Adeeb Ahamed

Constantly Challenging The Status Quo : Adeeb Ahamed

Table of Contents

Managing Director Lulu Financial Holdings Managing Director | Twenty14 Holdings

Few know that one of the world’s leading financial services organisations is based in Abu Dhabi. With a presence in 11 countries and operating a network of over 260 branches worldwide, Lulu Financial Holdings is the pride of the UAE.

At the helm of this organisation lies the mastermind Adeeb Ahamed, who is also the Managing Director of Twenty14 Holdings. Persistent and ever-ambitious, there is no project, location, or challenge too big for Adeeb and his team.

Adeeb believes in his vision, the simplicity of action and getting things done, and is always learning effective ways to conquer new horizons.

Hospitality Graduate Turned Fintech Visionary

Born in Kochi, Kerala, Adeeb grew up watching his father r un a popular restaurant chain in the city. Later, he began his hospitality journey when he moved to Switzerland to study at the Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, an international hospitality management school.

He joined the family business of the Lulu Group in 2008 and was tasked with identifying new business avenues. This drive to diversify is a trademark of Adeeb’s business philosophy. It was thus that he ventured into the financial services industry.

Adeeb’s farsightedness and forward-thinking ability enabled him to make the right business choices. Aided by a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in International Management from Royal Holloway, University of London, he has a reputation for taking patient and calculated decisions in the case of asset acquisition after intense analysis of market dynamics.

Adeeb constantly assesses the financial viability of each project by closely studying the rise and fall of global currencies, entry price and price appreciation to ensure he is making the most profitable decision for the Group.

Foraying Into Financial Services

Adeeb concedes that he initially did not have the expertise to run a financial services business, so he began from scratch in the remittance business. However, it proved to be a rewarding bet as the company now has 260 branches and counting in 11 countries, processing over 10 million transactions annually.

Focused on crafting elegant and simple financial solutions, Lulu Financial Holdings reflects his extensive interest in cultivating the ideal human touch in business by investing in people and banking on their collaborative spirit and ingenious efforts to uplift an organisation.

The tycoon’s highoctane series of successes are made all the more remarkable by the fact that he was learning alongside the company whilst shouldering the weight of leading it ever higher.

Exploring The Hospitality Sector

Not one to rest on his laurels, Adeeb wanted to develop a more experience-driven enterprise where he could bring his vision for the travel and hospitality industry to life. This was how Twenty14 Holdings was born in 2014.

Today, the company has assets across the globe worth a whopping $650 million. These include prestigious properties with a modern touch that utilise cutting-edge tech, such as the ever-popular Pullman Downtown in Dubai, and the Sheraton made its mark on elegant and iconic landmarks replete with regional histories, such as the Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London, UK, and the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh – popularly known as The Caledonian in Scotland.

The skill lies in keeping the vagaries of the location and its people in mind in order to enhance and amplify the beauty that lies within, such as their project in Port Muziris in Koehl, India.

The company accentuated the lush greenery that grows freely in Kerala and used it to augment guest experiences in the stunning location.

Road Ahead

This breakneck speed of asset acquisition cannot be confused with blind fervour. Every single acquisition is tempered by Adeeb’s watchful eye on market dynamics. Adeeb is mindful of the technological storm that is revolutionising markets.

He is keenly watching and studying how online commerce affects different tiers of consumer products, from essential commodities to luxury brands.

He reveals that he plans to tap into digital by improving upon today’s app-based economy by implementing mobile-driven solutions.

Influenced by the rapidly changing geopolitical factors in today’s global markets, the insightful thinker also aims to scour the hot destinations of the US, Middle East, and Europe for investments in the hospitality asset management business.

These focused ventures are supported by the robust back-end integration that he has nurtured in his company, as they allow him to onboard new companies and roll out new accomplishments quickly and cost-effectively.

Impressive Talent Retention

Adeeb is proud of his unique recruitment and retention strategy. He believes that employees are the soul of his company and encourages the spirit of intrapreneurship to flourish.

The average age of the 3,000+ employees in his company is around 35 years. He mentions that many of his employees have stuck with him for over a decade since he opened the first Lulu Exchange branch in Abu Dhabi. He describes the young and voracious talent in his companies as a think-tank.

Adeeb, who leads by example, has fostered a culture where the seniors in his team are continuously educating and mentoring their underlings.

In a world where conventional assets are increasingly becoming obsolete and disruptive technologies take centre stage, he does not want his employees to get comfortable with market acceptance.

He believes that it is essential to challenge the traditional models to stay relevant and competent, especially in a family-run business. He advises the younger generation to disrupt the status quo.