Arabia.com restructures again

Two high profile departures are at the cornerstone of continuing cost-cutting measures at the once trailblazing Arabia.com portal site

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  June 25, 2002

Cost-cutting measures are continuing at the once trailblazing Arabia.com portal site. Having spent an undisclosed amount of money on a relocation of key staff to lavish offices in Dubai Internet City last year, the business is making a slightly less expensive retreat back to Amman, Jordan.

As part of the retrenching, Arabia.com is losing high-profile managers including the chief operating officer, Richard Evans and the chief technology officer, Barig Siraj.

“It is true — it is part of restructuring — we are replacing them [Evans and Siraj] with people in Amman as we are moving operations to Jordan,” confirmed Ramzi Zeine, CEO of Arabia.com, in an interview with ITP.net. “Managers are now being recruited in Jordan and we are consolidating operations. This has to do with efficiency,” he added.

Barig Siraj said that he was offered a move to Amman, but declined. However, as an ongoing shareholder in the business, he finds himself supporting cost-cutting measures that cost him his job. “The shareholders, including myself, are backing the company 100%,” he stated.

Despite advertising revenues consistently failing to keep pace with Arabia.com’s cost base, there seems little likelihood of investors pulling the plug on the business. In fact, rumours abound that Saudi billionaire, Price Alwaleed, will increase his stake. Siraj, who is also from Saudi Arabia, refused to confirm or deny that rumour, but did suggest that there was more news to come soon from Arabia.com.

At its peak, Arabia.com employed 75 people in Dubai and Jordan. This headcount was cut to 55 in May last year, shortly before a $20 million cash injection was secured from Intel Capital and Kingdom Holdings. At the time, Ramzi Zeine said $20 million would be sufficient to see the company through to profitability by 2003 or 2004.

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