2008, 2009 were tough years for the business and for the employees.  Jobs were lost, positions were shot down and salaries chopped.  Many lost their steady income including deserving and non-deserving employees.  Senior employees were visible targets for redundancy due to their HNC (High Net Cost) to enterprise.  

Fast forward to Jan 14, 2014 – I attended an event at Canadian University presided by Colm McLoughlin -Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free who has served in the industry for around 40 years. It was a delight listening to his wit, wisdom and charm.  I could observe three key traits that personify his success.  And I call it PEC

–        PASSION

–        ENERGY

–        CONNECT

Let me share what I mean by PEC (Passion, Energy and Connect).

PASSION: He has served in the Duty Free industry for around 40 years and going strong. His experience has been enriched with the growing industry but what personified his true passion was his romance with NUMBERS.   And numbers are measureable.  Numbers don’t lie or hide. Numbers are easy to understand and measurable.  Numbers have appeal with masses and with the top echelons as well.  He reflected a command over numbers whether it was regarding business or people. A second tangible aspect of passion is INNOVATION and DDF has introduced numerous innovations along its journey.  Hence, my message is feed your industry Passion with NUMBERS and INNOVATION.

ENERGY: He demonstrated Energy, getting up and moving around the stage even when not demanded.  This reflected his hands on attitude and leadership skills.  Energy was also reflected in his narration of life incidences particularly during an instance when during a DDF inaugural service he personally took out USD and Pound currency notes to educate the retail staff.  Or his visit to the Dubai Gold market to purchase and carry back gold so that retail space could be complemented. Hence my message is get up, move and be the mover.

CONNECT: His full team of senior Managers was present in the auditorium and whenever a question was put forward with respect to a specific function he would recoganise the right authority within his business.  And the icing on the cake was at the final countdown; he called on names and titles of his senior team members in the audience.  This reflected TEAM and how connected he is with his team.  Message is connect to RECOGNIZE, RESPECT and REWARD.

To conclude I would say my take home value were the three skills important to succeed in this fiercely competitive world and they are PASSION – passion for your industry sprinkled with innovation and numbers; ENERGY – willingness to get up and run; CONNECT connect with your colleagues, employees and people that matter.


  1. I meet him twice each year at his office for the last 10 years and wherever he is when i drop a mail seeking an appointment, i get a reply within 48 hours. I remember, he took me and introduced me in person to all his senior management team one by one and took me on a site visit, once he moved to the new DDF headquarter and on the way he met porters whom he knew by the first names. Remember out of 100 first staff including management 75 are still with him and rest have retired. Being into Executive Search business, I have not done AED business with him as all his management team has grown up internally. Just like spending an hour with him, all alone every 6 months, Cheers, Banerji

    • Thank you for sharing. He did mention 44 first batch employees left in the DDF service wherein 4 retired late last year.

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