The sixth edition of the Gulf Business Awards was held in a glittering ceremony at the Fairmont Palm, Dubai on Sunday evening and hosted some of the biggest business leaders in the UAE.

A total of 27 awards – judged by an independent panel and public voting – were given away during the evening, which also celebrated the 21st anniversary of Gulf Business magazine.

The awards sought to applaud excellence in the corporate world and recognized companies and business leaders across nine industries.

For his outstanding contribution in aviation and banking, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; chairman and CEO of Emirates Group; chairman of Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee, Dubai Airports and Emirates NBD was bestowed with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.

The coveted Gulf Business Company of the Year award was bagged by home-grown brand DarkMatter, and the 2017 Business Leader of the Year award was handed to the CEO of Mashreq, H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair.

Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner and Group Editor of Motivate, said: “We at Gulf Business – and the wider Motivate family – are constantly amazed by the ingenious ideas coming out of the region’s business community. Ideas that are not only impressive on an individual basis, but that when combined contribute to a profound movement – a movement that has given the GCC the reputation that it deserves as the most exciting and intriguing region in the world. The Gulf Business awards are our way of acknowledging and recognizing the region’s business community.”

Neil King, editor of Gulf Business, adds, “You only have to look at the names of our winners to see that this has been yet another stellar year for business in the Gulf.

“Some of the region’s biggest companies and individuals have enhanced their already impressive reputations, while others have shone throughout the past 12 months to become household names – not just in the GCC but around the world.

“We are proud to recognise the achievements of our winners and their fellow nominees and look forward to another year full of exceptional business performance.”

The judging panel included: Ian Fairservice, Motivate managing partner and group editor-in-chief; Neil King, editor of Gulf Business; Dr Amina Al Rustamani, group CEO of TECOM Group; Arif Naqvi, founder and group CEO of The Abraaj Group; and Mark Beer OBE, CEO of the DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority and former chairman of the British Business Group.

The evening was hosted by Motivate Publishing in association with King’s College Hospital London as the headline sponsor supported by Shapoorji Pallonji, Samsonite, QMP, Strathclyde, Jacobsons and Fairmont Palm.


Lifetime Achievement Award: H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Gulf Business Company of the year: DarkMatter

Gulf Business Business Leader of the Year: H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair – Mashreq

Companies of the year

Energy: Masdar

Tourism and hospitality: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

Aviation and transport: Dubai Airports

Banking: Emirates NBD

Technology: DarkMatter

Media and marketing: OSN

Healthcare: Aster DM Healthcare


Business leaders of the year

Real Estate: His Excellency Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar

Energy: Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar

Tourism and hospitality: H.E. Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Aviation and transport: Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, co-founders of Careem

Banking: H.E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank

Technology: Faisal Al Bannai, CEO of DarkMatter

Media and marketing: Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group

Healthcare: David Hadley, CEO of Mediclinic Middle East

Retail: Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free


Special categories

Businesswoman of the year: Sima Ved, vice chairperson of Apparel Group

Innovator of the year: HUB1006

SME of the year: NOW Money

Happiness and Positivity Company of the Year: DHL

CSR initiative of the year (public vote): ActiveLife by Daman

Entrepreneur of the year (public vote): Nayla Al Khaja, founder of D-Seven / The Scene

About Gulf Business magazine

Gulf Business, supported by its thriving website, provides an unparalleled insight into business news, as well as a brave vantage point on the region’s corporate matters. The monthly publication offers a wide range of in-depth economic sector analysis, from energy to real estate to banking and retail, plus a wealth of regional data, special reports and reviews.

For more information,

For more information, interviews and images to publish please contact:

Anusha Azees

Group Marketing Manager


T: +971 (050) 4 427 3415

E: [email protected]