Chairman of Meraas. Under his visionary leadership, Meraas has established itself as a key innovator by introducing new businesses that redefine the sectors in which they operate and in creating integrated master-planned communities in the UAE that are held as global benchmarks for quality.

He is also the Chairman of Dubai Holding and the Chief Executive Officer of the Engineering Office – The Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, a post he has held since 2004.

Abdulla Al Habbai has more than 25 years of experience in the property and real estate sector. He was also mandated by Dubai Municipality, where he spent 18 years of his career, to oversee and translate the Emirate’s vision for Urban Planning.

In addition to his capacities at Meraas, Dubai Holding and the Engineering Office– The Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Al Habbai is also the Chairman of Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubai Hills and Valiant Healthcare. He additionally serves as the Deputy Chairman of Rove Hospitality.

Al Habbai is a board member of several leading private and government entities in Dubai, including:

1. Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC);
2. Museum of the Future;

Abdulla Al Habbai is also the CEO of Shamal.


 
 

CHERIF HOSNY
Chief Hospitality Officer

Cherif Hosny is the Chief Hospitality Officer at Meraas. A core member of the management team, Cherif oversees the expansion of the company’s portfolio in the hospitality sector. As part of this mandate, he is also responsible for identifying growth opportunities and partners and the development of new projects.

A veteran of the leisure and hospitality industry with more than 30 years of experience, Cherif specializes in hotel management, property portfolio expansion and business development. His expertise includes hotel startups, property renovations, contract negotiations and due diligence.

Prior to joining Meraas, Cherif was Senior Vice President – Development at the Jumeirah Group where he was responsible in the expansion of the group’s portfolio in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia regions.

Cherif joined the group in 2005 as General Manager for Operations primarily in charge of new hotel openings. During his tenure, he was instrumental in negotiating operating and management contracts and securing agreement deals for more than 50 properties in the, GCC, wider Middle East, South Asia, CIS and African regions.

Earlier, Cherif has held senior executive roles with Le Meridien and Movenpick in Middle East, Africa, Europe and United Kingdom.

Cherif Hosny holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the Cairo University.


 
 

EDRIS ALRAFI
Chief Commercial Officer

Edris Alrafi is the Chief Commercial Officer at Meraas. In this role, Edris is responsible for identifying new opportunities and setting strategies for Meraas’ rapidly expanding portfolio across its multifaceted business units. He also oversees Meraas’ joint ventures, operations in China, Funding and Investment.

In addition, Edris also holds the position of Chief Leisure and Entertainment Officer at Meraas. In this role, Edris is responsible for Meraas’ rapidly expanding leisure and entertainment portfolio. He is also mandated to oversee the development and implementation of the company’s leisure and entertainment offerings from initial concept and business development to final operation and follow through.

Edris brings to his role more than 13 years of experience in finance, investment banking and private equity. He is a board member in Emaar Industrial Investment and also served as Head of Middle East Business at the private equity firm Developing Markets Capital (DMC) Partners. In this capacity, he was responsible for identifying private equity investment opportunities.

Previously, Edris served as Head of UAE client coverage at Goldman Sachs in the UAE. Edris Alrafi also holds a Finance degree from Higher College of Technology in UAE.


 
 

EDWARD SUNNA
Chief Legal Officer

Edward Sunna is the Chief Legal Officer at Meraas. Edward was responsible for the set-up of the complete legal function of the Meraas Group and leads the Meraas Legal Department in supporting the strategic business goals of the wider group.
Edward has in excess of 20 years experience in legal matters related to construction, engineering, utilities, infrastructure, real estate development, corporate, commercial, capital markets, banking and finance, international trade and arbitration.

Prior to joining Meraas, Edward led Al Tamimi & Company’s construction practice in Dubai and acted for various UAE government bodies, foreign institutions and publicly listed corporations both locally and internationally.

His international trade and disputes work is recognised internationally. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; he is on the panel of some of the leading arbitration centres including the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the LCIA-DIFC Arbitration Centre, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

Edward is a former part-time member of staff at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai Campus; he is an advisor with the Dubai Real Estate Institute and the author of numerous real estate publications.

Edward Sunna holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Industrial Relations from the University of New South Wales in Australia. He also has a Bachelor of Law with Honours from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and is admitted as a barrister of the High Court of Australia and also admitted as a legal practitioner of the DIFC Courts in Dubai.


 
 

ISLAM HAMDALLA
Chief Audit Officer

Islam Hamdalla is Chief Audit Officer at Meraas. In this position, he is responsible to oversee and verify the adequacy, effectiveness and accuracy of the internal control system and compliance through improving controllership, risk management, accountability and governance while leading Meraas’ internal independent appraisal function. He is also in charge of the Risk Management & Governance framework member of the Group.

