Image by Alexander Heilner, via wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 27.06.2018


Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem – a low-profile figure instrumental to Dubai’s aggressive development over the past 30 years – is firmly back in the picture. A favourite among the elite, he spent some time ‘out in the cold’ following Dubai’s dark period between 2008-2010, but evidence suggests he is busy once again driving commercial progress in Dubai.

Key Points

  • The bin Sulayem family have been associates of Dubai royalty for years. Their social standing has birthed opportunities to influence the Emirate’s development, with Sultan Ahmed Sulayem the most influential of the lot today.
  • Chairman of DP World since 2007, he was appointed CEO in 2016 in a move that consolidated his family’s longstanding grip over Dubai’s ports. Furthermore, his inclusion in the Virgin Hyperloop One project signals he is broadening his remit once again.
  • This is indicative of how prestige can often override episodes of failure and mismanagement – strengthening the view that patronage is often an important dynamic in the UAE’s commercial scene.