Jumeirah appoints Senior PR and Communications Executive

The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray has welcomed Kimberly Lobo to the role of Senior Public Relations and Communications Executive. Previously a PR Account Executive at Ketchum Raad, where she worked across corporate clients such as CNN and Airbus, Kimberly brings over six years of experience in journalism and PR to her new role. As Public Relations and Communications Executive, she will be responsible for assisting in the management of PR and media relations across the resort, ensuring media coverage in local, regional and international media markets. Kimberly will produce written material for media purposes such as editorials, newsletters, biographies, fact-files and Q&A’s and develop PR strategies for the property as well as provide support with awards and research.

“I always believe in working hard and that it does pay off, because in the end you’re always rewarded,” says Kimberly. “I’m grateful to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray for offering me the position and seeing my potential as a Senior Public Relations and Communications Executive at the resort.”

Turner EMEA appoints new VP

Turner Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) has promoted Tarek Mounir to the role of Vice President and General Manager Turkey, Middle East, North Africa (MENA), Greece and Cyprus. Previously General Manager for MENA, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, in his new role Tarek will be reporting to Giorgio Stock, President, Turner EMEA, where he will continue to lead the region as well as be more involved in with the company on a senior level.

“This promotion recognises Tarek’s role in aggressively developing Turner’s presence in the region and driving significant growth, across both free to air and pay TV platforms and in the non-linear space,” says Giorgio.

Rani Raad, President, CNN International Commercial, adds “Tarek has done an outstanding job of building strong teams whose creativity and enterprise across Turner’s expanding Middle East portfolio have helped drive an overall growth trajectory in an increasingly important market.”

Ketchum Raad welcomes Ashraf Shakah

Ashraf Shakah has joined Ketchum Raad Middle East as Managing Director. Ashraf most recently held the position of Business Director at BPG Cohn & Wolfe, and has previously held leadership roles with ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller in the UAE and Jordan. Ashraf brings over 18 years of experience to his new role, where he will be based in Dubai and responsible for managing Ketchum Raad’s teams across the Middle East.

“Ashraf’s considerable experience in the region aligns very well with our client needs and our plans for continued growth,” says John Higgins, Senior Partner and CEO, Ketchum International.

Ashraf adds “It is exciting to join Ketchum Raad Middle East, the agency at the forefront of the communications industry in a region that is going through rapid change, as it helps governments, businesses and people in the Middle East realise their aspirations for more positive perceptions. I’m already impressed by the team’s determination to seize these opportunities, and I’m looking forward to helping them accelerate that journey.”

For further information, contact Dhaliya Zankawi at / +971 (0)4 425 8977

House of Comms welcomes Charlotte Smith

Dubai-based PR agency House of Comms has welcomed Charlotte Smith as a Senior Account Executive. Having been in the Middle East for over three years, Charlotte was most recently with Ketchum Raad, working across consumer and corporate teams with both national and international brands. In her new role, Charlotte will be working across multiple sectors for House of Comms, in consumer, food and beverage, and corporate brands, such as Spa Cordon, BOUNCE ME, Butcha Steakhouse & Grill and Ashridge business school.

“I have been watching the House of Comms team go from strength to strength as they continue to expand their client portfolio across the region and I couldn’t be more excited to join the dynamic and expert team of PR professionals,” says Charlotte. “Being part of one of the UAE’s most successful independent PR agencies is something I am extremely proud of and I am looking forward to immersing myself in both my new clients and the agency as a whole.”

“Charlotte shows real drive, passion and ambition and these are exactly the qualities we look for in our people,” adds Abby Wilks, Founding Partner at House of Comms. “She brings with her some great experience, knowledge and insight and we feel she will be a fantastic addition to the team.”

Zaid Al Farah joins Ketchum Raad

Zaid Al Farah has joined Ketchum Raad as Account Manager. With extensive experience across in-house and agency PR, Zaid joins the Ketchum Raad team from Jordan, where he was most recently Senior PR Officer at Umniah. In his new role, Zaid will specialise in the automotive PR sector, working alongside Ketchum’s talented automotive PR team.

“Working for such a renowned company will without doubt add valuable experience to my career,” says Zaid. “I am really excited and looking forward to working for this leading PR agency.”

New CNN art and culture series to launch

CNN International is launching CNN Ones to Watch – a major new feature show debuting globally on CNN – which will delve into a range of colourful and diverse artistic and cultural fields to showcase future talent. Each month, CNN Ones to Watch will focus on a particular discipline – from modern dance to classical music, filmmaking to architecture and sculpture – as a recognised master of their craft identifies ‘ones to watch’ and explains why their careers are on an upward trajectory. Through this narrative, the master in each show will guide viewers into their art form, how its evolving and what new talent needs to accomplish.

Launching on October 10, 2014, CNN Ones To Watch will air across all CNN platforms – with the programme running on CNN International global feeds and on CNN en Espanol. In addition, vignettes from the programme will air on CNN US.

