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Business Leader of the Week: Meet Mishal Hamed Kanoo, Chairman of Kanoo Group

IFM_Mishal Hamed Kanoo
Mishal Hamed Kanoo was listed as one of the Top 100 Powerful Arabs in 2017 and The World's Richest Arabs in 2019

Founded in Bahrain in 1890 by the late Haji Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo, the Kanoo Group has grown from its humble beginnings as a trading and shipping company into a diverse multinational corporation with a global presence.

One of the most notable facets of Kanoo Group is its unwavering commitment to adaptability and evolution. Over the years, the group has strategically expanded its operations across a spectrum of industries including shipping, travel, logistics, industrial, energy and more. This diversification has not only enabled it to weather economic storms, but has also positioned it as a dynamic and forward-looking company.

The importance of Kanoo Group in the shipping industry cannot be overstated. As one of the largest independent shipping agencies in the world, it offers comprehensive maritime services including ship agency, animal husbandry and marine engineering. With an extensive network of offices and branches, the company has established a solid presence in major ports and trade centres around the world.

The Group’s success is deeply rooted in its core values of integrity, customer focus and continuous innovation. It has always earned the trust of its customers and partners through its relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to providing quality services.

Additionally, Kanoo Group promotes a culture of corporate social responsibility and is actively engaged in philanthropic endeavours and sustainability initiatives that benefit the communities in which it operates.

As Kanoo Group marches into the future, it continues to leverage its rich history, global reach and diverse expertise to explore new opportunities and address emerging challenges. With a legacy of excellence, adaptability and innovation, Kanoo Group remains a beacon of success in the business world, inspiring others to follow in its footsteps and redefine what is possible in the ever-evolving global marketplace.

The person who took forward the Kanoo Group and expanded in the UAE after Hamed Kanoo (third generation to run the Kanoo family business) is his son Mishal Hamed Kanoo, an Emirati business magnate and Chairman of the company.

    Who Is Mishal Hamed Kanoo?

  • Mishal Hamed Kanoo was born and brought up in Dubai, UAE to the Kanoo family
  • He holds a double major bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA degree in Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, United States
  • In 1991, fresh out of university, Mishal Hamed Kanoo joined the family firm as an Assistant Shipping Manager
  • He left the business for a time to pursue higher learning and later earned a second MBA at the American University of Sharjah, where later he became a visiting lecturer on a course in Family Business
  • Mishal Hamed Kanoo worked at Arthur Andersen in Dubai as an auditor before returning to the Kanoo Group as the Deputy Chairman in 1997
  • In 2015, he took over the role as the Chairman of the company after the death of Chairman Yusuf Ahmed Kanoo
  • Mishal Hamed Kanoo was listed as one of the Top 100 Powerful Arabs in 2017 and The World’s Richest Arabs in 2019
  • He was a columnist for MONEYworks Magazine, Arabian Business, Gulf Business and 7days
  • Apart from family business, Mishal Hamed Kanoo is also a professional and motivational speaker and holds chief positions as Chairman/ Director of other companies including Dubai Express LLC/ Freightworks, Johnson Arabia LLC, Wolffkran Arabia LLC etc
  • According to Forbes, as of January 2023, Mishal Hamed Kanoo’s real time net worth is around USD 4 Billion

‘Something Goes Up Extraordinarily, It Will Also Come Back Down’

In an interview with Arabian Business, Mishal Hamed Kanoo talked about how his business is responding to the new oil and gas environment.

“One of the benefits of a family business is that you can have a long-term view rather than a short-term approach. Kanoo is not a publicly listed company, which means I don’t have outside shareholders that I have to worry about performing every year. We can therefore look and see what trends there are in the economy or in a sector within the economy and take a long-term view. We all know the industry is cyclical. Many factors determine when the cycle starts, when it ends and how long it lasts, but cycles are usually of a five- to seven-year duration. If something goes up extraordinarily, it will also come back down. Unfortunately, though, the pendulum never swings in a balanced way. It is either extremely high or extremely low until it reaches the medium and the pendulum starts to swing again,” Mishal Hamed Kanoo said.

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