Publicis Groupe announced that Raja Trad, executive chairman Middle East & Turkey has decided to retire after over four decades with the Groupe in the region. He will step down from his role as of January 1st, 2022. Raja will, however, continue his association with Publicis Groupe in a new capacity as Senior Advisor to CEO Bassel Kakish. His extensive knowledge of the Middle East, track record of strategic thinking and experience building and leading one of the region’s great communication companies makes him an incredibly valuable advisor to the Groupe.
Raja Trad started his career with Leo Burnett in 1981 and rose to CEO MENA in 1991 before the agency became a fully owned subsidiary of Publicis Groupe in 2003. In 2016, Trad was named CEO Publicis Communications ME, heading the creative agencies Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Middle East. In addition, he was on the Executive Management Team for Publicis Sapient ME. In June 2018, Trad was appointed to the newly created role of Executive Chairman Publicis Groupe ME and Turkey. The appointment was the next step in the implementation of Publicis Groupe’s country model, launched in April 2017.
During the course of his storied career, Raja led Publicis Groupe amongst the leading communications groups in the Middle East. He contributed not just to the development of the Groupe but also to the growth of the communications industry in the region.
Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Groupe said: “Amongst the very good assets that were brought to us during the acquisition of Bcom3, there was Raja Trad with whom I have developed a strong professional relationship. Raja is a man of integrity, highly professional, with very high moral values and an incredible sense of responsibility towards our clients. Under his leadership, we have grown regularly and steadily with some of the best work produced in the region. Loved by teams and clients. Raja has always felt a genuine responsibility towards both. This, combined with his human and moral values, has made Raja so special. I have always trusted the man, the professional and the CEO. Over time, we have built a very strong and friendly relationship.”
“Together with Arthur Sadoun, Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe, I would like to thank Raja for everything he did during all those long years of hard work and success and to wish him the very best in his new chapter of life. Bassel Kakish will follow in his steps and Raja knows that his legacy will be both protected and enriched.”
Loris Nold, Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Groupe APAC & MEA added: “I have known Raja since I joined the Groupe 18 years ago. He’s been a true partner to me and we owe him big, both in the region and beyond. I am really happy that Bassel and all of us will have the privilege to continue relying on his precious advice.”
Raja Trad, Chairman – Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey, said: “I started my career with the Groupe forty-one years ago as a Regional Account Director in Leo Burnett and it has been an exciting, challenging and immensely rewarding journey. Over the last four decades, we have transformed from being a primarily advertising and media-led company to one that is platform-led, data-driven and technology-focused creative communication group.”
“During the course of my over four decades-long career we have witnessed the transformation of countries, companies and spawning of new industries and technologies that have immeasurably changed the way we look at the world and do business. I have always believed that my success was driven by the opportunity to work in a great company amongst truly talented colleagues, a leadership team that believed in the mission and wonderful clients who entrusted us with working on brands that transformed people’s lives.”
“I am truly thankful to Maurice and the Groupe’s leadership for supporting, trusting and guiding me through all these years and giving me the opportunity of being part of the Publicis family. Maurice is a leader who truly inspires and motivates and his value system and the human relationships he builds is what has made this journey a special one. I must add that my great partnership with Loris Nold over these last few years has enabled us to grow and put the Groupe in a very strong position in the region. The Groupe’s future prospects are extremely encouraging and I am confident that we will continue to consolidate our leadership position and lead the way for the foreseeable future.”
Bassel Kakish, Chief Executive Officer – Publicis Groupe Middle East & Turkey, said: “The Groupe and I have been very fortunate to have had Raja as our leader in the region. During his tenure, he has been the inspiration for so many of us both within and outside the Groupe. I have relied on Raja’s deep expertise throughout the years, and have valued his leadership and insights in shaping and building Publicis’ leadership team. I thank him for his mentorship, his strong sense of ethics and his work ethic which has made a significant and meaningful impact on me personally and the way we conduct our business.”
“Raja has played a significant role in enabling greater integration across the Groupe’s capabilities and accelerating collaboration between solution hubs across the Middle East & Turkey region. His strategic vision has been singularly instrumental in consolidating all of the Groupe’s offerings to work together to produce best in class work for all our clients that drive creative excellence and measurable business results. I am pleased that Raja will continue to play a role as Senior Advisor to myself and that I can continue to call upon his vast knowledge and experience as and when required.”
Raja Trad has played an active role in the communications industry in the Middle East region and has received many accolades during the course of his career – including the Lebanese Order of the Cedar (Knighthood). He was appointed to the board of the Dubai International Chamber Advisory Board in 2021 and Dubai Design and Fashion Council by the Dubai Government in 2014. In 2012, Raja was named as the Lynx Advertising Person of the Year in 2012 by the Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity.