Michel Chalhoub
Michel Chalhoub Image Credit: Twitter/@ChalhoubGroup

Dubai: Michel Chalhoub, a self-made billionaire and founder of Chalhoub Group, died on Friday(July 30).

Born in Damascus in 1931, Michel was a passionate entrepreneur who created the family owned group with his wife, Widad.

Michael and Widad started the business with a Christofle boutique in Damascus in 1955. They were compelled to move to Beirut after a military coup took over in Syria. A decade later, due to the Lebanese Civil War, they relocated to Kuwait where the company flourished and their sons, Anthony and Patrick, joined the Group.

My father was a visionary, a pioneer, a true leader, a great man that pushed us to be what we are today. He was resilient, inspiring, passionate. He was a family man, generous, loving, caring, kind, and an example of courage and integrity. He was my role model and inspiration. We will forever be grateful for all that he has done and, along with our children and teams, we will honor his memory with our lifetime commitment to continue building on his legacy.

- Patrick Chalhoub, President of Chalhoub Group

Following the Gulf War, they were forced to establish an exile operation to keep the operations going. Today, the group is based in Dubai and is run by son Patrick. The group has over 600 stores and employs more than 12,000 people in 14 countries.

Immersed in luxury

Chalhoub distributes around 250 plus cosmetics and fashion lines, including lLouis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior. Initially, the group had rights to only sell three French brands, namely Jean Patou, Christofle and Baccarat.

The group collaborates with select brands, and also creates concepts, partner and support local brands. Today, beauty represents 49 per cent of the overall brand activity.

Biggest shoe store
Accoording to Forbes, Chalhoub is the owner of what's possibly the biggest shoe store in the world. Located in Dubai, Level Shoe District spans over 96,000 square feet.

Multiple initiatives

A milestone campaign for Chalhoub is the ‘Hope for Cancer Patients’ campaign that he began. Chalhoub and his group raise funds and create awareness for cancer patients in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Michel also supported educational and academic institutes in the Middle East as well as in Europe.

Chalhoub and his group launched a fund in partnership with the Abu Dhabi government that supports local entrepreneurs and provides them with mentorship and training. Besides, Chalhoub ensures that his group strives to reduce its carbon footprint by educating his employees on environmental and regional issues.

Taking social media to mourn its founder, Chalhoub group posted, "It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our founder and chairman on Friday 30th... He leaves behind a solid foundation and a legacy that will long serve to inspire us and will stand as an example to all of us to persist in our pursuit of success by serving others. We will continue to honor his name and, above all, his values with a deep sense of pride and responsibility."