United Development Company (UDC), the developer of The Pearl-Qatar, issued a statement announcing the resignation of Khalil Sholy, its managing director and president, on Thursday, Reuters reports.
The resignation was effective immediately, although Sholy will assist in finding his replacement.
His sudden resignation follows clear indicators that The Pearl, UDC’s flagship project, is facing an uncertain way forward amid unfulfilled expectations.
The company took out a $214 million loan three months ago to finance completion of The Pearl’s Porto Arabia shopping district, and the property has reportedly struggled to find buyers.
The man-made island has also been mired in a more recent controversy about the banning of alcohol there for over a month now. Many expats have been expressing their displeasure about it online (including on Doha News) and high-end restaurants are complaining of significant drops in revenue – up to 50% in some cases – since the ban took effect.
UDC has so far refused to comment on why restaurants are no longer permitted to sell alcohol, although some media reports have suggested it has to do with the company’s negotiations with the Qatar state pension fund to invest around $44 million into The Pearl.