Yusuffali 22.5 Billion Dirhams turnover businessman
Mr. Yusuff Ali M.A., Managing Director of LuLu Group ranks today among the top business personalities. The Group has diversified into many significant areas under his dynamic leadership, retail being the most prominent of them.
lulu is best known in the Gulf through a chain of popular Shopping Malls and Hypermarkets which serve the widest segments of multi-ethnic residents in the region. LuLu Group, with its 35,600 strong workforce from 37 different nations and operational bases extending over the UAE, India, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kenya, Benin, Tanzania, Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, Togo, Gambia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom is one of the most successful corporate of the times with a steadily ascending growth curve over the years.
Yusuffali is equally active on the social front and is associated with various organizations. In recognition of his remarkable achievements in Business & Industry and his distinguished services in the field of Social Work, he was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award by H.E. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Hon’ble President of India on 05th May, 2008. He was the first Non-resident Indian from the Gulf and the Middle East countries to be honored with this coveted award by the Government of India.
Taking into consideration his outstanding achievement in the field of business and in recognition of his valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India and in fostering the interests of overseas Indians, he has been conferred with the prestigious “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award” the highest Indian Government Award given to Non-Resident Indians by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Hon’ble President of India at Mumbai in January, 2005.
The crowning glory in his career came when he was overwhelmingly elected by the U.A.E. business community as the Director Board member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI). This was the first time that elections were held for the ADCCI and expatriate was elected to the Director Board of one of the world’s most prosperous and wealthy business regulatory authorities. In addition to this, he was also unanimously elected by the Board members as the Vice-chairman of the prestigious Trade Committee of the ADCCI. After four years, in the year 2009, the U.A.E business community re-elected him to the Director Board of ADCCI with a thumping majority. In the year 2014 he was again re-elected for a third time and he is the only non-Arab to be elected to the Director Board of ADCCI consecutively for a record third time.
entrepreneur.com reports his story as follows.
It was a very hard time initially. Abu Dhabi was all of two roads; none of the glitz and glamour that you associate UAE with today. The entire country was just coming terms with the discovery of oil, things were just moving ahead. Forget what shape the country is in today.” So when you sit down to talk to the animated man behind the mammoth empire that encompasses everything from FMCG to hotels, know that you can expect him to be unruffled, quick on his feet, and pretty set in his ways. He’s a man of dedication, and that dedication permeates much of what he does- from his vast empire of operations to his lifestyle.
Yusuffali does, without fail, get off of a flight and do a 30-minute regimented workout. And he does, without fail, stick to his standby trusty Nokia 6230i- Yusuffali doesn’t use a snazzy smartphone simply because his Nokia “does what it’s supposed to do: facilitate talking!” Can a Forbes-lister like him be described as “salt of the earth”? Perhaps not since he’s rumored to be an avid collector of timepieces, and his waterfront property in Cochin is reportedly 62,000 square feet. So while he comes across as humble and espouses the simple mantra of hard work paying for itself in dividends, Yusuffali isn’t exactly the Spartan, austere type.
He is the family type, though. His roots in Kerala are frequently mentioned, and being some- thing of a celebrity at home, anonymity is hard to come by. He enjoys a good comedy once in a while, and sneaks into the movies with his wife at one of his multi-use projects after the lights are dimmed. The eldest of three brothers tries when- ever possible to attend family occasions and weddings, and he’s addressed as “Bhai” by his staff, a term of endearment translating to “brother”.
Most of his upper management has been with him since inception, four decades of loyalty, and the team of executives are even entrusted to speak on his behalf. “I’ve empowered them to make decisions. They are absolutely able to handle everything.”
On the subject of guidance during his youth, Yusuffali says that while he comes from a family of active businesspeople, his greatest influence was his grandfather. “He was my mentor in business, because growing up I spent more time with him compared to any other adult in the family; he initially groomed me for nuances of business, and in general about life. If I consider someone as a mentor, it would be him, and he would say that the key to success remains ‘hard work, honesty, and dedication.'”
It’s often the case with these types of huge success stories that there is a pivotal moment when a die is cast, and it changes the course of a business and a lifetime forever. This may have been Yusuffali’s moment, his leap of faith and the boldest move of his youth, subsequently laying for the foundation of his conglomerate’s global launch pad.