The Meadfa Conference 2024
Colm McLoughlinExecutive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Dubai Duty Free

Colm McLoughlin began his retailing career in London in the 1960s, working for high-street chain Woolworths, before moving back to his native Ireland to work for Shannon Duty Free. As General Manager of Shannon Duty Free, Colm was one of a team of ten from Aer Rianta (the Irish Airport Authority) who moved to Dubai in 1983 at the request of the Dubai Government, to set up Dubai Duty Free.

Following the successful opening of Dubai Duty Free in December 1983, Colm was asked to remain and head up the operation, which in its opening year had a turnover of US$20 million.

In July 2011, Colm was named Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free and its subsidiary businesses, including The Irish Village both in Garhoud and Studio One Hotel, The Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

Under Colm’s direction, Dubai Duty Free has become one of the leading airport retailers in the world with annual sales turnover of over US$2 billion in 2019 and is a recipient of over 700 awards presented by international, regional and local entities, which bear testimony to its retail success. On a personal note, Colm has received several awards including the Dubai Government Excellence Award for 'Most Distinguished Employee’ in 2000 and the 'Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award' in the Business and Education category in 2014. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University Dubai. Recently, Colm was named as one of the 100 Images RetailME ICONS in MENA region.

Colm is married to Breeda, with three adult children and two grandchildren. His son lives in Dubai while his two daughters and grandchildren live in the UK.