Abdulla Balalaa is a seasoned commercial Executive Director, urban planner, and civil
engineer. He has extensive experience in developing profitable strategies to
accelerate the commercialization and development of partnerships in largescale
projects. This has included sustainable urban developments, some of which required
creative bespoke solutions, as well as asset monetization and optimizing financial
As the Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate at Masdar, Mr. Balalaa is
spearheading its flagship project, Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s distinguished sustainable
urban development. Mr. Balalaa oversees the development and operations of the City
by driving its strategy for sustainable growth, as well as its initiatives, partnerships,
and R&D clusters. Mr. Balalaa led the successful establishment of the first sustainable
green REIT in the MENA region, with an initial asset investment of AED 1 billion which
will enable Masdar City to raise investment capital more efficiently.
Previously, Mr. Balalaa served as the Director of Real Estate Development and Asset
Management in the Sustainable Real Estate Division at Masdar, where he was
responsible for formulating and executing strategies to establish Masdar City as a
global R&D hub.
Prior to Masdar, Mr. Balalaa was the Commercial Director at Etihad Rail where he
oversaw commercial directorate administrative activities. He represented the UAE as
a member of the GCC rail committee and was instrumental in finalizing the GCC rail
alignments, along with unifying customs policies and railway project specifications.
Before joining Etihad Rail, Mr. Balalaa was Planning Department Manager for the Abu
Dhabi Urban Planning Council, where he managed Sustainable Urban Developments
portfolio consisting of mega strategic projects by applying, enforcing and
implementing government policies through planning and development review
Mr. Balalaa also serves on several Board of Directors including Ennovate LLC, Masdar
EDF ESCO JV, and Emerge Limited. He holds an Executive Education degree in Business
Administration from Harvard Business School, a Master’s Degree in Urban and
Regional Planning from Paris Sorbonne University, a Leadership Excellence Applied
Diploma (LEAD) co-validated by the University of Cambridge Abu Dhabi, and a
Bachelor’s Degree in applied science Civil Engineering from the Higher Colleges of
Technology in Abu Dhabi.