Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breaking News: CEO of the Wave, Nick Smith, 'resigns'

In Breaking news last night now confirmed, I’m very reliably informed that Nick Smith, CEO of The Wave development, has ‘resigned’ with immediate effect, and that several more senior management ‘resignations’ are expected very soon.

Photo: Nick Smith ex-CEO of the Wave Development

Nick seems to have done a great job at the Wave. The Wave is the country’s first Integrated Tourist Development, explicitly backed by the Oman Government - Waterfront Investments and National Investment Funds Company (representing Omani Pension Funds) - and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. They've won countless awards, actually delivered properties, and were early enough to sell a fair few.

Presumably, now that the first phases are completed, and things are generally in order, the shareholders (who coincidentally had a shareholder meeting in Muscat yesterday) figure they can cut costs and get rid of the expensive Expats.

More news to come on this as it happens...

Maybe there's a job for Nick at Blue City... they could do with the help!

Here's his recent interview with Dossier Magazine.

CEO Nick Smith Speaks Candidly with Dossier Magazine

You last spoke to OER Dossier in September 2008. Since that time what progress has been made at The Wave, Muscat?
Construction at The Wave, Muscat is well underway with over 800 homes now under construction in different phases which have already been launched. We currently have nearly 5,000 men working on the con¬struction site. The main access way into the development has been completed allowing our first customers to move into their prop¬erties. Over 70 handovers to customers have been completed to date and by the end of 2009 we expect to have completed over 300 properties.
The outer arms of the marina have been completed allowing the start of the marina walls to be placed in the near future. The outer reef has also progressed with 100m of that now visible above the sea. Lakes and waterways excavation is also underway and lake lining is in progress. Accumulation of materials for the golf course is in readiness for commencement of construction.

What has been the impact of global financial crisis on The Wave, Muscat?
The current global economic climate does pose a few challenges for us. However, the situ¬ation in Oman is different as prudent financial policies by the government coupled, with lim¬ited international investment in Oman have helped ease the situation. Our banks continue to grant some mortgage loans to our custom¬ers, which is an excellent sign of commitment to the real estate market in the Sultanate and confidence in our project. There is no doubt that more mortgage funding will be needed as the tourism projects develop.

At The Wave, Muscat our attention will be focused on building our strengths and in the timely delivery of our units which have already been sold. We have invested heavily in our customer service to home owners, right from the moment of purchase and also to those who have already moved into their homes at The Wave, Muscat, ensuring customer confidence and satisfaction is of paramount importance to us. We are backed by strong investors, the Omani Government (Waterfront Investments and National Investment Funds Company (representing Omani Pension Funds), and the UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group. Their unwavering support to create a master planned community for real people to live, work and visit is a vision which shall move steadily towards fruition. We have already established our leadership position in the market and we are currently positioned to become the new heart of Muscat. Real estate investments are still the safest investments and The Wave, Muscat is simply the best location to buy a home in Oman.

Some residents are already settled in their new homes. What has been their feedback of life at The Wave, Muscat?
The Wave, Muscat has recently been accorded the ISO 9001:2008 certification for excellence in customer service making the company the first property developer in Oman to win ISO accreditation for adherence
to high quality management systems in customer services. This service has been embraced by our homeowners and a recent survey has revealed a 95% customer satisfaction rating. We are acting on customers’ feedback. It is their home and we need to listen to what they say, whenever we can.

The Wave, Muscat recently won a number of awards at the CNBC Arabian Property Awards and Homes Overseas Awards. What do you believe was the key to these achievements?
Our recognition on the international and regional real estate platforms can be attributed to the company’s commitment to adopt best quality practices in building a world-class tourist and residential development which respects the culture and heritage of Oman. The judges often refer to this. We have continued to exceed the expectations of our customers whilst optimizing the financial, business and social returns for our stakeholders. Our proven delivery track record and construction moving according to the schedule has established our position as the market leader who promises a sound investment. Our home designs combine the best in contemporary design with traditional Omani flair thereby creating a truly multicultural community living experience. To win the Best Architecture in Arabia award in Florida in November last year was a huge accolade. Homes Overseas gave us Silver in the Best Development Worldwide in 2008. This is a true comfort for us and our customers – we are going for Gold this year!

