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What You Didn’t Know About Mohamed Al Fayed

Celebrity Egyptian Businessmen Mohamed Al Fayed Princess Diana
What You Didn’t Know About Mohamed Al Fayed
written by
Rawya Lamei
Image via The Times

Mohamed Al Fayed is primarily known for two things: being one of the wealthiest Egyptians in the world and being the father of Dodi Al Fayed, Princess Diana’s partner whose lives were cut short in that fateful car chase with the paparazzi in Paris. But Al Fayed was so much more than that. With his recent passing, let’s take a look into who he was and what he achieved.


From Humble Beginnings to Immense Success

Image via Arab News

Born in Alexandria to a father who worked as a primary school teacher, Fayed worked odd jobs as a young man selling drinks on the street. It was when he worked under Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi in his import-export company in the 1950s that his career began to take off. He then went on to found his own shipping company, Genevaco, in Egypt with his brother Ali, whose headquarters they eventually moved to Genoa, Italy. He then became a financial advisor to the Sultan of Brunei, which is arguably what brought him the immense wealth he became known for.


He Was a Huge Investor in Dubai

Image via Sky News

Fayed met with the Emir of Dubai in the 1960s. This meeting encouraged him to found IMS (International Marine Services), another shipping company, in 1968 in the emirate. His belief in the potential of Dubai, which was still in its early phase of development at the time, led him to introduce a number of English companies to the UAE. These companies were the Costain Group, Bernard Sunley & Sons, and Taylor Woodrow.


He Took Over Some of the Biggest Businesses in Europe

Image via CTV News

In 1979, Fayed bought the Ritz Paris hotel. Then, in 1984, he, along with his brother, acquired a 30 per cent stake in the House of Fraser. House of Fraser is the group which included luxury department store Harrods at the time. In 1985, Fayed bought the remaining 70 per cent stake of the company.


He Took Fulham FC to the Premier League

Image via Sky Sports

In 1997, Fayed purchased Fulham’s football club after its promotion to Division Two (now League One). Upon this decision, he announced that it would take five years for the club to reach the Premier League. They subsequently got to the league in only four years. He is generally thought to be the man behind the skyrocketing calibre of Fulham, with stars of the world of football, including French player Jean Tigana, joining the team. The businessman then sold the club to Shahid Khan in 2013.


He Fought the British Establishment

Image via The New York Times

Fayed blamed the British establishment for the deaths of his son Dodi and Princess Diana. He was convinced that their death was the result of a conspiracy meticulously plotted by Prince Philip, and he had long accused England of racism. In his eyes, his son’s passing was yet another display of this vice. Fayed believed that Lady Diana and Dodi were soon to be engaged and that the royal family was staunchly opposed to the former Princess of Wales marrying a Muslim, leading them to plot their murder.