Editors' PicksFeaturedMediaNewsPeople

MBC CEO resigns

Sam Barnett has led the company since 2002

Sam Barnett, CEO of Saudi-owned, Dubai-based broadcaster MBC Group, has resigned.

A memo sent from MBC Group Chairman Waleed Al Ibrahim to all staff at the broadcaster announced Barnett’s resignation with “a mix of sadness and gratitude”.

MBC, short for Middle East Broadcasting Centre, has 18 television stations, including Arabic News channel Al Arabiya. It was launched in London in 1991, as the first satellite broadcaster serving the region. It moved its headquarters to Dubai in 2002.

Al Ibrahim’s statement said there would be a “short transition period” while the management “finalise the process underway for identifying Sam’s successor from a pool of top industry executives with global expertise.”

Barnett will continue to act as an advisor to the MBC board from January.

Here is Al Ibrahim’s memo to staff in-full:


Dubai, October 8, 2019

Sam Barnett’s resignation: together, we move forward.

 Dear Colleagues – the entire MBC family,

I hope you are all doing well.

Throughout our history, MBC Group has continuously evolved thanks to the capabilities and dedication of each and every individual who has played a role in the growth of the business – helping to innovate, develop, and expand its offerings. But, like everything in life, much like companies and organisations grow and evolve, so do its people. Therefore, it is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that I would like to inform you of the resignation of our dear colleague, Sam Barnett as CEO of MBC Group.

Since 2002, Sam has played a pivotal role in the development and great success of the Group, leading by example with ambition, resilience, fairness and high standards of integrity and humility, achieving numerous significant accomplishments in the process. It has been a great privilege working with Sam, and while we will miss him, his loyal service and inspiring leadership, we wish him the best in his future endeavours.

During this short transition period, we count on your continued support – as always – while we finalize the process underway for identifying Sam’s successor, from a pool of top industry executives with global expertise. It is our absolute priority to find the right individual to lead the Group going forward, while maintaining a strong and growing organization. To that effect, I will share with you updates regarding our incoming CEO in due course. In the meantime, I am delighted to inform you that Sam will play a key advisory role to Board members, starting from January 2020 – thus focusing on strategy-related matters of importance. At all times, he will remain a genuine friend, and a strong ally to the Group and to me personally.

As Chairman, and representing our Members of the Board of Directors, we shall continue to thrive and grow as per our vision in the coming period, guided by the values that inspire us: creativity, responsibility, premium quality, and cultural relevance. Again, we are grateful for the commitment, passion, enthusiasm and motivation Sam has offered over the past 17 years.

Please join me in thanking Sam for his dedication, on behalf of MBC Group, and in wishing him continued success going forward.

“We see hope everywhere”… Together, we move forward.


Waleed Al Ibrahim

Chairman, MBC Group