21 October 2004 | Geraint John
Emirates' purchasing director played a key role in setting up the record £100 million sponsorship deal with Arsenal Football Club announced earlier this month.
The deal gives the Dubai-based airline naming rights for Arsenal's new 60,000-seat stadium, as well as shirt sponsorship from the 2006-07 season.
Speaking exclusively to SM, Saeed Mohammed, vice-president of procurement and logistics, said he was invited to work on the corporate communications-led project from the outset.
His role included not only negotiating the commercial, contractual and payment terms of the deal, but also carrying out financial due diligence on the club.
Mohammed said the opportunity to brand the ground the Emirates Stadium for the next 15 years convinced the company to transfer allegiance from Arsenal's London rivals Chelsea. He also revealed that, from start to finish, the deal took less than three months to complete and that Emirates was one of seven companies interested in it.
"By getting involved early, procurement did make a difference and add value," he said. "Its size and complexity meant that we had to be sure we were getting the best deal for our money."
Mohammed, who has been at Emirates for three years and leads a team of 122 staff, added that he had been involved in previous sports sponsorship deals, including for the 2006 football World Cup, but not to the same degree.