Bahrain pays rich tribute to business icon

October 11, 2010

Abdullah Kanoo

Bahrain has paid rich tribute to Abdullah Kanoo, one of its leading businessmen, and the chairman and chief executive officer of the Yusuf Bin Ahmed (YBA) Kanoo Group.

Born in Bahrain 1927, Kanoo died at his home in Manama on Sunday morning. He was buried a few hours later in the Manama cemetery in the presence of thousands of relatives, friends, diplomats, businessmen and common people from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

His entrepreneurial achievements and his devotion to philanthropic activities have made him a legendary figure and earned him the status of a colossal achiever and a deeply compassionate man in the minds and hearts of people in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Known for his outstanding charitable work and activities and for his acute sense of business, Abdullah Kanoo was closely connected with Bahrain’s business and social development into the 21st century and played an instrumental role in the country’s progress.

His business activities spanned a wide spectrum of fields that included travel, aircraft handling, machinery sales and services, shipping, general trade, oilfield supplies and services, manufacturing, chemicals, cargo services, insurance, and investments. He headed several companies in Bahrain and in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

His social activities focused on building health centres, medical facilities, homes for the elderly and mosques. Three health centres and several mosques in Bahrain were built through his generous donations, making the Kanoos one of the most prominently caring families in Bahrain.

In his tribute, Dr Faisal Al Hamer, said that Bahrain would always be grateful to Abdullah Kanoo for his generous contributions to the medical field in the country. He cited the 52-bed Kidney Dialysis Centre in Muharraq, Bahrain’s second largest city, as one of his most generous contributions to people’s welfare.

Business community leaders said that Abdullah Kanoo would be bitterly missed.

“We were saddened by the tragic news,” Isam Abdullah Fakroo, the chairman of Bahrain Chamber for Commerce and Industry (BCCI), said. “He was one of the most prominent people in Bahrain who had an outstanding role in leading several business and industrial companies not only in Bahrain, but well beyond. He also had a great role in humanitarian, social and philanthropic action.”

Businessman Jawad Al Hawwaj said that Abdullah Kanoo was “an iconic figure whose business prowess and love for others will always be recalled with fondness.”

“He had an impressive local, regional and international presence that has endeared him to all.” 

Farook Al Moayyad, chairman of Y.K. Al Moayyad, said that he was a great man and that “his death is a big loss to the business community.”

“He was a humble and generous man. Even in the twilight of his life, when it was physically tough for him to move around, he made it a point to attend all social functions,” he told the media shortly after the announcement of Kanoo’s death.

Afnan Al Zayani, a leading businesswoman, described him as “one of the great architects of Bahrain.”

“He left behind a great vacuum that is difficult to fill up,” she said.

Yusuf Al Saleh, a businessman, said that he would be missed, even though he “will live forever in the hearts of the people.”




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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