More trouble at UDC (Pearl of Qatar) after the resignation of its top executive?

United Development Company (UDC), the developer and operator of the man-made island the Pearl-Qatar, said yesterday its managing director and president Khalil Sholy has resigned with immediate effect. UDC said in a statement posted on the Qatar Exchange. UDC, which has interests in hospitality, retail, transport and real estate, is the master developer of the Pearl, the mixed-use development built on an artificial island north of Doha.

The move comes weeks after the authorities imposed a ban on alcohol at all Food and Beverage outlets in the Pearl, which resulted in an immediate 50% drop in sales. The luxury retail section has also been underperforming, UDC failing to attract key anchor tenants such as Gucci, Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel or Dior. United Fashion Company, a subsidiary of UDC was set up to operate franchises of less attractive brands such as Calvin Klein Collection, Domenico Vacca, Etro, George Jensen, Gianfranco Ferre, Harmont & Blaine, Rene Caovilla, Salvatore Ferragamo, Santoni and Stefano Ricci. UDC is controlled by Al Fardan family, whose business interests include: The St Regis Hotel Doha (due to open next month), the exclusive import and distribution of BMW in Qatar, the exclusive distributor of several prestigious watch and jewellery brands (Piaget, Chaumet, Harry Winston, Brequet, Piaget etc).