Biggest movers and shakers across the industry in 2023

1 The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity announced Impact BBDO’s Ali Rez as the first jury president from the MENA region.  Rez was appointed as the the Print & Publishing Lions Jury President as a part of the Lion’s 2023 jury president line-up for its 70th edition.

2 Dubai Lynx, MENA’s Festival and Awards for creative excellence in branded communications, announced Khaled AlShehhi as Advertising Person of the Year, Outstanding Contribution.

3 Publicis Groupe appointed Jennifer Fischer as its first chief innovation and growth officer. Fischer will be responsible for elevating the Group’s competitive edge in the market and identifying new pathways for growth. This also includes working across the business to nurture a culture of innovation and collaboration under the Power of One.

4 GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, announced Amer El Hajj as MENA CEO. El Hajj, who will serve on GroupM MENA’s Executive Committee, will lead GroupM’s operations in the region. He will be responsible for strategy and operations across the region.

5 Havas Middle East promoted the core leadership of its Creative and PR arms, Havas Creative and Red Havas. The network promoted the heads of Havas Creative, Fabio Silveira, and Red Havas, Dana Tahir, to Managing Directors.

6 Havas Middle East appointed Naveen Mathews as the General Manager for Havas Media UAE. Mathews will oversee all UAE media operations and client servicing. He will also support Havas Media’s CEO, Houda Tohme, in expanding the agency’s offerings.

7 Mindshare, the global media agency network that is part of WPP, appointed an industry veteran to MD in Saudi Arabia. Darine El Kaissi brings more than 19 years of industry experience to the Mindshare team, including roles at regional creative agencies.

8 Publicis Groupe Middle East  appointed MacLean Brodie as CEO of strategic communications agency MSL Middle East. Brodie is responsible for overseeing client business and business growth for MSL Middle East. He will focus on strengthening MSL’s presence and earned media capabilities regionally.

9 Horizon Holdings appointed Stephen Worsley as Regional MD of Golin MENA. Worsley brings more than 26 years of experience as a senior communications professional in the region, delivering impactful communications strategies and campaigns.

10  Weber Shandwick MENAT promoted Ghaleb Zeidan to Regional MD for UAE, culture, learning and development, and partnership. For the past five years Zeidan has steered the agency’s UAE operations, overseeing both offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

11 Horizon FCB Dubai appointed Mohamed Bareche as Executive Creative Director. He takes the lead following an impactful tenure where he championed successful campaigns for brands such as Pizza Hut, KitKat and Louvre Abu Dhabi.

12 Havas Middle East expanded its creative department with Leonardo Borges joining as Executive Creative Director for the agency’s office in Dubai. Borges spearheads an award-winning creative team and is responsible for the work created for the agency’s clients in the UAE.

13 BCW shook up its global leadership and the ASDA’A BCW President Sunil John departed in December after 24 years. John  helped to transition the region and clients to Scott Wilson, a 13-year BCW veteran, who was promoted to CEO of BCW’s newly-formed EMEA region.

Left: Jon Marchant and Right: Ghassan Maraqa

14 Memac Ogilvy appointed Ghassan Maraqa as MENA CEO and Jon Marchant as MENA Group President. Marchant joins the agency after a six-year journey as MD for FP7 McCann Dubai, Momentum and Craft MENA. Maraqa has been responsible for Memac Ogilvy for two decades as its regional COO and CFO.

15 Publicis Groupe Middle East appointed Ramez Zeineddine as CEO of Starcom Middle East. Zeineddine will spearhead the next chapter of transformative growth and innovation for Starcom ME. He will oversee the business ops of the media agency across the region, with a focus on sustainable growth for clients.









16 Ghassan Kassabji was appointed as CEO of Impact BBDO Dubai, while Jad El Rabahi took on the role of Managing Director. Kassabji will continue to oversee growth for the region while spearheading the UAE business. El Rabahi was previously GM of the Dubai office.

17 Publicis Groupe promoted Loris Nold, the EMEA chief executive, to global chief financial officer. Demet Ikiler, who joined from WPP at the start of 2023 as chief operating officer of EMEA, will step up to replace Nold as CEO of EMEA.

18 Karen Doumet and Daniel Shepherd stepped into a Co-Managing Director roles, working in close collaboration and relying on each other’s strengths to take PHD to new heights. 

19 Publicis Groupe Middle East appointed Kareem Monem as CEO of Digitas ME. Monem will aim to accelerate the agency’s growth by connecting data-driven insights, creative experiences to deliver unparalleled experiences between brands and consumers.

20 Starcom Middle East appointed Donnacha Kinsella as its new Head for Saudi Arabia. Specialising
in digital marketing and data leadership, he brings a wealth of expertise that encompasses various client verticals such as CPG, Finance, Automotive, and Tech.