Ampersand celebrates first anniversary 

Global marketing and talent consultancy, Ampersand is celebrating its first anniversary in the Middle East. In the first year, Ampersand has been successful in winning, developing, designing and implementing international projects for a variety of clients including Aston Martin Lagonda, Johnson & Johnson, Travelex and Unimoni. Its approach is to change the rules of training while developing and delivering engaging and stimulating experience to maximise the transfer of knowledge and return on investment.

“We believe that the Ampersand ethos of Creative Learning has been central to our success in securing so many fabulous projects from some of the world’s highest profile brands from a standing start in less than 12 months and the future looks bright too with more projects from existing clients and new clients in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, and Singapore,” says Nick Clemets, CEO, Ampersand.

Geometry Dubai welcomes new Executive Creative Director

Brand experience agency, Geometry has promoted Julian Hernandez to the role of Executive Creative Director of its Dubai office. Having joined Geometry in 2015, Julian worked as Executive Creative Director of the agency’s Hong Kong office, where he mentored the creative team and led the creative output across its list brands including Coca-Cola, Huawei and Pernod Ricard. In his new role, he will focus on creativity with an emphasis on genuine local insight to shape the agency’s new approach to shopper marketing.

“I’d like to see more culturally relevant work coming out of our office and the use of non-traditional channels to influence consumers in unconventional ways,” says Hernández. “The old ‘surprise and delight’ approach has never been more valid – even in our complex region – so that’s what we’re aiming for across a wider scope of touchpoints. To do so, we need to surprise consumers with brand experiences that enrich their lives, rather than interrupt them.”

In The Hot Seat – Nick Clements

Team TMN catch up with Nick Clements, CEO at Ampersand and COO at MCG&Co, who talks about his role and what he thinks of the talent and marketing industry in the Middle East…

Name: Nick Clements

Nationality: English

Current job titles: CEO, Ampersand and COO, MCG&Co

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

In 2013, on National Day…there was a great party going on.

Where did you work prior?

I most recently worked with advertising agency, BPGBates as CEO for three years and previously, before coming to Dubai I worked with Ogilvy, Innocean and JWT in Dublin, Frankfurt and London respectively.

What were your first impressions of the talent and marketing industry in the Middle East?

It was clear immediately that there is loads of great marketing talent in the region. But it was equally clear that there is a very variable commitment to the development of that talent.

Has your opinion changed much?

Not really, but what we are seeing is that the serious players are becoming more committed to developing and training their most valuable assets.

Tell us about your current role…

I wear two hats. I’m the CEO at Ampersand, which my partner Justin McGuire and I launched last year in Dubai, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. I’m also the COO of MCG&Co of which Justin is the CEO.

What challenges do you face?

Our business is really fizzing which is great and so the biggest challenge is using our time as wisely as possible.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Ampersand is a young company and we are firing on all cylinders right now, so every day brings new rewards from winning business to hiring new staff. But the bottom line is always happy clients.

Describe yourself in five words…

Not good at short sentences.

Who inspires you?

My extraordinary family and ‘Hero’ the Ampersand Mascot

What’s your most overused saying?

‘There is a clue in the name!’

Five things you can’t live without?

Family, work, fitness, cricket and travel

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

Joining MCG&Co and launching Ampersand.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Probably running an advertising agency – my other great love.

If you could have one work wish granted, what would it be?

I’d like to see Ampersand and the MCG& Group in India, Australia and the USA in the next few years

Ampersand launches new website

Global marketing and talent consultancy, Ampersand has launched its new website, The new interactive site details the company’s services of specialist learning and development, executive search, strategic advisory and M&A that is offered across Dubai, London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

‘’Our new interactive website captures all that does and the vibrant nature of the way we do it,” says Nick Clements, CEO, Ampersand. “It details all of the services that we offer and encourages people to respond and engage with the our rapidly growing business”

Ampersand launches operations across the region

MCG& Group has launched new marketing and talent consultancy, Ampersand. Founded by Nick Clements and Justin McGuire, Ampersand will have offices across Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore to deliver marketing and talent consulting services. The consultancy will be divided into &Knowledge, which will provide specialist learning and development as well as training, coaching and assessments, &Search, an executive search and placement operation and &Connect, a strategic advisory and M&A service in the creative services arena. The new launch will also see Nick Clements, COO at MCG& take on the additional role of CEO along with Chris Quy, who most recently worked as Director at MCG& to take on the new role of Managing Director.

