The Al Mamnoon group was established in 1967 in Kuwait by Mohammed Al Mamnoon. With great commitment and hard work Mohammed grew his small trading business into a diversified business group in few years.
Mohammed’s first son Rashid chose to pursue his engineering studies in Egypt. While in Cairo, he got married to Mona Al Masri, whose family owned and operated a large cotton plantation in Egypt and they had three children together after they moved back to Kuwait: Ahmed, Marwa and Ali.
Khalid, Mohamed’s second son, had always been passionate about the fine food and service industry and wanted to establish the Al Mamnoon Group as a leader in five-star hospitality. However, his father was reluctant to start a business so different from the core activities of the company in trade and manufacturing.
Over the years, Mohammed and his two sons worked very hard to build a strong and diversified group of companies. In the 90ies Al Mamnoon group had established activities in agriculture, finance and real estate, as well as ran a successful cement factory.
In the 2000s however, Mohammed faced sudden health problems. He trusted Rashid’s expertise and sense of business and put him in charge of the day-to-day business activities. As the two brothers got on well, they decided to start a holding structure, Al Mamnoon Investments, to ensure that the family’s ownership remained clearly structured. Both Rashid and Khalid would own 30% each while Mohammed kept 40%, and remained the non-executive Chairman. The brothers arranged the management of the companies amongst themselves.
In the meantime, two of Rashid’s three children, Ahmed and Marwa, finished their studies and decided to go and live in Egypt to work in the Al Mamnoon Cotton business which Rashid had founded together with his wife’s family. Ahmed and Marwa worked for the two cotton factories in Cairo (spinning and yarn manufacturing) and in Alexandria (the weaving plant).
Khalid and his wife Alia had two children, Tariq and Yasmeen. Since he finished his studies in 2004, Tariq is active in the family business as a junior manager of Al Mamnoon Investment, the holding company. Yasmeen followed her father’s passion for fine food and is a highly decorated Chef in London. With offers to open her own restaurant in Europe, Yasmeen is still reluctant to join the family business.
In 2011, Ahmed and Marwa returned to Kuwait after the political unrest in Egypt. The future of the Al Mamnoon cotton factories was uncertain. Back in Kuwait Ahmad and Marwa wanted to work as mid-level managers, as they had in Egypt. Their uncle Khalid did not appreciate this, since neither Ahmed nor Marwa had ever worked in another field than the cotton industry.
Meanwhile, Tariq, Khalid’s son, has not been very motivated to stay in the family business. One night, he was out with a group of friends and he started to express his frustration about his situation. One of his friends captured his angry speech on video and posted it online. What was supposed to be a normal chitchat between a group of friends, now became hot gossip in the Kuwaiti business community.
Rashid and Khalid got together to discuss the situation of the next generation. After the discussion, they were both unsatisfied: Rashid felt that Khalid did not want his children to join managerial positions, even though they had been working for a while. Khalid on the other hand felt his brother was angry with him because of Tariq’s remarks.
Tharawat Magazine, Issue 15, 2012