Istithmar World CEO quits

David Jackson has resigned just over one month after the embattled state-owned conglomerate underlined its support for the company.

The chief executive officer of Istithmar World, the private investment business of troubled ports and real estate conglomerate Dubai World, has quit his position.

In a statement released today, Dubai World said Jackson left “to pursue other opportunities”. He will be replaced on a temporary basis by Andy Watson, Istithmar World's chief investment officer.

Watson, a former Barclays Capital director, has an extensive background within Dubai World, said Aidan Birkett, chief restructuring officer at Dubai World. “His experience will be vital in actively managing the portfolio of assets held by Istithmar World.”

In a nod to the near-term strategy of the business, which is well known for investments including New York department store Barneys, he added: “Today, Istithmar World is focussed on the steady-state management of existing assets to maximise value rather than on private equity investment.”


The news of Jackson’s departure comes a little more than one month after Dubai World, the state-owned ports and real estate conglomerate at the centre of a debt crisis, stated that Istithmar World was not part of a comprehensive restructuring process including its real estate companies Nakheel and Limitless.

In a statement by Dubai World at the time, it said it considered Istithmar World and certain other of its companies to be on a “stable financial footing”.

Istithmar World recently lost control of the W Union Square Hotel in a foreclosure auction to LEM Mezzanine. The firm bought the hotel in 2006 for $285 million.

The firm rebranded as Istithmar World in 2008 as it sought to diversify its activities. Its private equity platform owns stakes in businesses including Barneys New York, Cirque du Soleil and hedge fund operator GLG Partners.

Istithmar World has deployed more than $3 billion in real estate, consumer, industrial and financial sectors. The firm, established in 2003, manages about $12 billion.