With more than 20 years of industry experience, over a decade of which was spent in one of the Big Four public accounting firms, Islam has a solid technical knowledge of financial, operational, IT and compliance processes and audits.

Prior to joining Meraas, Islam was Senior Manager within Ernst & Young’s Business Risk Services Practice in New York.

In an earlier capacity, Islam served at Ernst & Young in Dubai and later Jordan, where he successfully established and managed profitable Business Risk and Technology & Security Risk service divisions. He has also worked with Arthur Anderson in Kuwait and Dubai and is credited with expanding the firm’s risk service practice within the UAE, Lower Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.

Islam Hamdalla majored magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a minor in Computer Science from the American University of Cairo. A Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), a Certified Information System Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information System Manager (CISM), he is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.


 
 

NABIL MUKHTAR
Chief Community Management Officer

Nabil Mukhtar is the Chief Community Management Officer at Meraas. As part of his role, Nabil is responsible for setting up new business lines for the management of developments and projects in addition to community management, owner’s association management, service charge collections, residential property management and asset leasing, infrastructure and facility management among other functions.


 
 

OMAR DELAWAR
Chief Projects Officer

Omar Delawar is Chief Projects Officer at Meraas, responsible for managing the delivery of the company’s projects through overseeing the design, procurement and construction activites.

Prior to joining Meraas Holding in 2008, Omar was Executive Director of Engineering at the Engineer’s Office for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Omar brings to his role a significant wealth of knowledge in project management, design management, contracts administration, procurement and value engineering.

He has worked with leading contractors and consultants in the region to realize major projects in the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and the United Kingdom.

Omar Delawar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the Faculty of Engineering, Alexandria University, Egypt. He also holds a Diploma in Construction Management from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt.


 
 

PAUL GYLES
Chief Financial Officer

Paul Gyles is Chief Financial Officer at Meraas. In this role, he oversees the company’s financial management and accounting operations.

A key member of the management team, Paul works closely with the C-suite team of the organization providing operational financial guidance and support, ensuring his team is integrated in supporting the group’s strategic vision.

Paul holds 28 years of experience in financial management. His areas of expertise include operational financial management, performance improvement, working capital management, and financial management of start up’s and fast growth organizations.

Paul has worked in the Middle East since 2003. Prior to joining Meraas, he was Chief Financial Officer for ISG Middle East. In his previous executive roles, he has worked with Tatweer, a division of Dubai Holding, as Group Finance Director, and with Johnson & Johnson Middle East as Finance Director.

Paul is a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and holds a BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance. He is a Steering Committee Member on the Middle East CFO Alliance (MECA), and was awarded the 2016 CFO of the Year for the Real Estate and Construction sector.


 
 

RASHID AL SHARIF
Chief Sales Officer

Rashid Al Sharif is the Chief Sales Officer in Meraas and the General Legal Advisor to the Engineer’s Office (EO). He has key roles in both business entities; and has recently led the Sales Department to double the revenue and profitability margin; allowing him to bring added value to Meraas and a member of the Operations Committee.

Rashid has 22 years of experience ranging from Legal, Human Resources and Sales responsibilities. Over the course of his career, he has also managed the Advisory, Corporate Governance department along with overseeing the Legal department in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for 3 years.

Additionally,he has served 12 years in the service of Dubai Police on an operational and managerial scale. He dedicated his time for two years as a lecturer in Dubai Real Estate Institute.

Rashid Al Sharif holds a Bachelor degree in Law and a Higher Diploma in Police Studies from Dubai Police Academy, as well as a number of Certificates from Dubai Government Office and an initial MBA from Sunderland University (UK).


 
 

SALLY YACOUB
Chief Malls Officer

Sally Yacoub is the Chief Malls Officer at Meraas. In her role, she is responsible for the leadership, management, and direction of the retail portfolio as well as managing local, regional and international retailers. Sally has more than 24 years of experience in the retail industry in the region, having managed malls as well as retail venues from start to finish.

Prior to joining Meraas in early 2017, Sally held senior positions at leading malls such as; Emaar Malls Group where she was Senior Director and Head of Leasing for 12 years working on the set up of numerous retail projects during design phase up to completion and beyond opening. Sally also worked at Sahara Centre in Sharjah where she was Head of Leasing for two years, Bahrain Mall in Manama where she was the General Manager for two years and worked on the set up, leasing, marketing and operations of Qatar’s first shopping mall (The Mall) where she was Senior Manager for almost 4 years.
Before moving to the Gulf region, Sally worked for the Hudson Bay company in Montreal as well as Le FouBourg Hotel in Down Town Montreal.
Sally studied Public Relations Management at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and is a member of The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC) where she obtained certificates in leasing and marketing.