Equation Media retains CBD, wins NFPC campaign; hunt on for next CEO

Roger Sahyoun

Growth on track says chairman Roger Sahyoun; group eyes digital opportunity in KSA, media agency presence in Iran.

The hunt is on for a new CEO for Equation Media, the media agency of The Network Communication Group, following the exit of Karim Koraytem in December 2014.

In conversation with Campaign Middle East, group chairman Roger Sahyoun, who has taken on the role of acting CEO of Equation Media, underlined that the agency will be ‘very picky’ in choosing its next head. The agency is in no hurry, he explained, having ‘exceeded its targets’ for 2015 by retaining accounts such as Commercial Bank of Dubai, and winning a campaign for Lacnor from National Food Products Company (NFPC), in the very first month of the year.

Koraytem has admittedly exited with the Alcatel media account and a few people on the team, but it has neither dented the agency’s growth projections nor will it affect future plans, underlined Sahyoun.

“We have also won some new accounts, which will be announced in due course. As for the CEO, we are in talks with potential people, and we’d like to choose someone who is clean and fits with what we stand for as an agency. Equation Media will be steady and grow slowly, like we grew AGA ADK in advertising. We don’t have debt in the market. We will keep our clean reputation,” said Sahyoun, on the future of Equation Media.

Also in early 2015, the agency claims to have recruited senior hands to strengthen Equation Media in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a focus market for the year. The names of the new hires would be revealed in due course, said the group’s chairman.

For Equation Media, Sahyoun sees potential for growth in Iran. In the market, the agency has been handling client needs but has not formally established its presence. The issues with Iran are political, but it holds potential, emphasised the agency head.

He explained, “I certainly see potential in Iran. The market has money but we unfortunately can’t do business there because of the political situation. Since last year, we have been doing business there under our name, and I am keen to establish a presence (formally).”

Group expansion

Between its four units offering advertising (AGA ADK), media planning and buying (Equation Media), PR (Pencell) and digital creative solutions ([email protected]), TNCG has around 175 staffers across offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh, Amman, Beirut and Cairo. Of these, over 70 are based in Dubai. Across offices, AGA ADK would account for about 40 per cent of the total headcount, revealed the group’s chairman.

In Kuwait, the group is in talks with a ‘potential partner’, said Sahyoun. Without revealing the nature of conversations, he hinted that the agency might take the acquisition route to foray into the market. If current talks materialise, an announcement should be out in early 2015.

Also in 2015, the group will make its foray in the digital space in Saudi Arabia., with [email protected] Among the four units, [email protected] is the fastest growing, albeit on a smaller base. The digital entity, which commenced with one member of staff 18 months ago, now has 17 people, revealed Sahyoun.

Pencell, which has a presence in Jeddah, is expected to establish a presence in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, in line with client needs, in this calendar year.

(Article has been amended basis a clarification from TNCG that it has won a campaign for Lacnor from NFPC, and not retained the NFPC account as reported.)