Skip to content

Dubai Holding enhances board structure at Jumeirah Group – Gerald Lawless named Jumeirah Group CEO

(Dubai, UAE – August 15th, 2012) Dubai Holding, the global investment holding company, today announced an enhanced board of directors at Jumeirah Group (Jumeirah), its global luxury hospitality arm, aimed at strengthening its corporate governance. Jumeirah’s board structure now comprises an independent non-executive chairman, two non-executive directors and two executive directors. These appointments become effective from September 1, 2012.

Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO Jumeirah Group
Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO Jumeirah Group

Stephen Murphy, former Group CEO, Virgin Group, has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman. Other Board Members include: Sir David Michels, former Group Chief Executive of Hilton Group; Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai; Fadel Al Ali, Chief Operating Officer, Dubai Holding; and Gerald Lawless. Gerald Lawless has now been named President and Group CEO allowing him to take on a more focused executive management role at this important stage of Jumeirah’s international growth strategy.

Ahmad Bin Byat, CEO of Dubai Holding, said: “The new structure is in line with Dubai Holding’s strategic objectives implemented to further strengthen corporate governance at our companies as per international best practice.

“ It is a great pleasure to welcome Stephen Murphy onto the Board as Non-Executive Chairman. I am confident that his solid track record of building businesses with a global brand footprint will enable him to play a pivotal role in the exciting next stage of Jumeirah’s growth story.

“Jumeirah will immensely benefit from the rich experience and strong capability of the Board to capitalise on market opportunities under the leadership of Gerald Lawless, who has been instrumental in making Jumeirah the global success story it is today.”

From its origins in Dubai in 1997 to its presence today in twelve countries around the world, Jumeirah has become synonymous with luxury hospitality. Over the last two years, the company has more than doubled the number of hotels it has under management, with recent openings including Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto in Rome, Pera Palace Jumeirah in Istanbul, Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Mallorca, Spain, and Jumeirah Creekside in Dubai. In the coming months the company expects to launch Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa in Kuwait.

Stephen Murphy, Chairman of Jumeirah Board
Stephen Murphy, Chairman of Jumeirah Board

Jumeirah Group Board Members

Stephen Murphy, Non-Executive Chairman

Stephen joined Virgin in 1994 as Group Finance Director and became Executive Director- Transportation in 2001 before succeeding the founder, Sir Richard Branson, as Group CEO in 2005 until December 2011. He was also Chairman of the board for Virgin Atlantic Airways from 2006 and non-executive director of many subsidiaries including Virgin Blue Holdings in Australia, Virgin America and Virgin Rail in the UK. He is currently a Non-Executive Director at Business Growth Fund, a £2.5bn equity investment capital fund, which aims to support fast growing entrepreneurial businesses. He is also Chairman of the Learning Clinic, a medical technology business and a partner of Ashcombe Advisers LLP. He remains a Senior Advisor to the Board at Virgin Group and is also a Director of Ren Ren Inc, a US listed leading Chinese social networking company. Previously Stephen held senior positions at Unilever, Mars, the Burton Group and Pepsico. (Photograph on the left side)

Sir David Michels, Independent Non-Executive Director
Sir David Michels was previously Group Chief Executive of Hilton Group PLC and has spent 40 years in the hotel business. He has been on Jumeirah’s board since 2007. Currently Sir David Michels is Deputy Chairman at Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Chairman of London and Capital, and of Michels & Taylor, President of the Institute of Hospitality, and of the Tourism Alliance, Member of the Advisory Board to CVC Capital Partners, Non-Executive Director of The Savoy, and of Miroma. Previously, he was Deputy Chairman of easyJet and of Marks & Spencer, as well as President of the British Hotels Association.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Independent Non-Executive Director
Ghaith Al Ghaith is the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai’s first low-cost airline, flydubai. Prior to joining flydubai, he was the Executive Vice President of Commercial Operations Worldwide at Emirates Group, where he started his career as a Management Trainee in 1986. Ghaith has a long track record in the airline industry and was awarded Personal Achievement of the Year at the Aviation Business Awards in 2011. He was also named Aviation CEO of the Year at both the 2011 and 2009 CEO Middle East Awards.

Fadel Al Ali, Executive Director
Fadel Al Ali is the Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Holding, responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the Company and its business entities. Fadel has a wealth of experience in the finance industry following a long and successful career at Citibank. Fadel is the Chairman of the Board of Dubai International Capital, and a Board Member of du, Dubai Financial Services Authority, Emaar Properties and Cyprus Popular Bank.

Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO
Gerald Lawless joined Jumeirah Group in 1997 after a 23-year career with Forte Hotels. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Vice Chairman – Corporate Governance of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); and a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality (formerly HCIMA). In addition, Gerald is a member of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism council of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Emirates National Development Programme (ENDP). Gerald is also a Non-Executive Director at the Travelodge Board, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.