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Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

Saudi Arabian businessman
Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Saudi Arabian businessman
Is Businessperson Entrepreneur
From Austria
Type Business
Gender male
Birth 1 January 1959, Saudi Arabia
Age 61 years
The details


Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber (Arabic محمد بن عيسى الجابر, DIN 31635 Muḥammad bin ʿĪssā al-Ǧābir, born 1959 in Jeddah) is an Arab businessman and philanthropist. He is known for hotel and resort investments through the MBI Group, and for his philanthropy through the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, based in London. He lives in Paris, London, Vienna and Jeddah.

Business operations

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber is Founder, Chairman and CEO of the MBI Group.

The MBI Group activities include various entities including the following companies:

  • JJW Hotels & Resorts, including luxury hotels in Austria, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom, Amarante 4-star hotels in France, Portugal and Egypt as well as Median 3-star hotels Stars budget hotels in France
  • Jadawel International, a company developing residential compounds for expatriates in Saudi Arabia
  • Continentoil, and oil field services and petroleum company
  • Al Jaber is also a shareholder of AJWA Group for Food Industries, an agricultural and food processing company

In April 2011, Al Jaber announced that he owned 80% of the Group and mentioned a 300 million euro profit for the year 2010.

Al Jaber was listed as a billionaire in March 2013 by Forbes and in May 2014 featured in The Sunday Times Rich List at number 13, the highest entry for an Arab. Arabian Business's 2013 rich list 'The world's richest Arabs' puts Al Jaber at number 2 with $12.66bn. Bloomberg Billionaires gives his net worth as $8.24BN as of February 2017.


In 1982, Al Jaber founded Jadawel International Construction & Development. In 1989, JJW Hotels & Resorts was established in Portugal; it currently operates 60 hotel and leisure resorts in Europe and the Middle East. In 1992, AJWA Group for Agro and Food Industries, a company of which Al Jaber is a shareholder, commenced operations following the construction of the largest rice storage and processing facility in Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Islamic Port.

In 2003, Al Jaber opened negotiations to purchase J.A. Jones Construction, a US subsidiary of Philipp Holzmann construction group. However, the negotiations were not completed.

In 2003, Al Jaber's Dorrat Al Jadawel residential compound in Riyadh was one of those targeted in an Al Qaeda attack.


In September 2003, Al Jaber and Dr Nihad Ibrahim Pacha took over the management of Quinta Vale Da Gondra Hotel e SPA (Unipessoal) Lda.

In January 2008, Portuguese press revealed that Al Jaber is expanding his business in the Algarve and investing about €200 million to buy the Hotel Dona Filipa in Vale do Lobo, the golf course San Lourenzo in Quinta do Lago, the Hotel Penina and its 3 golf courses from Starman (a joint-venture between the Lehman Brothers bank and Starwood Capital Group). Other assets in the regions are the Pinheiros Altos Golf Resort and the Formosa Hotel. In 2013 JJW Hotels and Resorts took over the management of the Penina Hotel and Golf Resort, and also announced plans for a major refurbishment of the Dona Filipa. Mohsen MBI Al Jaber, son of Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, has held the role of Vice President of the Portugal sector of the MBI Group since October 2015.


In 2002, Al Jaber acquired the famous Grand Hotel, Vienna from the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways. He later acquired the premises of a former bank on Kärntner Ring and converted the building to the boutique Ring Hotel.

In October 2006, Al Jaber bought the Palais Corso, Vienna's premier luxury shopping and office complex from Generali Versicherung, for about €70 million.

In 2007, Al Jaber agreed to invest 10% in the building of the Vienna Tourism University (Modul University Vienna), a project handled by the Vienna Economic Chamber and provided scholarships for students there both personally and through his Foundation.

Also in 2007, JJW signed an agreement for the takeover and the expansion of the Palace Schwarzenberg Hotel in Vienna, along with Magnat Real Estate. However, delays to the project led to its cancellation. An amicable settlement was reached.

