Colm McLoughlin

Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO, Dubai Duty Free

Intensely competitive, confident, and emotionally resilient, Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, first arrived in Dubai in July 1983 on the eve of his 40th birthday. He was greeted by one of the city’s infamous heat waves. “I had never experienced anything like it in my life,” he says.

“Dubai in one word? That would have to be ‘Fantastic!’”

It’s always a challenge starting over in a new country, especially if it has a completely different culture to what one’s accustomed to. Colm had to not only learn, but also adjust his lifestyle to fit the new culture, as well as familiarise himself with the city and its people. “Being Irish, we became involved with the Dubai Irish Society, and I was chair in 1988- 1999. We organised the St. Patrick’s Day Ball and practically everyone Irish attended.”

When asked about the secret of Dubai’s success, Colm was quick to mention the support given by local authorities, specifically to Dubai Duty Free. “Dubai Duty Free has been part of the success story of Dubai and that success is due in no small part to the support we have received over the years from the Government of Dubai and in particular my boss, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free.”

There is no doubt that Dubai is a city full of opportunities for people with an insatiable appetite for hard work, with Colm believing that its enthusiasm is infectious. “I am always struck by the ‘can do’ attitude of the people of Dubai, and I feel honoured to have witnessed and have been part of the dramatic growth of the nation over the last three decades through Dubai Duty Free. Looking to the future, I am excited by the opportunity to continue to be part of Dubai’s continued growth and success.”