The Crown Prince of Dubai on Friday led the tributes that came pouring in for the late prominent entrepreneur Micky Jagtiani, calling him an “integral part” of the city’s growth.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, tweeted: “Today, we mourn the loss of Micky Jagtiani, the founder of Landmark Group and an integral part of Dubai’s success story.

"His philanthropic legacy and contributions to the UAE's economy and society over the last three decades will be remembered forever. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and the Landmark Group team."

Along with the post, Sheikh Hamdan posted a series of photos, including one where he is seen meeting the businessman.

On Friday, the founder of Landmark Group died surrounded by his family at the age of 70.

For the world, he had been seen as one of the wealthiest, but for the business community in the UAE, he was a "humble" entrepreneur with a "generous heart". His death, they said, had left a “vacuum”.

Hailed as a visionary, Micky was often considered one of the most influential figures who shaped the retail sector in the region.

Businessman and cricket connoisseur Shyam Bhatia recalled how he knew Micky almost since the day he arrived in Dubai. “He was a good friend, and we shared a lot of good memories,” he said. “Micky was larger than life and was always smiling. He loved good food.”

According to Bhatia, who founded Alam Steel, the welfare of his employees was always a priority for the late businessman. “He wanted to build a sports complex for his employees and because I am in the construction industry, he would always talk to me about it. He used to call me Mr. Cricketer. He was such a visionary. We are all going to miss him very much.”

Humble, caring leader

Another businessman, Navin Kapoor, MD of Xpertize United, said he had known Micky for a very long time. “I have known him for over 30 years when he started his first store near Ramada Hotel,” he said.

“What distinguished him from other businessmen was how he cared for those around him. Not only did he build his fortunes, but he also helped those around him grow,” he said. “Many of his associates are also millionaires. He made sure that they built their wealth along with him and to me that distinguishes him from everyone else.”

Entrepreneur Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, shared a vivid memory he had of Micky.

“We were at a dealers’ seminar where he and his sales executives were invited,” he said. “When he entered, after greeting the hosts, the first thing he did was immediately move towards his executives and greet them. This was the extent of his humility. The vacuum left by him is indeed rare to fill. He maintained a low profile and he never felt shy in expressing his humble beginnings.”

Arriving in Bahrain in 1973, Micky took over a family business and turned it into a venture selling children’s items, calling it Babyshop. In 1990, he relocated to Dubai where he founded the Landmark Group. Today, the group has over 2,200 stores spread across 24 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Visionary leader

Nilesh Bhatnagar, former CEO of Emax, said Micky was the "greatest retail visionary" from the region.

"His vision and drive in creating popular brands was coupled with great execution and understanding of the strengths of his leadership team,” he said. “He had great empathy and concern for his people. I owe my success in setting up Landmark Group’s Saudi businesses to his belief and confidence in me and his unwavering support.”

Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, said Micky was a pioneer. “He played a significant role in shaping the retail and consumer business segment in the region,” he said. "Micky had a very generous heart, helping people silently, and his legacy will live forever through his business and philanthropic initiatives. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved family."

Al Ghurair Group posted a condolence message on LinkedIn. “Mr. Micky Jagtiani was a visionary and a true inspiration to many in the business world. His legacy will continue to live on through the remarkable achievements he made during his life. His vision and dedication have left an indelible mark on the retail industry, and his passing is a great loss to us all,” the message read.

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