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.

MCG& Founder Justin McGuire to lead expansion in APAC

Founder and CEO of MCG&, Justin Mcguire is set to lead the group’s expansion in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Founded in 2010, MCG& now consists of four companies across four countries; MCG&Co, which is a specialist recruitment business in the communications, digital and technology sectors globally, Kemistry, which focuses on HR, finance and operations, Hopscotch, a women’s career platform, and the newly launched Ampersand, which is a marketing and talent consultancy providing L&D, search, strategic advisory and M&A services in Dubai, London, Hong Kong and now Singapore.

Due to this growth and further expansion plans in the APAC region including a Shanghai office, McGuire is now leaving Dubai for Singapore.

The Dubai operations, which serve as the headquarters for the group, will continue to be led by Nick Clements, group COO and founder and CEO of Ampersand, Chris Quy, managing director of Ampersand and Rahman Risilia, EMEA managing director for MCG&Co and Kemistry.

“In 18 months, we have built the Asia business to become a significant player in the region. We already have two offices open (Hong Kong and Singapore) with a third set to open in 2019 when we will have team on the ground in Shanghai, and more planned to follow,” he says.

While McGuire’s decision to move makes strategic business sense, it’s not necessarily an easy one. “I arrived in Dubai nine years ago as a single guy who lost his job in the financial crisis and I am leaving Dubai nine years later with a beautiful young family, a successful group of companies and a hunger and passion to continue growing the business. The decision to leave Dubai was not an easy one for many emotional reasons, but having such a solid senior management team in place has made it possible. Strategically, for us, this is a logical decision to make.”

As the company focuses on growth in the APAC region, the MENA region has its own developments with six new hires in the Dubai office in the last six months with recruitment in the tech domain growing strongly. And although growth in the traditional agency-client base has been slow, McGuire expects it to pick up through 2018. “We’re big believers in the region and Dubai will always be our HQ and feel like my home,” he says.

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 and IPA form new partnership

Marketing and talent consultancy, Ampersand has partnered with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) to provide training courses across the MENA region. The partnership will see IPA offer advertising and marketing training across four main courses including the Foundation Certificate for new business owners, the Eff Test for those involved in effective measurement, the Commercial Certificate to help improve financial acumen and the Advanced Certificate for those with three to six years of industry experience.

“The depth, breath and quality of these training qualifications are globally renowned and we are delighted to now be able to offer IPA’s most important programmes to the MENA region,” says Nick Clements, CEO, Ampersand.

Patrick Mills, Director of Membership and Professional Development, IPA, adds “We are delighted to have partnered with Ampersand to help make the IPA’s industry leading qualifications and courses available in the MENA region. We are delighted to help play a pivotal role in raising industry standards to the benefit of agency and client communities and Ampersand’s knowledge and connections in the MENA region will enable more learners to take advantage of our offering.

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.

BPG Bates welcomes Abraham Varughese

Regional advertising, events, activation and design agency BPG Bates, part of the BPG Group, has appointed Abraham Varughese as Executive Creative Director. Abraham has over 18 years of experience in marketing and advertising, and most recently worked as Creative Director at Leo Burnett in Dubai.

In his new role, Abraham will work across all of BPG Bates’ accounts, heading the Creative Department. He will also form a part of the agency’s leadership team.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of defining the creative product of BPG Bates and hope to take advantage of the agency’s historical strengths, agile structure and integrated model especially in digital and media,” says Abraham. “Ultimately my goal is to make good work an organic outcome of well-thought-out everyday assignments.”

Nick Clements, CEO, BPG Bates, adds “We are delighted to have Abraham on board. His track record is a testament to his ability and we will benefit greatly from his talent and experience; he is a great addition to the team.”

BPG Bates appoints Executive Creative Director

BPG Bates, the regional advertising, design and events & activation agency headquartered in Dubai, has appointed Rodger Beekman as its new Executive Creative Director. Rodger joins from Havas Worldwide in Amsterdam where he was Chief Creative Officer. He has also previously worked with Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R, McCann Erickson, DDB, BBDO, TBWA and 60 Layers of Cake across markets in Tokyo, Cape Town and Moscow.

Rodger brings with him more than 25 years of experience from various markets, working with clients such as Audi, Nikon, Nike, Samsung, Nutricia, Coca Cola, Phillips, Wrangler and Ikea.

“Our search for a new ECD was wide ranging and comprehensive,” says Nick Clements, CEO, BPG Bates. “We met with some great candidates and we are delighted to have chosen Rodger. His pedigree is first class and we are excited that he will be bringing his energy and wide ranging experience to BPG Bates to spearhead our creative ambitions as we go forward.”

Rodger adds, “In an agency you need a strong foundation to be able to build up to the next level. At BPG Bates the foundation is there for sure, and so is the ambition to reach higher. It feels like I am joining the team at the right moment and am very excited about this new opportunity.”

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.”