Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahayan 1969 -2010
31 March 2010
The untimely death of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan’s younger brother and son of the founder of the UAE, the legendary Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahayan, has plunged the UAE into mourning. After a four day search, Sheikh Ahmed’s body was found in Rabat, Morocco where his glider plane crashed into a reservoir. On 30th March President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan announced the tragic death of Sheikh Ahmed to the UAE. He was in his early forties.
Sheikh Ahmed was the managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) as well as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works. Believed to possess assets of around $500 billion to $700 billion, ADIA’s financial supremacy during a time of great economic upheaval was a compelling symbol of Abu Dhabi’s international primacy.
Though reclusive by nature, Sheikh Ahmed’s superlative leadership at ADIA, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, had gained him international renown. In 2009, Forbesmagazine ranked him as the 27th most powerful person in the world. Sheikh Ahmed worked as a European equities analyst at ADIA for six years before becoming managing director. His friends and colleagues remember him for his humility, “For us, Sheikh Ahmed was very humble and unpretentious, highly accurate and realistic in organising and planning,” said a work associate.
Applauded for his economic insights, Sheikh Ahmed stated in ADIA’s first annual review published in March: “World equity markets, already down by more than 40% in dollar terms [in 2008], fell a further 23% to their lows in March 2009.” He further stated that in the following months, “a significant recovery in economic activity and substantial gains in world equity markets” had been witnessed. Sheikh Ahmed gave a soberly realistic assessment of the state of the international economy, “considerable uncertainty remains about the outlook for 2010. Most pressing is the sustainability of the economic recovery.”
As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Zayed Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works, Sheikh Ahmed volunteered in several humanitarian and charitable societies within the UAE and abroad.