MEPRA appoints new Chair and Vice-Chair 

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) has appointed Jonty Summers to the role of Chair and Lisa Welsh to the role of Vice-Chair of the Executive Board from 2019 to 2021. Jonty Summers works with Hanover Middle East where he holds the role of Managing Director while Lisa Welsh works with Hill+Knowlton Strategies MENA where she holds the role of Managing Director. Jonty has served on the MEPRA Executive Board for a year while spearheading MEPRA’s partnership with PR Week UK and participating in the planning and execution of the MEPRA Awards. Lisa has served on the MEPRA Executive Board for a year where she led the planning and implementation of MEPRA’s inaugural REMAP Festival.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to build on MEPRA’s strong foundations as a champion of excellence in public relations,” says Jonty. “MEPRA’s work is shaped by the dynamics, creativity and energy that characterise the region. Signature events like last month’s REMAP creativity conference, the Majlis and the Awards, as well as partnerships with international bodies like CIPR, reflect this mission as we look to encourage ever greater levels of professionalism in the industry.”

“MEPRA is transforming the communications industry as we know it, driving creativity, excellence and development across the region,” says Lisa. “I am honoured to take on the Vice Chair role, and thank both Ray and Deema for their exceptional work to date, along with the executive and strategy board. We look forward to announcing next year’s strategy in January, and taking MEPRA to the next level.”

New Regional Communications Manager at Whirlpool EMEA

Whirlpool EMEA, part of Whirlpool Corporation has appointed Layal Dalal to the role of Regional Communications Manager. Layal previously worked with MSL Group as Communications Manager and most recently with Hill+Knowlton Strategies as Account Executive – Technology Practice. In her new role, she will handle all communications for Whirlpool brands, which includes Whirlpool, Indesit Ariston and Kitchen Aid across the MENA region.

“I am thrilled to join the Whirlpool EMEA team,” says Layal. “Having worked with a number of multinational brands in the consumer technology space, I have found a genuine passion for the industry, which I am excited to bring to my new role. I look forward to further establishing Whirlpool’s PR footprint in the region.”

BPG Cohn & Wolfe makes senior appointments

BPG Cohn & Wolfe has made three new appointments following the expansion plan of its corporate and technology practice. Hala Sarieddine has taken on the role of Account Director having previously worked with Weber Shandwick and most recently with Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Also appointed to the role of Account Director is Ajith Henry who has experience in handling financial services clients and previously worked with APCO as well as ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller.

Mara Carpencu joins the team as Associate Account Director having previously worked with Active DMC, where she worked across integrated communications campaigns for international B2B and B2C clients she brings with her experience in communications and events.

In their new role, they will join the senior management team at BPG Cohn & Wolfe and build the current client portfolio of the agency, which includes KPMG, HMD Global – the home of Nokia phones, Booz Allen Hamilton and Omantel. They will also deliver innovative solutions to build, protect and enhance the brand value of the agency’s clients.

“We are excited to welcome Hala, Ajith and Mara to our team,”says Ketaki Banga, Business Director, Corporate and Technology, BPG Cohn & Wolfe. “Our technology and corporate practice has grown to over 16 accounts in the past three years and we credit this success to the entrepreneurial culture encouraged at every level in the BPG Group.”

Shortlist revealed for PRCA Awards

PRCA MENA has announced the shortlisted nominees for its inaugural awards ceremony that will take place on February 8, 2017 at the H Hotel, Dubai. The nominees include: Q Communications, Seven Media, TOH PR, Memac Ogilvy, Markettiers and Grayling as well as Hill+Knowlton Strategies, among other agencies of the region.

The awards will honour agencies and media professionals across 13 categories – B2C Campaign, sponsored by HAVOC Creative; B2B Campaign; Crisis Communications, sponsored by LexisNexis; Digital Campaign, sponsored by Markettiers; Influencer Relations; Integrated Campaign, sponsored by TINT; Media Relations; Regional Campaign of the Year and Rising Star, both sponsored by MCG Associates; Results on a Budget; PR Leader, sponsored by ICCO and Small Consultancy of the Year, sponsored by The Media Network as well as Large Consultancy of the Year.

“I am delighted to announce the shortlist for the awards,” says Leanne Foy, General Manager, PRCA MENA. “The work submitted demonstrated excellent work across the region. Congratulations to all shortlisted.”

Hill+Knowlton appoints new Account Executive

The Dubai offices of communications agency, Hill+Knowlton Strategies has appointed Maha Hussein to the role of Account Executive under its Finance and Professional Services team. Previously an Account Executive at Four Communications, Maha will now contribute to all PR activity for the agency’s financial and corporate clients.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Hill+Knowlton,” says Maha. “I like that it has a very strong GCC network as well as a robust global and affiliate network. Its rigorous professional training and development programs are what drew me to join and I am very pleased to be a part of the team.”

