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Gulf Craft completes comprehensive management restructure

Abeer Alshaali appointed as interim CEO for the shipyard in the Emirates, acting under her father Chairman Mohammed Alshaali
Abeer Alshaali, acting CEO, Gulf Craft
Abeer Alshaali, acting CEO, Gulf Craft

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Emirates only superyacht builder, Gulf Craft has completed a sweeping management re-structure that sets the company on a course towards continued growth.  In a significant move for the Emirates-based family business, Abeer Alshaali takes the helm as acting chief executive officer (CEO) under the chairmanship of her father Mohammed Alshaali. Other appointments in the executive management see Nizar Tagi appointed as chief commercial officer (CCO) and Paul Gray as chief operating officer (COO). 

As part of the restructuring, which comes in the wake of Gregory Yeakle leaving the role of CEO mid-this year, Notis Menelaou has also stepped down as vice president of Sales. Menelaou has been working with Gulf Craft for almost two decades. 

Mohammed Alshaali, chairman, Gulf Craft. 

Founding Gulf Craft in 1982 together with his brothers and mutual friend, Mohammed Alshaali  has taken Gulf Craft from being a regional boat manufacturer to one that ranks in the top ten superyacht builders in the world. He started his career as one of the UAE’s key diplomats holding positions such as UAE Ambassador to the US. He served as a Minister of State for Foreign Affairs before devoting his time to Gulf Craft in 2008.

The International Superyacht Society recognised him as ‘Business Person of the Year’ at the 28th ISS Design & Leadership Awards Gala in 2018 in recognition of his efforts to create sustainable growth for the maritime industry. 

“These far-reaching structural changes herald a new era for Gulf Craft. We are very excited about the future of the company under the strategic vision of these hugely talented and experienced executives,” he said. 

Abeer Alshaali, acting CEO, Gulf Craft

Abeer Alshaali takes the CEO role after holding the position of executive management officer for almost six years.

Raised and educated in the US, she completed her Bachelor’s degree at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She joined Gulf Craft in the Executive Office handling company management alongside her father. In her role, she implemented new processes to improve company structure and efficiency.  Alshaali is also a board member of the Ajman Media City Free Zone and served as a mentor in the Shaikh Abdulaziz Bin Humaid Leadership Program. 

“It’s a huge honour for me to take such an important job in a company that has been an integral part of my life since I was young. My objective is to maintain the progress made in recent years and capitalise on substantial growth opportunities in the industry,” she said. 

Paul Gray, chief operating officer, Gulf Craft 

Paul J. Gray will be leading the operational side of the business acting as chief operating officer (COO). Paul brings with him a wealth of experience from other leading shipyards, in which he has set-up efficient processes and significant business models. 

Paul started in the industry building the yachts for acclaimed British shipyard where his career developed into project management. He then moved to the US to take European production techniques to the semi-custom superyacht manufacturers building in aluminum and carbon fibre.  He then returned to the UK to join the operational segment of another British shipyard, helping them build their superyachts line before joining Gulf Craft.

“I’m privileged to have been given the opportunity of drawing on my extensive experience from other leading shipyards to ensure that Gulf Craft’s business model maximises efficiency and growth in practicality, functionality and quality of their wide product range.” 

Nizar Tagi, chief commercial officer, Gulf Craft 

Nizar Tagi leads the Sales and Marketing departments with responsibility for business development, which includes setting up new dealers and signing strategic alliances.  Before joining Gulf Craft, he was director of world's leading superyacht marina OneOcean Port Vell and the General Manager of a prominent Italian yacht builder in Hong Kong. 

An expert in sales and marketing, Mr Tagi is a regular speaker in major yachting conferences and consultant to several leading yacht brands.

“This is an exciting time in the long history of Gulf Craft and one I am honoured to be part of it. I’m proud to be given the responsibility for driving forward sales in a competitive industry that offers huge scope for new business opportunities,”  he said.

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