In the beginning of 2008, Al Jaber proposed to help the financially troubled Austrian Airlines with investments through taking a 20% stake in the company. However, he withdrew his offer in May 2008 after the company published its negative quarterly results, based on the grounds that the company intentionally withheld the actual level of trouble faced. Auditor Herbert Heiser, who was called by the court to consult in the legal dispute between AUA and Al Jaber, agreed with Al Jaber’s conclusions. He states in his report that rather than its officially declared profit of €3.3 million, the AUA should have revealed a hefty loss – of around €235 million.

In July 2008, Al Jaber took a 60% stake in Kneissl Holding GmbH, an Austrian manufacturer of sports equipment. JJA Beteiligungsverwaltungs GmbH bought the entire company in December 2012 for €1,98 million.

In 2008 Vienna's Trialog Institut named Al Jaber 'Man of the Year' for his work in promoting inter-cultural understanding. Presenting the award, Karl Blecha, former Federal Minister of the Interior and of the Austrian-Arabic Association, praised Al Jaber for his work towards building bridges through education and understanding and his support of peace, tolerance and democracy.


JJW Hotels & Resorts currently owns and operates a 4-star boutique hotel in Leeds, 42 The Calls and a 5-star luxury boutique hotel in Edinburgh, the Scotsman Hotel. JJW sees more scope to expand the portfolio by acquisition particularly in the United Kingdom.

In 2007, Al Jaber expanded the portfolio of the Guernsey-based JJW Hotels & Resorts group by acquiring The Eton Collection hotels for a reported £70 million. During the recession three years later, five of the hotels went into administration. A further two hotels were unaffected. The Westmont Hospitality, purchased the five hotels for £55 million. The London Berners Hotel, also owned by JJW Hotels & Resorts, was purchased by Marriott International.

In 2008, Al Jaber personally guaranteed three loans contracted by his hotel and food companies from Standard Bank. Following delays to repay the loans, the bank went to court in 2011, resulting in assets freezing, which Al Jaber declared resulted in a personal loss of $1.6 billion. The case was settled after the two parties reached a private settlement in December 2011.


The Group opened their first office in France in 1991.

The hotel empire of Al Jaber was initially started in France in 1988 and expanded to over 35 hotel properties in France and almost 80 in Europe.

In October 2008, it was announced that the Group planned to acquire a number of hotels in France from the Starwood Capital Group for $2billion but the deal was not concluded.

In April 2012, facing difficulties, JJW France requested the Paris Court of Commerce to place it under safeguards. Saveguard was granted. However, on the 16th of July, the Paris Commercial Court ordered JJW France to enter receivership. The Court of Appeal of Paris cancelled the receivership placement decision and confirmed the safeguards procedure on February 7, 2013

Personal life and philanthropy


Al Jaber is married and has three children. His children are all Trustees of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. His son Mohsen Al Jaber is Vice President of the MBI Group Portugal. In 2007 Al Jaber obtained Austrian nationality.

