Hasan Ismaik, CEO of the UAE’s leading construction firm Arabtec resigned on Wednesday, six weeks after the company’s share prices plummeted by 50 percent and after one of its major backers cut its shareholding, Reuters and Emirati media reported.
“The Arabtec saga dragged down the Dubai stock market and illustrated the opaque nature of corporate affairs in the region, as investors were left uncertain about the fate of one of the Gulf’s biggest and fastest-growing contractors,” Reuters said.
A spokesperson of Arabtec said that Ismaik’s resignation will take effect on Wednesday, and that the acting CEO will be Mohamed Al Fahim, a board member from Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
Forbes magazine has classified Ismaik, 37, as the first Jordanian billionaire and the third youngest billionaire in the Middle East due to his shares in Arabtec.
According to Reuters, Arabtec “is politically important because it has become a tool of the United Arab Emirates’ economic diplomacy.”
In Egypt, Arabtec has been one of the major economic partners of coup leader and president Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. It won a $40 billion deal to build one million housing units for low-income youth over the next five years.
After Ismaik’s resignation on Wednesday, however, the firm’s shares closed 1.9 percent higher, indicating investors’ hopes that his resignation would stabilise the firm.