Meet The First Group Senior Management Team
Danny LubertFounder & Senior Partner
Danny Lubert vast experience of major global property markets and aptitude for detecting opportunities in key emerging markets has proven key to The First Group’s growth to date. Under his guidance, the group of companies has expanded its presence in major markets including the United Kingdom, Spain, Cyprus, South East Asia, West Africa, CIS countries, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. With a background in commerce and mathematics, Danny Lubert specialises in financial structuring, acquisition and marketing.
Rob BurnsChief Executive Officer
Having spent more than 30 years’ in leadership roles for some of the world’s most-respected hospitality real estate developers, Rob is one of the foremost industry leaders in real estate development and hospitality operations.
The American national has called the city of Dubai home since 2008. Since then, he has led the rapid growth of the dynamic, integrated property developer The First Group, firstly as Chief Marketing Officer before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2009, and more recently as Chief Executive Officer - a position he has held since 2017.
In his current role, Rob has overseen The First Group’s impressive growth and development strategy, which has seen it successfully forge a path into key hospitality vertical markets including upscale hotels, leisure venues, F&B, property asset management and bespoke corporate VIP services.
The First Group’s multinational leadership team has developed 18 towers in Dubai as of 2023, including the company’s flagship project, Ciel – the world’s tallest hotel – in the heart of Dubai Marina.
Rob is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he studied Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management.
Rashad BarajaklyChief Financial Officer & Managing Director
Rashad brings a wealth of expertise to The First Group, drawing from a strong background in finance and investment banking in the United States and Dubai. He held senior positions in New York and Atlanta before joining Dubai International Financial Centre (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 across the private and public sectors makes him an extremely valuable asset for The First Group.
Vivek RaoChief Commercial Officer
A highly experienced corporate leader with a proven track record of success, Vivek boasts extensive experience in equity and debt capital structuring, asset management, and operational management. Having spent more than 20 years working in Dubai with major names including Tamwheel and Meraas Capital, Vivek is recognised as one of the emirate’s leading corporate identities.
As Chief Commercial Officer of The First Group, Vivek plays a key role in the company’s financial success, helping shape its commercial strategy and contributing to the firm’s overall growth and development. Vivek boasts a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Trade from MK University, India. He also currently serves on numerous boards and investment committees for select regional governments and private enterprises.
Amr Al BawabChief Construction Officer
Amr boasts more than 35 years’ experience working on major projects for high-profile multinational firms and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Detroit in the US.
Amr has been with The First Group for more than a decade, having played an instrumental role in the company’s success to date. As Chief Construction Officer, Amr manages The First Group’s complex development timeline, ensuring projects are planned and executed to the highest standards.
Joe RubyChief Marketing Officer
Joe is a highly-experienced sales and marketing professional with proven expertise in the real estate, hospitality, travel and retail sectors in markets including the Middle East, United States and the Asia Pacific. Prior to joining The First Group, Joe spent 14 years working as Senior Vice President of Marketing for TFG partner Wyndham Hotel Group’s vacation ownership division. In 2013, he joined The First Group, and quickly rose through the ranks before assuming his current role as Chief Marketing Officer.