Are there any sales releases planned for this year?
Compared to other GCC countries, real estate market in Oman is still in its formative stage. The demand for quality housing still remains high. There is a large segment of the Omani and expatriate population based in Oman who still have a huge appetite for quality real estate products. Our business achievements confirm that we are significantly ahead of the competition. We do have some apartments and villas for sale now. But the current economic conditions cannot be overlooked. We shall continue to keep a watchful eye on the market conditions. We will release more units if conditions are right for us and the purchasers.

As the project is now well established, how do you in your role ensure that employee motivation stays up given the duration of such a large project?
For me, employee motivation in a real estate development like The Wave, Muscat, which is continuously changing everyday, is ensuring that our employees love what they do, enjoy coming to work everyday and thrive with the challenges of being part of the first ITC in Oman. It is our recruitment strategy to encourage people who are looking for a workplace that will treat them well, give them a happy work environment, excellent opportunity to enhance their skills and a career path which is in line with their own ambitions of growth. At The Wave, Muscat conscious strategies have been put in place to ensure that employees remain enthusiastic. They receive unlimited support and encouragement to face and conquer their challenges. Their achievements are recognized and rewarded throughout their career path with us.


  1. "...they can cut costs and get rid of the expensive Expats."
    My mental scream "WHY?" has partially subsided...

    Letz see where he heads...

  2. I remember the "expensive expat" cut at subair auto months ago

  3. Reuters apparently gets confirmation... but 'No comment' all round ...

    Reuters via Trade Arabia

    The Wave Muscat CEO steps down
    Muscat: 6 hours and 24 minutes ago

    The chief executive of Oman's $2.5 billion waterfront property development company The Wave Muscat, which is 50 percent owned by Dubai's Majid Al-Futtaim Group, has resigned, an industry source said.

    "Nick Smith's resignation was accepted on Monday and a new acting CEO of the company has been appointed," he told Reuters.

    Nick Smith and spokesmen at the company declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

    Work on The Wave began in April 2007 and over 300 villas and apartments have been handed over to owners, it said in a statement earlier this year.

    State-owned Waterfront Investments and Investment Funds Company own the remaining 50 percent of the firm.
    - Reuters

  4. This will be when they appoint an inexperienced Indian for a third of the salary. Wait for the corruption and back handers to commence and this project go tits up.

  5. If I were a Wave property owner, I'd be worried about such a blatantly shabby action.

    I suppose that in exchange for his "resignation," Mr. Smith received a final payout and had to sign a confidentiality agreement. Will we ever really know what was said and done?

  6. What a crying shame. A dedicated and brilliant individual snubbed through sheer ignorance. Pearls before ....

  7. So because Nick's white it is automatically assumed that he was doing a brilliant job, wasn't corrupt, and was probably unjustly fired from his job?

    I am not saying that I know anything about this situation. I don't know the reason he was let go. And I don't know how good or bad a job he was doing. But let's be clear, many of the allegations of favoritism, of allowing people to buy properties before the official start dates, or telling people that the properties were sold out and then offering select individuals reserved properties, all these things happened while he was CEO.

  8. Thanks Muscati for your cool perspective. You're right - we shouldn't over-react with unfounded assumptions.

  9. Muscati,

    Absolutely true. We don't know the reasons.

    And there have been delays in the completion of later phases. Cash flow must be grinding to a halt pretty soon as there are no new sales being made, and I presume many with late phased houses have decided to eat their losses on the deposit rather than go ahead and be underwater equity-wise...

    The response from the Wave management is interesting too: "Personal reasons" ... If there are several more 'resignations' - as I've been informed these are about to happen very soon - I wonder how many "personal reasons" will have to be invoked? There's always the old standards: "wants to spend more time with his family" and "has left by mutual agreement to pursue other opportunities" ...

  10. @muscati

    No race issue - I'll leave you to your own جن‎ on that one.

    Not fired

    No conjecture, just facts and an understanding of how it all works.

    I do know this industry.

    Remember "Just because something happens on your watch doesn't mean it was in your control".

    No use crying over spilt milk though - the pattern has been (and will continue to be) repeated as unsupportive Boards place unreasonable demands on expat CEO's, fail to support them on key issues (largely through lack of understanding) and then when the going gets tough push them out while idly standing by thankful that dishdasha are teflon coated and vindicated when the 'victim' fails to produce a rabbit out of their keffiyeh.

    Property development is a tad more complex than building and selling. The sooner the powers that be realise it the sooner they will be able to foster a mature real estate platform to attract the much desired but little understood foreign investment.

  11. Since when were all the indians inexperienced mr james?? i guess only white people are brilliant duhh!!!


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