BREAKING: Colm McLoughlin to retire as Cidambi takes on DDF reins as MD

By Luke Barras-hill |

Colm McLoughin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, will call time on his remarkable operational career with the travel retailer later this month.

Duty free and travel retail industry pioneer Colm McLoughlin is to stand down as Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free from 31 May, the Dubai Airports-based travel retailer has announced.

The prodigious Irishman hailing from Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, who was a member of the fabled consultancy team at Irish airport authority Aer Rianta contracted by the Dubai government to launch a new duty free operation in 1983, retires following 55 remarkable years at the helm of the travel retailer, which as reported hit a record US$2.16 billion in 2023 – it’s 40th anniversary year.

Beginning his career in the 1960s with high street retailer Woolworths, McLoughlin moved to head up operations at Shannon Duty Free where he honed his skills as a shopkeeper.

His tenure at Dubai Duty Free has produced what is today the single largest airport duty free operation in the world.

McLoughlin will remain in an advisory role, attend sponsored sporting events and retain his position as Chairman of the Dubai Duty Free Foundation.

In a dual announcement, effective 1 June, Current COO of Dubai Duty Free Ramesh Cidambi will become Managing Director, reporting directly to H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, while current Joint COO Salah Tahlak will become Deputy Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free.

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