MEPRA announces 2016 award winners

Winners of the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2016 were announced last night at the eighth annual awards event held at the JW Marriott Marquis. The ceremony recognised the most outstanding communicators for their best practices, which includes strategic approach, creative tactics and evaluation excellence. With over 240 entries, 17 notable winners were announced including Weber Shandwick MENA, winning Agency of the Year Award, Impact Porter Novelli, for the integrated Campaign of the Year and Atlantis the Palm, sweeping up the award for In-house Team of the Year. Other winners also emerging in multiple categories include Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Cicero & Bernay PR and Four Communications.

“We are thoroughly impressed by the superb level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in the entries that we have received for this year’s awards,” says said Brian Lott, Chairman, MEPRA and Executive Director of Communications, Mubadala. “It is with immense pleasure that we honour the crème de la crème of the regional communications industry tonight. We are confident that this can only raise the bar for everyone in the business as

Nominees announced for MEPRA Awards

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) Awards 2016 shortlist has been announced. The awards have been divided into 17 categories – including Best Integrated Campaign, Best Use of Social Media and newly added category for in-house professionals, Outstanding Young Communicator – each award is designed to recognise exceptional returns on investments, creativity and strategic impact by agencies, corporates, teams and individuals. Shortlisted companies include: Four Communications, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Edelman, Mubadala, Seven Media and Weber Shandwick MENA. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony on November 23, 2016 at the JW Marriott Marquis, decided by a panel of renowned industry judges.

“Judging this year was even more challenging than ever,” says Jamal Al Mawed, Head of Corporate Communications, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The industry has advanced in terms of its use of data analytics to measure the performance of campaigns. This means we had greater access to real figures than ever before making the judging process more about the cold hard results, than about the creativity of the idea. We are delighted at the progress made and we see a very strong future for the communications industry across the region.”

Hill+Knowlton appoints new CEO

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has appointed Bashar AlKadhi to the role of Chief Executive Officer, MENA, starting September 2016. Previously COO at ASDAA’A Burson-Masteller, Bashar has over 17 years of experience in PR having worked in senior roles for companies including; i2 Group, Coca-Cola and intermarkets PR. In his new role, he will oversee Hill+Knowlton’s business across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, as well as join the company’s management team and serve as the Senior Vice President, EMEA.

“I am very pleased to have Bashar AlKadhi onboard,” says Lars Erik Grønntun, Chairman and CEO, Hill+Knowlton, EMEA. “He comes very highly recommended from clients, colleagues and senior executives alike. Bashar brings with him a number of qualities to our company, including a dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit and a keen intellect. But, first and foremost, he is a client man and I look forward to having him engage with our existing and new clients in the region.”

Bashar adds “I am truly excited to take on this new challenge. Hill+Knowlton Strategies was the first international PR company established in the Middle East and has a long history in the region. Now it is my turn to be the steward of this legacy and take the company into the next phase – I look forward to getting to know the people and the clients as well as build on all the great things that I know Hill+Knowlton stands for.”

Hill+Knowlton Strategies named EMEA Agency of the Year

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has been named EMEA Agency of the Year at this year’s SABRE Awards in Berlin. The awards saw Hill+Knowlton nominated alongside other EMEA agencies Burson-Marsteller, Edelman, Ogilvy PR and Weber Shandwick, with the agency’s win being accredited to service innovation and significant client wins.

“Since consolidating our Europe, Middle East and Africa regions two years ago, a lot of people have worked hard to take H+K in the region to the next level,” says Lars Erik Grønntun, President and CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, EMEA. “By implementing our regional strategy of connecting, converging and learning we’ve managed to take the agency to a new level, winning exciting new business, building stronger creative and content bids as well as strengthening our regional footprint.”

Hill+Knowlton appoints new General Manager for Saudi Arabia

Global communications firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies has welcomed Matthew Dessani to the role of General Manager for Saudi Arabia. Matthew brings over two decades of multinational brand agency management experience to his new role, having previously lived and worked in the UK, Romania, Kuwait and Dubai. He will now be responsible for leading the firm’s Saudi team, under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Turki Alfaisal, focusing on strategy development, creativity and client service.

“Two decades of global marketing experience and international brand building provide Matthew with a fundamental understanding of how to frame an issue, define and target audiences and how to develop and deliver compelling campaigns across multiple platforms,” says Sconaid McGeachin, President and CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Africa, Middle East and Turkey.

Matthew adds “There is probably no greater or more exciting challenge globally for a communications professional than that presented by Saudi Arabia right now. The Kingdom is on the cusp of a remarkable economic transformation, while its position at the centre of global geo-politics and its size as the preeminent economy of the Middle East makes this a compelling opportunity.”