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Patriarch of Kanoo empire dies, aged 72

By Michael Finnigan

Bahraini businessman Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo, chairman of family conglomerate Kanoo Group in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, has died, aged 72.

Kanoo, who helped the company expand from its early shipping roots, died over the weekend, after a three-decade battle with diabetes.

Kanoo turned the company, established in 1890 by Haji Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo, into one of the largest family-owned businesses in the Gulf.

Today the group is focussed on retail, logistics, chemicals, shipping, oil and gas, and travel.

Kanoo was born in 1942 in Manama, Bahrain, where he completed his secondary education, later moving to the UK for university. He also had an MBA from the University of Texas.

Kanoo began his career as a regional manager at a branch of the family’s business in Saudi Arabia. He became chairman for the UAE and Oman in 2010 after the death of Hamad Kanoo.

The Gulf Daily News said Kanoo was known for his wisdom and extensive business experience.

Kanoo married in 1990 but left no heirs. His cousin Mishal Kanoo, 44, has been deputy chairman of the company since 1997.

The company does not release revenues, but Arabian Business estimated the family’s net worth at $6 billion in 2013.