GdS: Meeting Alardhi – the mountain climbing ex-pilot whose has a new mission at Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

We have read a lot of names related to AC Milan’s potential transfer of ownership to Investcorp, and Mohammed Alardhi is one that keeps popping up.

La Gazzetta dello Sport have offered some insight into the Investcorp executive president Mohammed Alardhi, the man who is hoping to take his passion for climbing and help Milan in their climb back to the top of European football.

Alardhi is a man who has climbed Kilimanjaro and as soon as work allows him he enjoys taking off his suit and putting on his hiking boots and equipment. It is not too dissimilar from the mission at hand, because the Rossoneri are currently on a climb towards what they hope will be stability at high altitude after time, patience and work.

Alardhi is clearly passionate about the challenge with Milan because he is happy to sanction the €1.1bn needed to acquire Milan from Elliott and the goal is to close by the end of this week, but there will be no alarms if it ends up being postponed to the beginning of May.

He was born in Oman and is married with five children, but remains a character shrouded in mystery. Very little is known about him even in the age of social media – even his date of birth is kept secret.

Alardhi joined Investcorp in 2008 and it took him just seven years to become the president in 2015. Now, he moves between the various branches of the fund in New York , London, Switzerland, Riyadh, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Mumbai, Beijing and Singapore.

He likes to set ambitious goals for his team and is portrayed as a manager with a great vision, able to identify in advance the best strategy to reach targets, as seen by the fact Investcorp’s Assets Under Management rapidly grew from $10bn to $40bn.

The sale of 20% of the fund to Mubadala Development Company – the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investment and development fund – was also his idea with the aim of strengthening the institutional shareholder base.

Alardhi is a retired Air Force Deputy Marshal and was part of the Royal Air Force of Oman in 1978 before being appointed Chief of the Oman Air Force. In 2000 he was awarded the Order of Oman by the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said and he even graduated in Military Sciences from the Royal Air Force UK Staff College in Bracknell, UK.

He completed a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and now he is also president of Muscat Stock Exchange and Sohar International Bank and is part of several boards.

Alardhi has published three books as well: ‘Arabs down Under’ , ‘Pearls from Arabia’ and ‘Arabs Unseen’ all essentially about successful figures from the Arab world.

The possibility of taking over Milan – one of the most glorious clubs in the world – has enthused him and he believes the World Cup in Qatar later this year will give a new impetus to football in the region. Thus, Milan can tap into the hearts of fans around the world.

The main mission is this: to close the gap with English clubs and the elite European clubs. After conquering Kilimanjaro, another climb awaits.

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