Danny Lubert

Co-Founder and Joint Chairman

Danny Lubert’s devotion to the global property market and aptitude for detecting emerging markets has proved extremely successful, taking the group of companies to the United Kingdom, Spain, Cyprus, South East Asia, West Africa, CIS countries, the United Arab Emirates, and the US. With a background in commerce and mathematics, Lubert specialises in financial structuring, acquisition and marketing.

Gary Shepherd

Co-Founder and Joint Chairman

British-born Gary Shepherd has been actively involved in overseas property development since the early 1980s. After working predominantly with Danny Lubert, the highly successful pair continued their powerful partnership, by co-founding and chairing The First Group. Previously Shepherd worked in Spain and South East Asia, consulting for major development companies such as Eurodisney and the Berajaya Group of Malaysia. Together with Danny Lubert, Shepherd has been pivotal in shaping The First Group in Dubai, drawing from his strong background in developing emerging markets and innovative product design. His ability to adapt to the property market’s changing demographics makes him an excellent asset to The First Group. 

Rob Burns

Chief Operating Officer

Rob Burns is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University where he studied Business, Marketing, and Hotel & Resort Management. His career in property development dates back to 1986, spanning the U.S., United Kingdom, Europe, CIS, Africa and the Middle East. He has a diverse background in a wide array of disciplines including the direction of sales and marketing operations, brand advertising, database marketing, direct mail, telesales, print and public relations, as well as extensive interactive experience. Having worked with major institutions around the world, Burns began his journey with The First Group as Chief Marketing Officer prior to being promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

Mark Tolner

Chief Financial Officer

With over 30 years' experience in a variety of senior-level business operations, including shipping, asset management, venture capital and feature film production and distribution, Mark has proudly assisted in the key development of a multitude of international ventures. He draws from this extensive background as Chief Financial Officer for The First Group, helping to facilitate and manage our rapid growth.

Rashad Barajakly

Chief Investment Officer

Rashad brings a wealth of expertise to The First Group, drawing from a strong background in finance and investment banking in the US and Dubai. He held senior positions in New York and Atlanta before joining DIFC. From there he went on to assist in the launch of DIFX and later furthered his banking career by working with NBK Capital and boutique investment companies. His experience of operations and finance in both private and public companies makes him an extremely valuable asset to The First Group.

Amr Al Bawab

Chief Construction Officer

Amr joined The First Group in March 2008 bringing with him more than 25 years’ experience garnered from major multi-national companies around the world. Educated in the United States, Amr has developed a career in construction spanning many different disciplines and positions. As Chief Construction Officer for The First Group, Amr manages our demanding time line of projects, ensuring they are planned and executed in order to meet our unparalleled high standards.