Michel Chalhoub, founder and chairman of the Dubai-based Chalhoub Group, died Friday at 89. The company confirmed his passing on Monday.
Born in Damascus in 1931, Michel Chalhoub was a pioneering retail entrepreneur who along with his wife, Widad, founded the Chalhoub Group by opening a Christofle boutique in the Middle East when he was only 23.
The group grew to be the region’s largest luxury retail operator with more than 700 stores and a workforce of more than 12,000 people across 14 countries. The Chalhoub Group has partnerships with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the Middle East and more than 300 other brands that include Christian Louboutin, Tod’s, Michael Kors, Sephora, L’Occitane, Lacoste and Tory Burch. The Chalhoub Group also owns and operates pioneering concepts like Level Shoes, billed as the world’s largest shoe store, housed within the massive Dubai Mall.
Chalhoub navigated the business through turmoil in the region, moving its headquarters from Syria to Lebanon and, when civil war hit, to Kuwait. Once again pushed out by turmoil, he moved the company to Dubai in 1990.
“My father was a visionary, a pioneer, a true leader, a great man that pushed us to be what we are today,” said Patrick Chalhoub, president of Chalhoub Group. “He was resilient, inspiring, passionate. He was a family man, generous, loving, caring, kind and an example of courage and integrity. He was my role model and inspiration. We will forever be grateful for all that he has done and, along with our children and teams, we will honor his memory with our lifetime commitment to continue building on his legacy.”
Michel Chalhoub was preceded in death by his son Anthony, who served as copresident of the group, in 2018.