His Excellence (HE) Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, the Executive Chairman of Shurooq, is considered one of the key leaders in Sharjah’s tourism industry growth. He was the CEO of Shurooq from 2009 until mid-2018, which he then became the Executive Chairman under an Emiri decree by HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah.
Al Sarkal has been integral to the success of the Authority since its inception in 2009, and has played an exemplary role in realising the vision of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, and Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, of establishing the organisation as the driving force behind the transformation of Sharjah as a key investment, tourism, and business destination in the region.
Steered by Al Sarkal’s creativity and drive, guided by the emirate’s traditions, and inspired by innovation, Shurooq has adopted world-class standards in providing the necessary services, intellectual property and infrastructural facilities to attract investors from the UAE, the Middle East, and beyond. His role as the CEO of Al Qasba Development Authority, in establishing Al Qasba as a prominent tourist destination, paved the way for the establishment and subsequent success of Shurooq.
After 9 years of genuine leadership, and an effective driver of change across Shurooq and Sharjah, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, issued the Emiri Decree No 30 of 2018 promoting Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, from CEO to the Executive Chairman of Shurooq, on May 20th 2018.
Born in Sharjah in 1979, Al Sarkal holds a diploma in accounting from Dubai Men’s College in 1999 and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences in Business Administration. He joined the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority in 1999 as the auditing department’s head. In 2003, he joined Dubai Shopping Festival as their Finance Manager, and was promoted to the Director of Finance and Administration position in 2005.
Mission and vision
Possessing a sharp understanding of the market and in-depth insight into the functioning of economies and international legislation, Al Sarkal has used his sharp vision and his prowess in operations control and strategic planning, which have been channelised into Shurooq’s continuous efforts in shaping Sharjah as a ‘city of the future’ on the one hand, and a ‘city rooted in longstanding traditions’ on the other.
As part of his mission for excellence, Al Sarkal has led every major enhancement Shurooq has made since inception, and is one of the longest tenured people at the Authority. He has spearheaded several of Shurooq’s crucial projects and initiatives, turning them into runway successes.
Al Sarkal has been instrumental in securing significant partnerships for Shurooq. He set up and led the largest ever Sharjah delegation to the USA, and has continually trained the expanding Shurooq team to be able to meet stringent international standards. He currently leads a team of more than 200 staff members and managers.
The Al Qasba destination in Sharjah, under Marwan Al Sarkal’s leadership and Shurooq’s dedicated development and promotion, has matured into a premier tourist attraction which is bringing international brands, and popular restaurants and cafes to the neighbourhood. Al Qasba’s annual growth rate in revenue rose by 117% in 2013 in comparison to 2012 figures.
Al Sarkal has led the transformation of the Al Majaz Waterfront into one of the most attractive leisure destinations in the region. He has overseen the development of Flag Island – home to the seventh tallest flagpole in the world measuring 123 metres when it was launched in 2012, an open-air 1000-seat amphitheatre, an art gallery, shops, restaurants and cafes. He established the concept of an eco-destination through the development of Kalba where the unique and pristine Al Jabel Resort, The Chedi Khorfakkan was launched.
Al Sarkal is also at the helm of the ‘Heart of Sharjah’ project; an unprecedented four-phase, 15-year historical restoration project aimed at preserving and revamping the heritage areas of Sharjah. This project will include the UAE’s first-ever Emirati hotel, Al Bait by GHM – to award visitors an unforgettable cultural experience and a true taste of heritage in the emirate.
The Shurooq Executive Chairman has also championed various other tourism and leisure enhancements in the emirate. Under his leadership, City Sightseeing started their first GCC operations in Sharjah in 2013. He was the visionary behind establishing Sharjah’s first waterpark – the Al Montazah Amusement and Water Park.
Under his leadership, the Maraya Art Centre has matured into becoming a premier contemporary art hub in Sharjah and a department in its own right, regularly hosting and participating in international exhibitions and acting as a springboard for local talent.
Leadership and Emiratisation
An exceptional leader and an excellent motivator, HE Marwan Al Sarkal has been instrumental in creating a friendly work environment for Shurooq’s employees, which has enabled them to create, innovate and openly express their ideas. He is an avid supporter of providing sufficient opportunities local talents through a dedicated management development programme, and lends a great deal of attention to Emirati staff to provide them with training to be highly qualified and efficient personnel. Sarkal has appointed Emirati nationals in key positions in each of Shurooq’s destination, resulting in talented UAE nationals filling 40% of the positions at Shurooq, including management positions.
Al Sarkal is a Board Member of the Sharjah Sports Club, a patron of Design Days Dubai, Board Member of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK), and a former Board Member of Sharjah Tourism and Development Authority (SCTDA).
Al Sarkal is a great orator, especially popular with the youth for his infectious energy and strong charisma. He has addressed the youth on several prestigious platforms including, ‘Vision2Reality’, the American University of Sharjah, Sharjah University, Sharjah Tatweer Forum, Sharjah Skyline College, Sharjah Men’s College, and at the Du Best campaign.
Awards and recognitions
HE Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal was also awarded with the Golden Friends of India Award, and was also named the Middle East CEO of the Year by the prestigious Burj CEO Awards, as well as the Best Official Spokesperson as part of the Sharjah Government Communication Award 2017.
Shurooq, under the guidance and leadership of HE Marwan Al Sarkal, is heading into 2017 on a confident note, with global credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s reaffirming Sharjah’s ‘A/A-1’ long-and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings.
Widely considered a key figure in Sharjah’s growth ambitions, Al Sarkal
plans to continue to discover and turn around fresh opportunities in the four identified sectors of tourism, environment, transport and logistics, through targeted development strategies. In 2017, he is determined to further enhance Shurooq’s role in facilitating investments in Sharjah by working ever more closely with investors, and easing processes within the government departments.