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.


 
 

ABDULKADER BIBI
Chief Marketing Officer

Abdulkader (Abed) Bibi is Chief Marketing Officer at Meraas. In this role, he is mandated to lead innovative and impactful marketing campaigns across the broad spectrum of contemporary marketing channels. In addition to strategically building the Meraas brand, he is responsible for strengthening awareness for the diverse destinations and assets shaped by Meraas and its divisions to help drive sales, forge strong partnerships and increase fundraising revenue.

Abed holds more than 30 years of marketing experience in the Levant and Gulf region. His expertise lies in corporate branding and integrated marketing communications. He is also known for his capability to leverage entrepreneurial thinking in a corporate environment, and for his top-tier network across all relevant stakeholder groups.

Abed is also a Partner at HoneyBee Tech Ventures, an incubation platform focused on building B2C services for the Middle East region. In this role, he co-founded YouGotAGift.com, the first-of-its-kind online mall for gift cards in the region.

Prior to joining Meraas, Abed had also held senior positions at leading organizations such as Wolff Olins, Majid Al Futtaim, Turquoise Branding, Al Khaleejiah Media and Arab Media Company.

He started his executive-level career in 1996 at MBC Group as General Manager of the commercial company ARA Media Services. Earlier, Abed co-founded Future TV, a Lebanese owned and operated TV channel.

Abed Bibi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Computer with a minor in finance and accounting from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon.


 
 

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.


 
 

CRISTIAN GHEORGHE
Chief Financial and Investment Officer

Cristian Gheorghe is the Chief Financial and Investment Officer at Meraas. In his role, Cristian is responsible for all corporate investment and financing decisions of the Group.

Bringing with him over 15 years of banking experience working globally, Cristian joined the Meraas team in May 2016. He has a broad area of expertise including private equity investments in the tech sector and hospitality, M&A, corporate finance, as well as providing strategic advice to large conglomerates.

Throughout his career, Cristian has worked for numerous leading global organizations such as The World Economic Forum in Geneva, Inmet Mining in Toronto and Procter & Gamble across EMEA. Prior to joining Meraas, Cristian served as Investment Strategist at Citi Private Bank in Geneva where he led the buy side advisory to a high profile, multi-billion dollar franchise relationship of the bank in Saudi Arabia.

In his free time, Cristian mentors Finance Masters teams participating in the CFA annual Global Equity Research Competition.

Along with a CFA designation, Cristian holds an MBA degree from Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.


 
 

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.


 
 

NADA AL TERKAWI
Chief Operating Officer

Nada Al Terkawi is the Chief Operating Officer at Meraas. As a core member of the management team, she is mandated with overseeing CRM, Human Resources, Administration, Procurement, Information Technology and Event Management. She also contributes to the formation of new subsidiaries, Governance Frameworks, Business Strategies and Goals, Workforce Architecture and is an active member in various internal group level committees.

In addition to her current role, Nada drives the strategy and oversee the operations of Duvent, the event management company under Meraas.

With more than 20 years of diversified experience in various organisations, Nada specializes in manpower management, workforce architecture, employee engagement and brand management.

Prior to joining Meraas, Nada has served multinationals and local organizations. Nada Al Terkawi holds a BBA in Financial Management from South Eastern University, US.


 
 

NARAYANAN RAJAGOPALAN
Chief Real Estate Officer

Narayanan Rajagopalan is the Chief Real Estate Officer at Meraas. In his role Narayanan is responsible for the strategic, conceptual and commercial success of the Meraas real estate portfolio. He has over 26 years’ experience in the areas of financial management, business planning, operations and governance working with multinational and regional organisations such as Unilever, Inchcape, Dubai Holding and Abraaj.

Prior to joining Meraas in 2017, Narayanan was Partner and Chief Financial Officer at The Abraaj Group where he spent 11 years in both operational and corporate roles.

While with Dubai Holding between 2001 and 2005, Narayanan served as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Dubai Properties and as Manager of Corporate Finance at TECOM. In these roles, he was responsible primarily for project planning, feasibility reviews, project financing and establishing budgetary and reporting processes.

Narayanan started his professional career in 1990 at Unilever India. He graduated in Commerce from Calcutta University and is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.


 
 

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 – Operations

Paul Gyles is Chief Financial Officer – Operations at Meraas, a Dubai-based holding company. In this role, he oversees the company’s financial reporting 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 Gyles holds 27 years of experience in financial management. His areas of expertise include operational financial management, performance improvement, working capital management, system developments, and financial management of start up’s and fast growth organizations.

Paul has worked in the Middle East since 2003. Prior to joining Meraas, Paul was Chief Financial Officer and Board Director 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 the Finance and Supply Chain Director.

Paul is a Steering Committee Member on the Middle East CFO Alliance (MECA), the largest organization responsible for networking and development of senior finance professionals in the region. He is also on the Technical Advisory Panel of CFO Middle East magazine.

Paul has been a fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants since 1996. He holds a Business and Technology Education Council National Diploma in Business and Finance from Barry College of Further Education, UK.


 
 

PIETRO FERRARO
Chief Healthcare Officer

Pietro Ferraro is the Chief Healthcare Officer of Meraas. He is responsible for Meraas’ rapidly growing investments and operations in the provision of modern healthcare services and technologies that serve the people of Dubai and its vision of a medical tourism destination.

Prior to joining Meraas, Pietro was Executive Director at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he led creative collaborations between education, research and clinical departments with a diverse range of international healthcare providers around the world.

Pietro also brings over 10 years’ experience as a strategy and management consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he specialised in working with public and private sector clients across the healthcare industry, including service providers, regulators, and investors in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Pietro holds a Master in Business Administration from INSEAD Business School in France, and a Master’s Degree in Management Engineering from the University of Padova in Italy.


 
 

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.