Dany Bahar - Ares Design 1

Waleed Al Ghafari

Waleed Al Ghafari,
Co-Founder & Executive Chairman

University educated in the UK, Waleed Al Ghafari is a highly-respected business developer and luxury expert. He has a track record spanning over 30 years in diversified markets, including telecommunications and software technology, hospitality and real estate, across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Between 1983 and 2000, Al Ghafari created highly successful IT businesses in Kuwait and Canada before relocating to Dubai. Since then he has played a crucial role in various merger and acquisition activities as well as initial public offerings. He secured in excess of $1.4 billion (USD) in capital and business contracts.

Portrait Waleed Al Ghafari - Ares Design

In 2001, Al Ghafari founded Dubai Pearl, a world-famous, $3.3 billion dollar real estate project in Dubai, where his expertise gave him an undisputed edge in developing a self-contained city with strong business and hospitality elements. In partnership with the Kingdom Hotels, he was the Chairman of Dubai Pearl Hotel Company, responsible for creating and developing the high-end hospitality component within Dubai Pearl as well as the Technology Park. He continued to serve on the board until 2008 when he became the Chairman of Digital Planet and the GEE Hospitality Group – positions he still holds to this day.

In addition, in 2004 he was a founding member of the Dubai Film Festival, which continues to be held annually under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. From 2005 until 2009 Al Ghafari was also engaged as Regional Consultant with Nokia Networks, securing over $800 million within this time. He joined ARES as Executive Chairman in 2014 and is working closely with ARES co-founder, Dany Bahar, and the senior management to propel the brand forward and secure new business opportunities both in the Middle East and in ARES’s key markets across the globe.

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