The current hubbub over the Dubai Ports World acquisition of British-owned Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. is a lot of empty cargo.
As a frequent traveler to Dubai as a marketing consultant, I am very aware of the general management, organizational and operational philosophies of major companies in the United Arab Emirates.
The vast majority companies I worked with there were managed by American and British senior executives, closely followed by executives from Western Europe, Australia and South Africa. In fact, we used to joke about the hierarchy of management nationality in the largest and most successful companies. It was often a point of pride for the Emirati business houses to boast about their American or British chief executives.
I would be very surprised if the management teams at any of these ports were led by an Emirati national. There might not even be major changes from existing management teams.
If you’re a successful Arab company (like Dubai Ports) from a supportive Arab country (like the U.A.E.), the United States is not open for business.
That’s not the message we want to send to the Arab world’s business community.
Richard F. Thomas Jr.