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

CNN International launches Future Finance

CNN International has announced the launch of Future Finance, a new weekly segment showcasing future trends related to the global financial system that will feature in two of the network’s highest profile business shows – Quest Means Business and World Business TodayFuture Finance will complement CNN’s business coverage by examining everything from a future without cash to high-speed trading that employs the power of laser beams.

Each month Nina Dos Santos will host a Future Finance 15-minute special programme highlighting the best in CNN’s series of short feature films, and offers global insight into what’s on the horizon at consumer and industry level. With stories from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas; Future Finance will be an opportunity to gain perspective on possible future trends related to all areas of global business innovation. The weekly reports began airing on June 3 2014, with CNN’s first instalment of its 15 minute programme launching June 25, at 10.45 BST / 11.45 CET.

A dedicated microsite will feature Future Finance reports and supplementary content such as digital explainers, info-graphics and analysis. The material will also appear and be promoted across other CNN business and news web pages.

KLCM findings announced

The findings of the third annual Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor (KLCM) have been released. The global study polled 6,509 people in 13 countries for their views on effective leadership, effective communication and the link between the two.

Signalling the rise of a new ‘feminine’ model for leadership communication, the research found that female leaders globally came out comfortably ahead on all of the top-five most crucial traits for effective leadership. In the UAE, these global findings are mirrored in all cases except ‘leading by example’. Female leaders were voted higher in key leadership attributes; communicating in an open and transparent way (61% female leaders vs. 39% male leaders), bringing out the best in others (56% vs. 44%), and admitting mistakes (61% vs. 39%). The trend has not yet overturned the feeling that male leaders are better in a crisis with handling controversial issues or crises calmly (42% vs. 58%) in the UAE – showing a wider gap than the global average of 48% vs. 52%. However, and most likely due to the historical, political and cultural landscape in the UAE, 63% rate male leaders (higher than the global average of 54%) as most likely to navigate us through challenging times over the next five years.

“This is not to say that all future leaders should be women, and that men have no place in leadership,” says Rod Cartwright, Partner and Director, Ketchum’s Global Corporate and Public Affairs Practice. “Rather, our findings reveal vitally important lessons for leaders of both genders, as they continue to grapple with the ongoing leadership crisis.”

Nicola Gregson, Managing Director of Ketchum-Raad Middle East adds, “This research is finally putting to rest the flawed assumption that women need to come across as aggressive, vocal or dominant leaders to make their mark. Given that many perceive this region as having mainly male dominated leadership, it is interesting to see the UAE following a global trend citing the future of leadership communication as more ‘feminine’. We are seeing the birth and acceptance of a new model of leadership communication based on transparency, collaboration, genuine dialogue, clear values and the alignment of words and deeds; a model being followed far more consistently by female leaders.”

KLCM also indicates that the global leadership ‘crisis’ persists as consumers continue to be disillusioned with their leaders. Looking at leaders across sectors, only 22% of those surveyed feel leaders are demonstrating effective leadership – down from 25% last year. However, faith in business leaders is growing in the UAE, with 31% of responders (up from 28% in 2013) choosing business leaders as demonstrating the most effective leadership – higher than any other sector leaders. About half (45%) feel that business leaders are effective communicators, higher than the global average of 35%. In total, 88% of responders in the UAE have the same or more confidence in business leaders than in 2013.

Additionally, in line with global findings, 47% of responders in the UAE have named trustworthiness as the most important attribute for corporations, more so than financial strength (28%) and corporate social responsibility (27%).

Now in its third year, the KLCM study of 2014 has underlined the importance of the Good Leader Formula: Credible Leadership = Open Communication + Decisive Action + Personal Presence.