Committed philanthropist

MBI Al Jaber is the founder, sole patron and Chairman of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, founded in 2002, which is a UK registered charity governed by a Board of Trustees chosen for their areas of expertise in the Middle East, including Lord Young of Graffham, Sir Tim Lankester and Professor Peter Jones. The Foundation aims to build bridges between the Middle East and the wider world through the support of a range of educational and cultural activities and projects. The Foundation grew out of, and built upon, MBI Al Jaber's previous philanthropic activity Its activities include the provision of scholarships to students from the Middle East and various educational and cultural projects including capital grants and public-private partnerships. He has also backed female education in Saudi Arabia and is a UNESCO special envoy. Al Jaber founded the MBI Trust in London and subsequently endowed the MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London His philanthropic activity has been cited as a model of good practice within the UK. In 2000, he was founding patron of the London Middle East Institute at SOAS, directed by the MBI Al Jaber Chair. From 2002 to the present, the Foundation has been the main sponsor of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (part of The British Foundation for the Study of Arabia) at the British Museum and has an annual public lecture, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation lecture there. Since 2005, through the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, has been a main partner of Connecting Cultures, an educational initiative that promotes dialogue with young people from the western and Arab world via wilderness expeditions. In 2007, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation made a £1 million gift in support of the UCL Institute for Cultural Heritage. In 2009 The MBI Al Jaber Building, which won a RIBA award for architectural excellence in 2010 was inaugurated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford In 2012, the MBI Al Jaber Grand Hall was officially opened at the University of Westminster following a careful restoration of the historic Grade II listed hall, a project made possible by a donation through the MBI Al Jaber Foundation Also in 2012, MBI Al Jaber sponsored the International Conference of National Commissions for UNESCO "Euro-Arab Dialogue: Contribution to a New Humanism" held in Vienna and organized by UNESCO with the support of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation and followed this up in November 2013 with a meeting of experts to produce teaching resources. In February 2013, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation announced a joint programme with UNESCO to support education in Yemen. In 2014 Al Jaber donated funds through his Foundation to house the London Middle East Institute in new premises, the MBI Al Jaber Building, at SOAS, University of London, and the MBI Al Jaber lecture series is based there. Al Jaber's views on his philanthropy can be found in an interview in Philanthropy Age.

A published author committed to the freedom of media expression Al Jaber's book 'Yes, the Arabs can too', first published in Arabic in 2009, was published in English in September 2013. The book provides a contemporary Arab view on the changes that are being wrought both economically and socially across the region. Al Jaber has long been a supporter of a free press and its importance in society, and in 2013 launched a Media Training Institute in Sana'a, Yemen, offering free courses in all types of journalism and broadcasting.


Al Jaber holds the following honorary degrees and awards:

  • an Honorary Senatorship from the MODUL University Vienna (2013)
  • an Honorary Fellowship from UCL, London (2012)
  • an Honorary Fellowship from Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2009)
  • UN Spokesperson for Global Forums on Reinventing Government (2007)
  • an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from City University, London (2004)
  • an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Westminster (2004)
  • an Honorary Fellowship of London University at the School of Oriental and African Studies (2002)
  • UNESCO Special Envoy for Education, Tolerance, and Cultures to build peace and democracy (2004)
  • the ALECSO Gold Medal, for his support of UNESCO projects aimed at promoting education, culture and scientific activities in the Arab World
  • a Gold Medal of honour for special achievements in the economic and cross-cultural educational sectors of Vienna, presented by the Mayor of Vienna
  • the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Gold Medal, in recognition of his efforts to promote coexistence and foster a culture of tolerance and dialogue in a bid to enhance international cooperation.

Miscellaneous Information

Between 2010 and 2012, Jadawel International was cited in various reports published by New York based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the topic of Saudi restrictive residency laws. Following investigation, Human Rights Watch’s 2013 World report is not reporting any further issues and has cleared the company. In fact, Al Jaber's Foundation has signed an agreement with Human Rights Watch to support civil society and promote human rights in the Arab World.

In 2011, proceedings were filed against the Non-Executive Chairman of AJWA group for Food Industries, for facts being documented in the company records by members of the company administration. The charges were against the Non-Executive Chairman of Ajwa, for acts that were performed by the employees of the company, and resulted in the company being fined. In February 2013, Al Jaber was exonerated of any wrongdoing by the Head of Appeals Attorney General. Al Jaber is now a shareholder of the company.

In May 2011, Al Jaber publicly denounced a defamation campaign by Austrian Media which had sought to imply financial difficulties in some of the companies that Al Jaber had invested in. He accused the newspapers of reporting a one-sided version of events.

From 2007, Berners Hotel and JJW were embroiled in lawsuits with several UK based construction companies due to lack of payment for efforts expended. Chorus and Shepherds Construction companies abandoned the project and sought legal remedies for non payment from Berners.

Marriott later acquired the Berners Hotel out of administration.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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