The series – sponsored by Cartier – will also have a number of digital elements to complement the on–air programming. Alongside video content from CNN Ones to Watch, a dedicated microsite will include interactive and social features, such as behind–the–scenes Instagrams and Vines from contributors.

CNN Ones to Watch is one of the most extensive and exciting feature shows to appear on CNN International,” says Mike McCarthy, Senior Vice President and General Manager, CNN International. “Its broad remit will take viewers on a global journey to explore a diverse mix of arts and culture through the eyes of a master in their field and give the inside track on who could be tomorrow’s Carlos Acosta, Spike Lee or Rem Hoolhaas. The first episode will really set the standards with first class contributors and elements that will give viewers a real insight into the world of portraiture.”

Transform Awards announces MENA finalists

The MENA edition of Europe’s annual Transform Awards has revealed the names of the regional finalists. Those shortlisted for the 2014 Transform Awards MENA include Commercial Bank of Qatar and Industry, du, Mey (Diageo) and Landor Associates and Toyota Al-Futtain and Bellwether Brands in the ‘Best brand evolution’ category. In addition to this, entries shortlisted for ‘Best strategic/creative development of a new brand’ are; Abu Dhabi Technology Department Committee and Brand Union, Al Mutawakelah and Omnia, ARN and Brash Brands, Fundo Soberano de Angola and Grayling, Mubadala Petroleum and Omnia and The Supreme Council of Health and Agency222.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner for the inaugural awards, which will take place on June 2, 2014 at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The awards will bring together professionals from the regional branding, advertising, digital and communications sector to celebrate the most successful rebranding, repositioning and brand transformation projects in the Middle East and North Africa. The event also includes a full day conference where industry experts will talk about the implications of multi-marketing branding, the effect of Gen-Y on employer branding and the challenges and opportunities of building brands in the Middle East.

Transform Awards extends entry deadline

Due to the extensive response from agencies, the inaugural Transform Awards MENA, which is to be held at the JW Mariott Marquis Hotel Dubai on June 2, 2014, has extended the deadline for entries to April 3, 2014. This announcement comes at the same time as the international lineup of guest speakers for the Transform Conference is revealed.
The lineup of key speakers include Steve Ridgway, former CEO of Virgin Atlantic, who will discuss his experience with a company that became one of the world’s best-loved brands, Wael Allahou, from petrochemical company EQUATE, who will give a talk on employee engagement and change management, and Bruno Maag and Ahmed Kandil, who will go head-to-head offering insights on calligraphy vs. typography, how fonts can bring brands to life and how typographical issues spell trouble for companies that ignore cultural differences.
“The response we have had to the Transform Awards MENA and the interest from agencies who want to be a part of it has been phenomenal,” says Andrew Thomas, Founder of Transform and Managing Director, Cravenhill Publishing. “We’re absolutely delighted with the enthusiasm and the energy, which makes it very easy for us to say ‘yes’ to an extended deadline of April 3rd. It speaks volumes about the depth of branding and positioning in this part of the world when you realise that the interest has been across the entire region, rather than just focused on the GCC, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”
Liz Foggitt, Publishing and Events Manager, Cravenhill Publishing adds, “The Transform Conferences have always been hugely successful, thanks to the guest speakers and the delegates whose experiences contribute just as much to the sessions. At this year’s MENA event, we have some great industry gurus as well as some slightly off the wall workshops, which will make people think twice about what they may already take for granted. As well as the deep industry insights, its also going to be a real eye opener and a lot of fun.”

Nicola Gregson promoted to MEPRA Chairman

Nicola Gregson, Managing Director of Ketchum Raad – Middle East, has been elected as Chairman of MEPRA, the Middle East PR Association, following the AGM meeting last month. Having been a member of the board since 2009, Nicola was initially responsible for Measurement and Evaluation, and was promoted to Vice Chair two years ago.

“The PR industry in the MENA region continues to progress at an amazingly rapid rate – MEPRA’s role is to provide access to training, ensure governance and best practice, and be the voice for the profession so that we can continue to drive the region’s PR industry forwards,” says Nicola. “I am incredibly proud to be working with such strong Board members representing both international PR networks and regional agencies and global and national companies.”

Europe’s Transform Awards to debut in Middle East

Europe’s revered Transform Awards Programme is launching its inaugural Transform Awards MENA, to be held in Dubai in June 2014. The event, which until now has been held exclusively in London, is Europe’s only awards dedicated to creative agencies’ rebranding work. But, with the expanding number of prestigious ad and branding agencies in the Middle East, Cravenhill Publishing, the awards organisers, has broadened its reach to the MENA region.

“There is obviously an immense amount of rebranding, repositioning and brand transformation talent in the Middle East and North Africa and Transform Awards MENA is an excellent platform to celebrate that,” says Andrew Thomas, Founder of Transform, and Managing Director, Cravenhill Publishing.“The European Transform Awards are seen as a very real assessment of best practice, creativity, strategy, implementation and effectiveness and I’m sure the event here in Dubai will carry equal kudos. It is an award every agency will want to have in their cabinet.”