Mohamed Al-Fayed is an Egyptian business billionaire who owns The Hotel Ritz in Paris, a big palatial hotel. He bought the hotel in 1979, and it is now considered one of the world’s most renowned and expensive hotels. He was also the former owner of Harrods Department Store, an upscale department store on Knightsbridge’s Brompton Road, which he sold to Qatar Holdings in 2010. He began demonstrating his entrepreneurial ability while still in school when he began selling home-made lemonade. He is an astute businessman with commercial holdings all around the world. He married the sister of a powerful businessman when he was young, and with the help of his brother-in-law, he eventually established his own businesses. Despite the fact that his marriage was short-lived, he was able to establish himself as a successful businessman as a result of it. With his brothers, he created a shipping enterprise in Egypt, which quickly extended to Italy and England. He made links with other worldwide business moguls and acquired control of a number of profitable companies around the world. He is also a philanthropist who established the Al-Fayed Charitable Foundation to help children with life-threatening illnesses and those from low-income families.
Childhood and Adolescence
Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on January 17, 1929, as the eldest son of a primary school teacher. He has two brothers and two sisters who are his younger siblings.
From a young age, he showed an interest in the business. He began selling homemade lemonade as a schoolboy and later tried his hand at a variety of other businesses.
Career of Mohamed Al-Fayed
In 1954, he was hired by his brother-in-law Adnan Khashoggi, an international businessman, to work in his import-export business in Saudi Arabia. Mohamed was exposed to the worldwide business scene as a result of this.
In Egypt, he co-founded a shipping company with his brothers. He relocated the company’s headquarters to Italy after a few years and opened further offices in London.
François Duvalier, the President of Haiti, and geologist George de Mohrenschildt were among the famous businessmen and important personalities with whom he formed strong bonds during the 1960s.
He also met Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Rashid al Makhtoum, who believed Fayed could assist in the transformation of Dubai and entrusted him with the task. In 1966, he became a financial consultant to Brunei’s then-Sultan, Omar Ali Saifuddien III, and introduced British businesses to the Emirates to carry out the country’s development’s essential construction works.
In 1974, he relocated to the United Kingdom and changed his name to “al.” During the 1970s, he concentrated on acquiring profitable enterprises, such as the Ritz Hotel in Paris, which he purchased for $30 million in 1979. When he bought the hotel, its reputation was deteriorating. Within a few years, he had returned it to its former magnificence, and it is now recognized as one of “The Leading Hotels of the World.”
In 1984, Al-Fayed and his brothers bought a 30% share in House of Fraser, which included the iconic London store Harrods. The brothers bought the remaining 70% of the House of Fraser the next year, angering Roland Rowland, the head of Lonrho, the holding company that owned Harrods and had planned to buy the House of Fraser.
Rowland pressed the UK government to investigate the Fayed brothers, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) initiated an investigation into the Fayeds. Al-Fayed eventually demonstrated his solvency, yet he was still regarded with mistrust.
In 1986, he obtained a 50-year lease on the duke and duchess of Windsor’s Parisian house and immediately began repair work. In 1989, the home was properly reopened, and he was awarded the Plaque de Paris, the city’s highest honor.
In 1997, Al-Fayed paid £6.25 million to buy the freehold of Fulham F.C., a professional football club based in West London. Years later, in 2013, he sold the club to Shahid Khan, an American billionaire.
In 2010, he sold Harrods to Qatar Holdings, the emirate of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, for £1.5 billion.
Achievements & Awards
The Highlands of Scotland tourist board honored him with the “Freedom of the Highlands” award in 2002 for his “exceptional contribution and commitment to the highlands.”
Personal History and Legacy
In 1954, he married Samira Khashoggi, the sister of Adnan Khashoggi, a renowned international businessman. Although this marriage only lasted two years, it resulted in the birth of a son.
In 1985, he married Heini Wathén, a former model and socialite from Finland. The couple is the parents of four children.
In 1987, he launched the Al-Fayed Charitable Foundation with the goal of assisting sick and impoverished children. In the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Mongolia, the foundation works with charities that help disadvantaged and abandoned children.
Dodi Fayed, his eldest son from his first marriage, died in a car accident in 1997. Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales, were romantically linked and were traveling together when their car crashed, killing them both.