Moving On: Namshi Co-Founder Hosam Arab Steps Down As CEO Of The E-Commerce Enterprise

Arab's resignation comes about two weeks after Namshi announced its complete acquisition by Emaar Malls, the retail arm of the Dubai-headquartered Emaar Properties, by buying out Global Fashion Group's stake in the company.

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Hosam Arab, one of the original co-founders of Middle East fashion e-commerce retailer Namshi, has stepped down from his role as CEO of the enterprise. Arab’s resignation comes about two weeks after Namshi announced its complete acquisition by Emaar Malls, the retail arm of the Dubai-headquartered Emaar Properties, by buying out Global Fashion Group’s stake in the company.

Hosam Arab, co-founder, Namshi

In a chat with Entrepreneur Middle East, Arab noted that Emaar’s consolidation of its stake in Namshi made it seem like the right moment for him to move on from his role at the company. “Yes, it’s clearly a big moment for me, [and] obviously, it’s not just something that happened overnight,” he said. “For me, starting up a business was always very exciting; this is something that we started over seven years ago. And what I loved about that moment in time, and then the years following that, was just creating something from scratch, learning something new every day, the challenges inherent in setting up a new company, a new business, and, really, changing an industry, as, in the early days, when Namshi launched, there wasn't much in terms of online retail.”

Speaking about his time at Namshi, Arab said, “Obviously, the experience has been incredibly rewarding, [and it has also been] probably the most challenging period of my life. It's not been easy. We had all types of challenges, from people's challenges to execution and competition, but at the end of the day, I really am very proud of having made this decision [to start Namshi] in the first place, and that's something that just made me a better person. And for that, obviously it makes it a lot harder to leave. It's not a place that I did not enjoy being at; on the contrary, I loved every minute of it, but I thought that, in the kind of life-cycle of a startup, it probably made a lot more sense to do it now rather than any other stage.”

Founded in 2011, Namshi has a 1.2 million and growing active customer base, with recorded sales across the UAE and Saudi Arabia of $231.3 million in 2018, an increase of 16% compared to the previous year. Emaar Malls had previously owned a 51% stake in Namshi after getting into a strategic partnership with Global Fashion Group in 2017.

Arab also paid homage to the team at Namshi for making the enterprise what it is today, and also shared his message to the team upon his departure. “This company is just as much theirs as it was mine, and, you know, I don't just say that lightly,” Arab said. “I think part of our success was the fact that everyone really treated this business as their own. And so, that should continue in order for this business to continue to succeed. Once we lose that kind of love for this business, love for what we created, this business just cannot look the same. That's the message I communicated to them earlier, that I left them with.”

As for what’s next, Arab said that he planned to take some time off, before deciding on how to move ahead with his own career, though he noted that he will probably remain within the startup ecosystem space, which has grown in the years since he stepped into it. “I think my beef with the ecosystem, if you will, in the last few years has been that there's been a lot more hype than needed, and I think that's starting to cool down,” he said. “You're starting to see a lot more content and a lot more substance come out, which is essential, and I think it's obviously great for the ecosystem. So, if I can add more into that, and help that mature in any way possible, then I would love to do that.”

Related: All Set For Growth: The E-Commerce Landscape In The Middle East