OMD Arabia undergoes internal restructure

In response to the significant increase in billings in 2014, OMD Arabia has undergone a management restructuring and named new General Managers for its offices in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Toni El Rahi, previously General Manager of OMD Riyadh, has taken the role of Business Development Director for OMD Arabia’s parent company, Omnicom Media Group Saudi Arabia, reporting to CEO Choucrallah Abou Samra. In this role, he will capitalise on his vast network of connections and his talent for identifying and securing the best client relationships across the group. Toni will also hold the general management responsibilities of PHD Riyadh.

Faisal Shams, most recently a Business Unit Director at OMD UAE, has been promoted to General Manager for OMD Arabia, additionally managing its Riyadh office. Having gained significant experience climbing through the ranks of planning with the agency, Faisal will be responsible for building the business, strengthening the brand and deepening client relationship across the Kingdom and Riyadh.

Finally, Hani Dajani has been appointed as General Manager of OMD Jeddah, reporting to Faisal Shams. Most recently holding the position of Head of Planning, his primary objective in his new role is to maintain the network’s leading position in the Jeddah market and drive its digital and innovation agendas forward.

“At a time of rapid expansion, these new appointments strengthen our position to embrace the challenges and assignments that await us,” says Choucrallah Abou Samra, CEO, Omnicom Media Group Saudi Arabia. “With his experience, Toni is ideally placed to steer growth for the whole group. Faisal has managed some of our most demanding clients in the past, demonstrating unique leadership skills, and Hani has always led from the front with clients and prospects. I have full confidence in their ability to navigate our growth and pioneer the way forward for our clients, partners and the industry.”

FleishmanHillard welcomes new Associate Director

Damian Brandy has joined FleishmanHillard’s Dubai office as Associate Director. A former journalist who has worked with publications in the UAE and the UK, Damian was most recently with APCO Worldwide as Associate Director where he managed signature clients including Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. In his new position, Damian oversees FleishmanHillard’s clients including UBS, Jones Day, Bosch and Emerson.

“I’m delighted to be part of FleishmanHillard’s exciting growth in this region,” says Damian. “Globally, it’s an agency with a formidable reputation for crystal clear strategic thinking and rock solid execution across a network that is second to none. It’s a tremendous time to join the agency as It begins to really make its mark here, and I look forward to contributing to its future development.”

Sofia Vyas joins Time Out

Sofia Vyas has joined the Time Out team as Features Editor. Previously Editor for online publication one8one magazine in Dubai, as well as a holding a number of editorial positions in the UK, Sofia brings regional and international experience to her new role.Having been with ITP Publishing for the past six months as Features Intern for Condé Nast Traveller Middle East, Sofia will now work across all guides and supplements for Time Out GCC.

Nicky Barr joins BPG Bates

BPG Bates, the regional advertising, design and events & activation agency headquartered in Dubai, has appointed Nicky Bar and Head of Events & Activation. With over 20 years of experience within the sector and in the UAE since 2007, Nicky has held the role of Events Director at DABO & CO, DWTC and most recently as Events Director at ITP Publishing Group. Having worked with a wide array of clients including HSBC, Cartier, Canon, Coca-Cola, Etihad, Mars, Neutrogena and Unilever, Nicky will now be working across all of BPG Bates’ clients and in close collaboration with the other BPG Group companies.

“It is a great time to be joining BPG Bates,” says Nicky. “The agency has a great pedigree and the real ambition to help clients build their brands and bring great ideas to life. This is where my experience lies and I look forward to helping BPG Bates to grow the events & activation business to realise its full potential.”

Nick Clements CEO of BPG Bates adds, “We are excited that Nicky is bringing her huge experience to BPG Bates. She has worked across all sectors of the industry and throughout the MENA region and we are confident that she will help us further improve and grow our events & activation operation.”

Newsweek to launch Middle East edition

Newsweek LLC has signed an exclusive licensing partnership with ARY Digital Network – an Urdu language television network – to publish Newsweek Middle East, a localised newsweekly magazine that will be available in both English and Arabic. The launch of Newsweek Middle East will mark the eighth international edition of the publication, which is currently distributed across Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and the UK.

Newsweek represents high quality journalism and there is a global demand for that,” says Etienne Uzac, Co-Founder and CEO, IBT Media, parent company of Newsweek LLC. “We are thrilled to partner with ARY Digital Network to launch Newsweek Middle East and continue to build the Newsweek brand in the Middle East.”

This partnership marks the ARY Digital Network’s entry into print media. Empirical Media, which pursues and facilitates foreign license partnerships to publish Newsweek in targeted markets, served as an advisor in the formation of Newsweek Middle East.

Salman Iqbal, Founder and CEO of ARY Digital Network adds, “I am very pleased to announce this long-term partnership with IBT Media and the launch of Newsweek Middle East. Newsweek Middle East will be published in English and Arabic with region-specific content, offering award-winning reporting and commentary from some of the top writers in the Middle East and the world.”

The first issues of Newsweek Middle East will be available in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain. The English version is due to launch by June 2015, followed by the Arabic version.

CNN partners with McLaren Technology Group

CNN International has officially entered into a multi-year global partnership with McLaren Technology Group and is McLaren-Honda’s new partner for the 2015 Formula One season and beyond. For the 2015 season, this will see CNN’s branding appear on the front-wing endplates of the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 Formula 1 car, which will be unveiled in an online launch on January 29, 2015. The partnership also allows for CNN’s use of McLaren’s soon-to-open thought leadership centre, based within the McLaren Technology Campus in Woking, Surrey, UK, from which CNN International will produce several programmes to be broadcast globally across its network.

“This is a groundbreaking partnership between two trusted brands with a passion for high performance and continued innovation,” says Rani Raad, Chief Commercial Officer, CNN International. “Committed to being first, we share a mutual respect for each other’s operations – whether that’s the tenacity of CNN journalists in going to the heart of a story or McLaren’s forensic focus for every F1 race. With a shared global footprint and highly engaged audience, there’s a lot of expertise and best practice that we can both invest in this partnership. The added exposure that CNN International will gain through our association with McLaren is part of an expansive consumer engagement initiative to capitalise on the power of our brand. The additional business, broadcasting and cross-marketing opportunities made possible by this multi-year deal will forge a close relationship between two companies on the world stage.”

Rob Dennis, Chairman and CEO of McLaren Technology Group adds, “There is an inherent symmetry between McLaren and CNN that makes us perfectly attuned for partnership. Like McLaren, CNN is a tremendously powerful and influential global network, one that has spent decades pioneering the latest technologies and techniques in a relentless, unforgiving, fast-paced environment. I think we understand each other on many levels. The partnership between McLaren and CNN is unique in that it operates on a very broad scope. Our shared love of technology has united us: together we will pursue new opportunities far beyond the conventional scope of a Formula 1 partnership.”

Josh Mangila now English Media Editor for DSF

Josh Mangila has been appointed as the official English Media Editor for the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). With longstanding UAE knowledge and editorial experience, Josh takes on this new role in addition to his current position as Features Editor for travel publication En’Route Middle East. In his new position, Josh will attend various events in connection with DSF, conducting interviews with the public and professionals about their experiences. The features and interviews will appear on the Dubai Shopping Festival website, as well as in leading news publications to promote the annual event.

“Every new task is a welcome challenge for me and I take delight in getting out of my comfort zone,” says Josh. “I am incredibly excited to pursue this new role on behalf of Dubai Shopping Festival.”