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Khaldoon Mubarak, CEO, Mubadala Development Company

  • Story Highlights
  • Khaldoon Mubarak is the 32-year old CEO of Mubadala Development Company
  • He a board member of ALDAR Properties, Dolphin Energy and First Gulf Bank
  • Mubadala owns stakes in Dolphin Energy, Ferrari and the Carlyle Group
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(CNN) -- Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak is CEO of Mubadala Development Company. In this role, he oversees the delivery of an aggressive investment strategy, generating significant financial returns and driving sustainable economic development in the United Arab Emirates.

Mubarak at the signing of the February deal with F1 that will see Abu Dhabi host a Formula One race in 2009

Khaldoon is also chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority of the Government of Abu Dhabi. This specialized government agency is mandated to provide strategic policy advice to the chairman of Abu Dhabi's Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

In addition, Mubarak is a board member of First Gulf Bank and also holds positions on the boards of ALDAR Properties, Dolphin Energy Limited and the philanthropic Emirates Foundation. He is chairman of The Imperial College London Diabetes Center, vice chairman of the supervisory board of LeasePlan Corporation and vice chairman of Piaggio Aero, the leading Italian Aerospace company. All of these organizations are wholly or partly owned by Mubadala Development Company.

CNN's John Defterios met Mubarak in Abu Dhabi and began by asking him about Mubadala's recent purchase of a 7.5 percent stake in the U.S. investment firm, Carlyle Group for $1.35 billion.

Defterios: In the past we've talked about a return or a double-bottom line for Mubadala when you approach investments. One is a financial return, the other is a strategic return. How does Carlyle fit into a double bottom-line for Mubadala?

Mubarak: If you look at the areas Carlyle has focused on - aerospace, energy, power, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare - these are all areas you find Mubadala very aggressively acting in. And the synergies that we see, the potential partnerships that can be created through this investment are endless. So it's a very good fit for us, it's a very good deal for Mubadala and I think it's the right step.

Defterios: As you know, a Chinese firm took a non-voting stake in the Blackstone Group before its IPO, $3 Billion but has seen that investment tumble. What makes you confident that this will play out differently for Mubadala?

Mubarak: We've met with all the executives at Carlyle, we've looked at their track record. Their track record speaks for itself. We're confident in all the due diligence work we've done, and I think this investment will pay off handsomely for us in the years to come.

Defterios: It's interesting, you were in Washington closing this deal, three weeks ago I see you in South East Asia on a real estate development and in between you're in Manza with your F1 obligations in Italy. I take it that speed is of the essence these days. You're moving at such a rapid speed in all directions at this stage.

Mubarak: I'm getting used to sleeping on planes, let me put it that way.

Defterios: That's an understatement. Seriously, the speed is quite impressive.

Mubarak: It's been a tremendous roller coaster ride over the last couple of years, and the growth in Abu Dhabi, the growth in the region and the growth that Mubadala has gone through is tremendous. It requires people like me, executives in this company and executives across the board to be running around and making sure we get the right deals and the right partnerships and making sure we have a sustainable growth strategy.

Defterios: You have a wide-ranging portfolio. If you look at it, it doesn't seem to blend or come together. Dolphin energy, a huge natural gas project in this region, majority holder. Five percent stake in Ferrari. I mean how do we know that's not just a vanity investment for Ferrari? How does that fit in to your long term strategy?

Mubarak: Well Ferrari has been a very exciting and interesting investment for us. Again, right off the bat, it's a financial investment, it makes a lot of sense, it provides the right returns for us. But beyond that, we created a strategic alliance with Ferrari. Two years later, we have a Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. That couldn't have happened without that entry point, in Ferrari.

Dolphin is another great story for us because this was a project that seven years ago, was a dream. I remember talking to people about building a pipeline between Qatar and the UAE to transport gas, and people frankly looked at me and said, "you're nuts, that's not gonna happen." Well here we are, it's 2007, gas is flowing from Qatar to the UAE and it's done.

Defterios: How do you avoid the eventual backlash here that seems to be brooding or percolating at this stage? Are there merits to the argument that this is just oil-wealth being redeployed and not a level playing field?

Mubarak: Mubadala now is focusing on creating a good corporate institution. It's a totally different ball game than maybe 10 years ago or maybe 15 years ago, with the type of corporations and institutions that are now coming up in the region, and the approach they are taking in the investment strategies that they are pursuing.

Defterios: We are sitting in an extremely grand Emirates Palace Hotel, a $3 billion structure. You have an urban plan that goes out to 2030. What's this going to tell us about Abu Dhabi in this time frame? We don't know much about this Emirate in the last 10 years.


Mubarak: Abu Dhabi has typically been very conservative in its approach. We've always taken a lot of care towards planning, towards strategic thinking, in any sector we are involved in.

It's a 23-year plan that looks at the growth of the city and makes sure that the growth of the city is in line with the aspirations of the government, with the aspirations of the people and in line with the type of developments that are being put forward from the real estate private sector and the industrial sector that is now growing at a pace that you don't see in many other places. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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