“Ampersand is a unique offering that brings the best of the worlds of marketing and talent consultancy together,” says Nick Clements, CEO, Ampersand. “We know that there is an appetite for the L&D, search, advisory and M&A services that we provide and are growing the business out internationally from day one. I’m thrilled to be partnering with Justin on this new venture and delighted that Chris Quy is bringing his wealth of experience to the company as Managing Director.”

MCG Group makes key appointment

Digital and creative recruitment agency, MCG Group has appointed Nick Clements to the role of Chief Operating Officer. With over 25 years of experience, Nick previously worked with Ogilvy & Mather as Global Account Director and most recently with BPG Bates as Chief Executive Officer. In his new role, he will oversee the operations of MCG Group, which is made up of MCG Associates, Kemistry and Hopscotch and work across its Dubai, London and Hong Kong offices. Nick will also work on broadening the company’s services beyond recruitment to spearhead the launch of its new services, which includes executive search, procurement pitch, relationship management and M&A advisory.

“I’m delighted to be joining the MCG Group at such an exciting time and I look forward to helping build on existing strengths and create a talent consultancy with a range of services which really adds value to both agencies and clients,” says Nick Clement, COO, MCG Group.

MCG Associates announces new offices

MCG Associates has announced the launch of its new offices in London and Hong Kong to serve the media, marketing, digital and PR sectors globally. Following the launch of its new offices, MCG has appointed Zena Alana as the Associate Director of the London office, which will focus on the media, design and tech sectors with an aim to work positions in London, Manchester, Berlin and Amsterdam using London as its base. The consultancy has also appointed Adam Michael Toctan as the Managing Director of its Hong Kong office, which will work with agencies across APAC to serve the advertising, designing and branding industries.

“I’m so proud to be taking MCG Group global,” says Justin McGuire, Chief Executive Officer, MCG Group. “A talent organisation set-up in the UAE initially to serve the media industry, we’ve now spread our wings with the intention of becoming number one in every territory we move into. We already have plans to look at the USA and Australia in 2017 – so watch this space.”

Blathnaid Healy joins CNN

Blathnaid Healy has joined CNN Digital Worldwide as Senior Editor in its London newsroom. Blathnaid joins CNN from Mashable, where she established the company’s first London office and built an editorial team that developed a multimedia editorial agenda and voice across all platforms. At CNN, she will oversee the network’s EMEA-based digital news team and its output. Blathnaid will be responsible for the commissioning and production of news content, focusing particularly on mobile and video. She will also work closely with CNN’s Atlanta, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong operations to build on and enhance the network’s ‘follow-the-sun’ editorial strategy, integrating closely with CNN’s broader newsgathering teams across all platforms.
“Blathnaid has vast experience in building and leading digital teams with a spirit of creativity and entrepreneurial innovation,” says Inga Thorder, Editor and Programming Director, CNN Digital Worldwide. “She was instrumental in building Mashable’s global workflow and experimenting with different storytelling and has exactly the kind of qualities we prize here at CNN. She is a big part of the global investment we’re making in our digital operation.”
Blathnaid adds “This is an exciting time to be joining CNN. You can see its commitment to digital everywhere you look and the energy behind that is evident across the editorial team. I’m looking forward to playing a part in the next chapter here.”

Bell Pottinger to make senior appointments

Bell Pottinger will make a series of senior level appointments across the group’s international businesses. Sam Turvey, currently Managing Director in Dubai, will relocate to Hong Kong in early May, where he will take up the position of Managing Director in order to give a fresh perspective to the group’s Hong Kong team. Nicola Hooper, currently a Partner in the Dubai office, will become its new Managing Director where she will continue to nurture strong client relationships in the region. Nicola’s new role will also involve her working closely with Archie Berens, Managing Director of Bell Pottinger’s Abu Dhabi office, in order to implement a strategic growth plan across financial, corporate, government and consumer communications.

Tim Wilson, Chairman of Bell Pottinger Middle East, will also assume the additional role of Chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment, Middle East and Africa, where he will oversee the opening of a new office in Dubai for the sports and entertainment agency while continuing to support the Bell Pottinger team in growing the geopolitical service offering.

“I am delighted to announce these appointments,” says James Henderson, Group CEO, Bell Pottinger. “They are a testament to our ability to attract and nurture brilliant talent which contributes to the continued success and growth of our international business. These changes are a great opportunity for Bell Pottinger’s international offices to offer clients even more of an integrated, global service. The connections between the Middle East and Asia are only getting stronger, so to be able to apply firsthand knowledge of the Middle East to businesses and individuals in the Far East – and vice versa – will be a real advantage.”