AKIROV, ALFRED (1941– ), Israeli entrpreneur. Akirov built a business empire ranging from real estate and hotels to high-tech, securing his position as one of the country's leading businessman, known for his determination and sound business instincts. He was born in Iraq in 1941 and immigrated in his childhood to Israel with his parents. He started working in construction in the family business and then struck out on his own. After a couple of business ventures, including participation in the acquisition of the Arkia Airline and a textile company, he set up his own holding company, Elrov, in 1978.
The company, which was listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 1983, was active in two core businesses: real estate and technology and communication. Akirov demonstrated his expertise in the property business by building some of Israel's best-known development projects, including the Europe Building and the Opera Tower in Tel Aviv. The company also built and owns several large shopping malls in Israel's central area.
As the Israeli economy entered its worst economic recession in 2000, Elrov shifted part of its focus to overseas activity and the company acquired commercial centers in Switzerland, England, France, and the United States.
Akirov won fame with the building of the David Citadel, Jerusalem's most luxurious hotel, overlooking the walls of the capital's Old City. Plans to develop a nearby $150 million project, known as the Mamilla project, which included an upscale residential and business area, ran into difficulties after a long dispute with the municipality of Jerusalem.
Elrov also invested, through its Technorov subsidiary, in some of Israel's most promising high-tech start-ups and venture capital funds. However, the burst of the high-tech bubble in 2000 forced the company to write off much of its investment.
[Dan Gerstenfeld (2nd ed.)]