DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. Emirati billionaire Majid Al Futtaim, who went from bank clerk to eponymous business empire best known for its huge shopping center in Dubai with an indoor ski slope, passed away on Friday.
The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the death of Al Futtime in a Twitter post, calling him one of the “most important traders of the Sheikh.”
“May God have mercy on him and place him in his spacious gardens,” wrote Sheikh Mohammed.
The cause of his death was not announced immediately. And not his age. However, in recent days, prayers for him and his family have begun to appear on social networks.
The business empire of Majid Al-Futtime also admitted his death online, but did not respond to inquiries from the Associated Press.
“Majid Al Futtime was a visionary entrepreneur who changed the face of business across the region, and his life accomplishments have inspired many,” the company wrote on Twitter. “Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Mr. Majid at this difficult time.”
The Al Futtime family’s business empire dates back to the 1930s, when Dubai remained a small pearl village until the discovery of oil in what would become the United Arab Emirates. Al Futtaim was a family-owned trading company associated with the ruling family of the city-state of Al Maktoum.
Decades later, it became a trusted partner for foreign business aspiring brands such as Toyota in 1955. It was followed by other car manufacturers as well as retail brands.
But a bitter family feud between Majid al-Futtaim and his cousin Abdullah demanded Sheikh Mohammed’s intervention to resolve it in the early 2000s. Al Futtaim, run by Abdullah, eventually took over the automotive side of the business and some retail brands.
Majid Al Futtaim Holding, founded in 1992, was Majid’s business machine after the split. With his help, he became a retail center in the Middle East and beyond, working as a clerk at the Bank of Oman, which later became Mashreq Bank.
The firm became a franchisee of the French hypermarket chain Carrefour. She now operates over 300 Carrefour supermarkets and hypermarkets in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Al Futtaim built the first major shopping mall in Deira City Center. Today Dubai is known as a major shopping center in part due to the expansion of his firm.
Al Futtaim’s flamboyant mall, the Mall of the Emirates, is Dubai’s main attraction and is home to an indoor ski slope. He also invested in hotels and cinemas.
Forbes estimates Al Futtaim’s net worth at over $ 4 billion. Bloomberg estimates his fortune at over $ 6 billion.