Yusuff Ali MA, Chairman and Managing Director of Lulu Group
Archive image of Yusuff Ali MA Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: One of the UAE’s business leaders and Chairman of Lulu Group International, Yusuff Ali MA, has completed his 50th year in the UAE.

It was on December 31, 1973, that he first landed on the shores of UAE from Mumbai, India on board a ship named ‘Dumra’, which docked at Dubai’s Rashid port.

Recollecting his first trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi that night, Yusuffali said: “Though the ship docked in the morning, it was around 10pm when I came out of the port. I still remember it took almost four hours that night to reach Abu Dhabi [in a blue Toyota Stout pickup], as it was a single-track road those days.”

Yusuffali's old passport showing the entry stamp (in red) of Dubai's Rashid port on December 31, 1973 Image Credit: Supplied

What started as a small trading centre in the 1970s, Lulu is today one of the biggest retail conglomerates, with more than 260 hypermarkets and shopping malls across 24 countries, employing close to 70,000 people comprising 46 different nationalities.

Summing up his journey so far, Yusuffali acknowledged the support he received from the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He also expressed his gratefulness to President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Rulers of other emirates; UAE citizens and the expat community for their support over the years.

Talking about his retirement plans, Yusuffali said: “I don’t have any hobby or passion other than work. So, till the day I’m healthy, I’ll come to the office and work as usual. Retirement is not an option and I never think about it.”