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The man of all seasons – Yusuff Ali

Yusuff Ali is arguably the Greatest achiever Kerala has seen so far. but one believes his best is yet to Come.

Despite being in an extraordinary class of the wealthiest person in the world, Mr. Yusuff Ali M.A. is someone who tries to keep to himself and not run behind publicity. But the tabloid loves him. How could they not? He does more than just make money. He’s a trendsetter. India is a country of youth that are crazy about two things—movies and cricket. We love when the hero punches their way out of every obstacle, bulldozing through every larger than life villain, and finally winning their lady love. Then we love when Sachin bashes any bowler that dares to stand up to him. But for many malayalis in particular, a youth icon will be Yusuff Ali.

There is a good reason to that. He makes a statement out of whatever he does. Mr. Yusuff Ali dares to do what most people won’t. His actions clearly suggest that he doesn’t care about money as much as honor. Money probably follows him because the Gandhi in every rupee note understands that this man is here for a good cause. The man has significant equity in the London based East India Company. EIC had grown into the largest trading house in the world, accounting for nearly half of the global trade at one point. Now when gentlemen like Yusuff Ali are reviving this company that has been dormant for a long time, it is a matter of pride for all Indians as we suffered for long under the British monarchy.

Yusuff Ali was a hot topic after his $170 million purchase of the iconic Scotland Yard building in London, which he plans to convert into a luxury hotel. Not even the Malayalam movies have seen a protagonist like that. He showed the people to dare and think big. His larger than life personna amongst the people still doesn’t change the man he is. He still believes in the basic of things. That man would talk to you the same way he would talk to a Barrack Obama or Narendra Modi. He would talk to you with politeness and humility. The man is expanding his $6.5 billion revenue as we speak. His LuLu Group is a retailing empire of 119 hypermarkets, supermarkets and grocery outlets, and a dozen malls, with new stores in Africa, Southeast Asia and India. But the people of Kerala adore him for the one in the city of Kochi. Lulu Mall in Kochi is the largest shopping mall in India. It is also the 80th largest shopping mall in world. 1.7 million square feet is a lot of space but, you’ll probably find it jam packed if you are planning to make it a visit over there in the weekends. Now what is so fascinating about this is that at the time when Lulu Mall opened in March 2013, not many expected it to be a grandiose success.

Kerala didn’t have much of a mall culture before. There were so many malls in Kerala even before Lulu Mall came into existence. Nobody seemed to fancy it so much, however, as footfalls across any mall in Kerala was dropping. Retail business saw a decline in general. But Yusuff Ali believed in his venture. He didn’t care what the experts thought. He had a larger understanding than any of us. It was pandemonium when Lulu Mall finally opened.

The shopping culture that was slowly dying was more than just resurrected. Critics were all in amusement. Even two CoVer story Lulu Hypermarket, Abu Dhabi, their first venture into the hypermarket retail business years later people still can’t have enough of the mall. Agra has TajMahal, Delhi has The Red Fort, Mumabi has Gateway of India and, Kochi has Lulu Mall. Yusuff Ali himself is very meticulous of how Lulu Mall functions. Once a customer in the Lulu Mall asked an employee there that how do they even handle such a huge crowd. The man said that they are exceptionally well trained by the management and that hospitality is the most important thing for them. They try to attend to everyone even if it a million people there. He said there was an instance when one of the employee missed out on a customer and Yusuff Ali from some corner of the earth immediately called him up to put that under his notice, so that the customer gets the royal treatment that they deserve. Everyone is watching each other over there.

They take great pride in putting up a certain standard that Kerala has not seen before. There is no big or small job. Everything needs to be given its place and value. Such ethics is probably what took Yusuff Ali so much ahead in life. today he has 115 lulu hypermarket outlets and still counting. the group boasts an annual turnover of $6.5bn globally, and is one of the largest indian-owned conglomerates in the Gulf, employing more than 35,000 people from over 37 countries. Early days Yusuff Ali was born in Thrissur district on November 15, 1955. After doing his schooling from Nattika in Thrissur, he moved to Gujarat where he did his diploma in Business Management & Administration. It was in 1973, that he left to Abu Dhabi where his uncle, MK Abdullah, the Chairman and the founder of the EMKE Group of companies was running his business. Yusuff Ali was slowly transforming the way they did business. Yusuff Ali diversified the businessto include import and distribution of frozen products from Europe and the US. They then slowly included both food & non-food categories. The group also started cold storages, meat and food processing plants, large-scale import and distribution to hotel groups, catering companies, and shipping services. By the 1980s, the group had a sizeable share of the wholesale and retail food market in the UAE.For his efforts, he even got the NRI Exporter of The Year in 1994. Their progress made them think about starting the hypermarket business, which the eventually did. He started his first Lulu Hypermarket in the early 1990s. those days uae was seeing huge changes in the retail sector. Very soon, lulu hypermarket in abu dhabi became the one stop destination for all shoppers of abu dhabi.

There was no looking back for Yusuff Ali since. Today he has 119 Lulu Hypermarket outlets and still counting. The group boasts an annual turnover of $6.5bn globally, and is one of the largest Indian-owned conglomerates in the Gulf, employing more than 35,000 people from over 37 countries. Today he is an owner of an Embraer Legacy 600 jet, he’s planning to buy a Gulfstream 550. acheivements& honors In recognition of his remarkable achievements in Business & Industry and his distinguished services in the field of Social Work, he was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award by H.E. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Hon’ble President of India on 05th May, 2008. He was the first Non-resident Indian from the Gulf and the Middle East countries to be honored with this coveted award by the Government of India. There were so many in his hometown so overjoyed with the man’s achievement that they celeberated as if he was one of their own. They would spend money out of their pockets to make huge postcards and billboards. They are not really aware of the accomplishments of Yusuff Ali. But they have been benefitted by this man whenever they were in a need. Yusuff Ali always made sure that he gave back to the community. Perhaps that is why he has won so many of their prayers. He values that above all the other riches. Taking into consideration his outstanding achievement in the field of business and in recognition of his valuable contribution in promoting the honour and prestige of India and in fostering the interests of overseas Indians, he has been conferred with the prestigious “Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award” the highest Indian Government Award given to Non-Resident Indians by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the Hon’ble President of India at Mumbai in January, 2005.

The crowning glory in his career came when he was overwhelmingly elected by the U.A.E. business community as the Director Board member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ADCCI). This was the first time that elections were held for the ADCCI and expatriate was elected to the Director Board of one of the world’s most prosperous and wealthy business regulatory authorities. In addition to this, he was also unanimously elected by the Board members as the Vice-chairman of the prestigious Trade Committee of the ADCCI. After four years, in the year 2009, the U.A.E business community re-elected him to the Director Board of ADCCI with a thumping majority. In the year 2014 he was again re-elected for a third time and he is the only non-Arab to be elected to the Director Board of ADCCI consecutively for a record third time. according to the forbes listing, yusuff ali is currently the 24th wealthiest indian and the 737th richest in the world, with a personal wealth of $3.7 billion.he has been first on the list of the Top 100 most powerful indians in the Gulf multiple times.

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