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In such a young industry as duty free, the picture above is surely unique.
The three men in it, all figures of immense stature and influence within the trade, represent a collective experience of more than 120 years in the business. And an impact that almost defies description.
On the left is Joseph (Joe) Lyons, Vice President Business Development at DFS Group; in the centre is Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin; and to the right is the familiar face of Harry Diehl, Chairman of the Advisory Board at Gebr Heinemann. The Moodie Report photographed them during this year’s Duty Free Show of the Americas in Fort Lauderdale.
In keeping with his company’s deliberately low public profile, Joe Lyons is one of the quiet men of duty free. But he’s also one of its greatest champions, a pivotal influence in the Americas duty free industry over four decades who has helped fight and win many a legislative and lobbying battle and a man who enjoys immense respect within both DFS and wider industry circles.
Colm McLoughlin’s story has been told many times but still bears repeating. Since joining Shannon Airport’s retail operation in 1969 he has become a towering figure, forever associated with the Dubai Duty Free phenomenon which he has driven in two and a half decades from a fledgling start-up into a business that will breach the US$1 billion sales barrier in the next two years. His commercial vision, allied to a profound sense of corporate conscience, stamps him as a living legend in the industry.
And of course the one and only Heribert Diehl. Harry Diehl. The real Diehl. Synonymous with Gebr Heinemann since 1969 and an essential part of the German company’s prolonged success and its espousal of family values. The champion of the Travel Value concept and a tireless fighter for the business at large. A great internationalist and one of the most endearing men that you could hope to meet in any walk of life.
Make no mistake, these are great men. All carry themselves with humility and grace and always understate their achievements but their collective impact on our business is incalculable. We will treasure the image above and the individuals within it.