independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Top flight prepares for Manchester's 'Trump' card

Born in Dubai in 1977, Sulaiman Al-Fahim -- the man at the forefront of Abu Dhabi United's takeover of Manchester City -- was exposed to the world of business and investment from an early age, working after school in his father's Orient Pharmacy when he was 11 years old.

He began investing in the stock market under his mother's name at 14, and at 15 he took his first steps into the property market.

"My life revolved around school and work. I used to go to school in the morning and work at the pharmacy between 8pm and 11pm. Those years taught me a lot about dealing with customers, people skills and reinvesting money,'' he said.

As an 18-year-old, Al-Fahim made his first move into sports investment when he founded the Sulaiman Al Fahim Group, an organisation to support and fund education and sports in the UAE.

In 1998, his parents and younger brother died in a car crash near Dubai Airport.

Tragic

This tragic loss hit the fledgling businessman hard and eventually prompted him to seek a new life and a fresh start in the US. There, he achieved a PhD in real estate investment and an MBA in finance and real estate from Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington DC.

After marrying Dhabya in June 2003, Al-Fahim returned to the UAE. In 2005 he founded Hydra Properties, which quickly became one of the gulf region's fastest growing property companies.

Al Fahim made his first appearance in Arabian Business Magazine's Power 100 list of the most powerful Arabs in 2006. This year he jumped 77 places to 16th position. He received the Visionary Award at the 2007 Middle East CEO Awards.

With his reputation at home secured, Al Fahim returned to the US and became a household name with the launch of reality TV show, 'The Hydra Executives'.

Using a similar format to hit show 'The Apprentice', Al Fahim fronted the search for a new addition to his company and was dubbed the "Arab Donald Trump''.

He has enjoyed the limelight, appearing alongside Hollywood stars Demi Moore, Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher at the the Seventh Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball in June.

This year, Al-Fahim made his initial foray into football, as Hydra Properties teamed up with Serie A champions Inter Milan to establish the Inter Milan Football Academy in Hydra City, Abu Dhabi.

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