Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co., has been recognised as the individual who has made the biggest contribution to the retail industry in the Middle East over the past 30 years by the prestigious Arabian Business Magazine. Mr Alshaya received the award from Ali Akawi, CEO of ITP Media Group, at a gala event in Dubai to celebrate the magazine's 30th anniversary.
The award recognises Mr Alshaya's role in developing a modern retail culture in the Middle East. His vision has seen Alshaya grow from one retail franchise store in 1983 to becoming one of the world's leading retail franchise businesses, with 80 brands and more than 3,500 stores across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe.
The event honoured some of the Middle East's most high-profile business people for their contributions to a range of industries. Other award recipients included Colm McLoughlin, chief executive officer of Dubai Duty Free; Mohamed Alabbar, founder and chairman of Emaar; Yusuf Ali, chairman of Lulu Group; Sheikha Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance; Sunny Varkey, founder of GEMS Education; and Munib Masri, chairman of Edgo and PADICO.
"Mohammed Alshaya is a true game changer. Not only has he created a vast retail empire, but his impact on society has been phenomenal. His ability to spot the right trends in the right markets, at the right time – and execute his vision – is second to none," said Mr Akawi.
Receiving the award, Mr Alshaya said: "This award is a great honour for me, for our family business and for the 50,000 people who work at Alshaya. I have always said that retail is the most exciting industry in the world, and I have been privileged to work with some of the world's greatest retail brands to help develop a modern retailing culture in the Middle East. This has delivered exciting new choices to local customers and created many thousands of job opportunities."
Since opening its first Mothercare store in Kuwait in 1983, Alshaya has been a pioneer in the retail industry – driving innovation, shaping standards in customer care, and introducing over 80 of the world's best known and best loved brands to customers in the region. The company today operates brands that include Starbucks, H&M, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters, P.F. Chang's, The Cheesecake Factory, Victoria's Secret, Boots, Pottery Barn and KidZania, and employs more than 50,000 people from over 120 nationalities across a range of sectors covering Fashion & Footwear, Health & Beauty, Food, Optics, Pharmacy, Home Furnishings and Leisure & Entertainment.