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.

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

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 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.”