Tarek Abdalla, Google’s regional head of marketing, is to take over as the chief executive officer of MediaCom MENA.
The marketing veteran will take up his new position in January, replacing former CEO Nick Barron, who parted company with the agency at the beginning of October.
Abdalla will be tasked with ensuring the agency’s clients benefit from best practice across the MediaCom network while continuing to grow local capabilities and strengths. He will also be responsible for creating additional value and driving advantages for advertisers through technology, digital, data and partnerships with media, entertainment and sports rights owners.
“Tarek has an incredible record of building brands and has a strong understanding of the complexities and needs of the MENA region,” said Nick Lawson, CEO of MediaCom EMEA. “He gives our expert teams the leadership they need to continue to develop our skills and capabilities, and ensure that our clients’ communications benefit from the content – and connections that will deliver business advantage.”
Abdalla takes charge of a MediaCom operation that has launched four new offices in the past four years. He will work closely with Filip Jabbour, CEO of GroupM MENA, who has been overseeing the agency since the departure of Barron.
“It’s really exciting to be joining the MediaCom family and leading its operation across MENA,” said Abdalla, who prior to joining Google led a 12-year career at Mars Incorporated where he worked across multiple product categories, brands and geographies. “The strength of the MediaCom network is immense and I am hugely excited about how we can use that to fuel the enormous potential for growth that exists in MENA. I believe MediaCom has the very best people, tools and resources in the industry, and my task will be to help bring that potential to life.”
The agency has had a challenging year, losing its highest profile account, Etihad, to Publicis Groupe-owned Starcom in July this year.
MediaCom MENA is currently the sixth largest media agency in the region according to RECMA. Its clients include VW, Mars, GSK, Sony and QNB.