Colm McLoughlin was one of a team of ten from Aer Rianta (the Irish Airport Authority) who moved to Dubai in 1983 at the request of the Dubai Government to set up Dubai Duty Free.
Following the successful opening of Dubai Duty Free in 1983, Colm was asked to remain as General Manager of the start-up operation and later became the Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free.
In July 2011, Colm was named Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free and its subsidiary businesses, which include The Irish Village both in Garhoud and in Riverland Dubai at Dubai Parks and Resorts, The Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, home to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.
Under Colm’s direction, Dubai Duty Free has grown dramatically over the past 34 years from US$20 million (1984) to US$1.93 billion in 2017.
Employing 6,100 staff, Dubai Duty Free is widely regarded for having set the benchmark for the duty free industry in the region and has won over 600 awards including the Frontier Awards for Airport Retailer of the Year in Single Location. More recently, the retailer was presented with the Gulf Business Awards for ‘Retail Company of the Year’ and ‘Gulf Business Company of the Year’ and was also named ‘Employer of the Year’ at The Filipino Times Awards.
Colm McLoughlin was also presented with several awards including the ‘Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award’ in 2014. In 2017, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of the University (DUniv) by the Middlesex University Dubai, as part of its celebration of the academic success of its Class of 2017. He was honoured for his contribution to UAE society and outstanding service to the aviation sector as a key player in the region’s retail sector for 34 years.
A keen philanthropist, Colm established the Dubai Duty Free Foundation in 2004 and since then has supported 40 local and 53 overseas charities and plays an active role in helping families and children in need.