Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin has announced his retirement after a 41-year career with the company.

McLoughlin will step down from his role on May 31, 2024, with Ramesh Cidambi, the current COO of DDF, named Managing Director, reporting directly to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of DDF, a statement read.

Salah Tahlak, the current Joint COO, has been named Deputy Managing Director of DDF.

The 80-year-old McLoughlin, who has been the driving force behind DDF’s rise to become the single largest duty-free operation in the world, will maintain an advisory role, and will remain as chairman of the Dubai Duty Free Foundation.

In a statement, Cidambi said he was looking forward to driving the business across both its retail and leisure divisions.

McLoughlin was a member of the original consultancy team from Aer Rianta, the Irish Airport Authority, which was contracted by the Dubai Government to launch the new duty-free operation in 1983.

Under his leadership, DDF saw sales rise from $20 million in 1984 to $2.16 billion in 2023, a statement read.

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)