All change as Readman leaves VivaKi

Mike Readman is to step down from his positions as country chairman of VivaKi and CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) MENA.

Readman, who has been in the region since 2007, will stay on until the end of the year, with Alex Saber, formerly COO of VivaKi, stepping into the position of country chairman.

The departure of Readman is part of wider changes within Publicis’ media agencies in the region, with Philip Jabbour to take the helm as CEO of SMG MENA and Tarek Daouk promoted to the newly created role of chief innovation and integration officer. Both appointments are effective from 1 January. Jabbour was formerly the executive vice president of business development for the broader EMEA region, while Daouk was executive vice president of SMG MENA.

Also promoted is Firas El Zein, who becomes CEO of Zenithmedia MENA. He was previously regional managing director. Zenithmedia operates under the umbrella of VivaKi (formerly known as Publicis Groupe Media), which aggregates the marketplace influence of four autonomous brands – media agencies SMG and Zenithmedia and digital marketing agencies Digitas and Razorfish. Talking of El Zein’s appointment, Andras Vigh, CEO for CEEME & Nordics, said: “This is the perfect recognition for the enormous contribution that Firas has made since joining Zenithmedia in 2008. Zenithmedia 2010/11 is a completely different and vastly improved operation – this is a tribute to Firas and his teams’ efforts in recent years culminating in the recent regional win for BMW in the region.”

Discussing the appointment of Saber, Jack Klues, global VivaKi managing director, said: “Our agency network in MENA is a successful ensemble of leading brands, having delivered consistently on first-best-only outcomes. Alex has been instrumental in driving growth through new business and new markets. His leadership, along with that of SMG and Zenithmedia, will continue to be a collaborative force that will further shape and drive the media landscape to the benefit of our clients.”