Robert Fadel is currently the head of the ABC Group, which employs some 1,000 people at eight shopping centres around the country. ABC is the French acronym for “Au Bon Commerce”, which translates roughly as "At the (sign of) Good Trade".
Established in 1936 in Beirut’s Bab Idriss neighbourhood, ABC began life as a one-price shop. Founded by a group of students from the American University of Beirut (AUB), it mostly sold fashion items (clothes, cosmetics, leather goods) and household items. All at a single price.
In 1972, Robert's father, Maurice Fadel
, took over the store. He developed the brand’s positioning by focussing more on high-end goods and in parallel, expanded ABC’s presence in Lebanon. Branches opened in Zahle in 1973, in Kaslik in 1978 and in Dbayeh in the early 1980’s. In 2003, the group opened Lebanon’s first modern shopping centre, the ABC Ashrafiye in Beirut.
First joining the Group in 1995, Robert Fadel oversaw the renovation of one of group’s main shopping centres in Dbayeh, on the outskirts of Beirut and then began work on the new Ashrafiye mall project. This ambitious project changed the retail landscape in Lebanon and would enable the department store chain to position itself alongside other high-end retailers such as the London-based retail group, Harvey Nichols.
After being approached by the American consultants Monitor, Robert Fadel moved to the firm’s headquarters in Boston and took a job as strategic consultant. During the course of his six years at Monitor, he authored a number of studies and reports, especially concerning Lebanon. These included Lebanon's Five Year Development Plan (2000) and Promoting New Industries in Lebanon (2001).
Rejoining the ABC Group upon his return from the United States in 2003, Robert Fadel became CEO of the ABC Group following the decease of his father Maurice in 2009.