The Annual 2022: Top 20 movers and shakers

Here’s the top 20 movers and shakers of 2022 in the advertising and marketing industry.

In June, Omnicom Media Group MENA announced the promotion of Saleh Ghazal to the role of CEO of OMD MENA. Ghazal had been leading OMD’s UAE operations since 2017, first as general manager and then as managing director. As regional CEO, Ghazal now oversees a network of 12 offices.



GroupM, the media investment group of WPP, announced that Ravi Rao will leave his role as the CEO of GroupM MENA. Rao had been with Group M for more than 14 years, the last seven of those in MENA.


In October, Integrated marketing agency Memac Ogilvy appointed Claus Adams as its UAE CEO. Adams reports to the network’s MENA CEO, David Fox. In appointing its first dedicated CEO for the UAE, the agency also upgraded its most senior leadership position from managing director. 


Meta announced the appointment of Fares Akkad as the new regional director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In this role, Akkad will design and lead the commercial growth of the company and its portfolio of apps, services and businesses across MENA.



In September, Omnicom Media Group MENA appointed Rasha Rteil as the new managing director of Hearts & Science in the UAE. She replaces Dana Sarkis, the agency’s previous general manager, following Sarkis’ decision to relocate to Europe.


FP7 McCann and McCann Worldgroup regional strategy head Tahaab Rais moved on from the agency after 10 years to take up the role of Publicis Groupe’s first regional chief strategy officer, working across Publicis Groupe agencies for the Middle East & Turkey region.


In July, it was announced that Nick Walsh, CEO of VMLY&R Commerce MENA, would be leading the consolidated WPP agencies, VMLY&R, VMLY&R Commerce, GTB and The Classic Partnership, as CEO of VMLY&R MENA. The agency also recently hired Miguel Bemfica as CCO for MENA.



In May, after 13 years with VMLY&R in Dubai, Kalpesh Patankar took up the mantle of chief creative officer at Leo Burnett, UAE, part of Publicis Groupe.



 In November, Mohammed Bahmishan moved from Publicis Groupe KSA to FP7 McCann KSA to take up the role of both chief executive officer and chief creative officer of the agency. 



10 Horizon Holdings, part of Interpublic Group (IPG) and FCB Global, announced the elevation of two leaders: Rafic Saadeh and Mazen Jawad. Horizon Holdings’ co-founder and partner, Saadeh, was elevated from chairman and chief executive officer to executive chairman, and Jawad will serve as chief executive officer after serving as president. 


In September, Edelman, the global communications firm, appointed senior Emirati business leader Tariq Bin Hendi as chairman, Middle East, to support the firm’s growth plans across the region and provide strategic counsel to regional chief executive Omar Qirem.


The Saudi Media Company announced the appointment of Nader Bitar as executive director. Previously, Bitar worked with MMP World Wide, starting as regional deputy GM, then moving to deputy general manager and his final role as managing director. 


Impact BBDO Group announced the promotion of regional ECD Ali Rez to chief creative officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan region. 



In February, Federico Fanti joined FP7 McCann MENAT as its chief creative officer. Later in the year, Aunindo Sen was appointed as the agency’s new executive creative director to work alongside him. 



MullenLowe MENA announced the appointment of Oliver Robinson as executive creative director. Robinson joined after spending seven years with MCN sister agency FP7 McCann in the roles of senior creative director and executive creative director. 



TBWA\RAAD Dubai appointed Paulo Areas to the role of executive creative director, overseeing the creative duties of the agency across all brands and clients. 



Wunderman Thompson has appointed Pablo Dachefsky as executive creative director for its Dubai office, overseeing a diverse cross-disciplinary team with specialisms including design, content, CX, tech and innovation.



In August, financial institution Mashreq announced the appointment of Muna Al Ghurair as its new group head of marketing and corporate communications. 



Sasan Saeidi has been announced as the International Advertising Association’s (IAA) new world president and chairman. Saeidi will hold the position for a two-year term from 2022 to 2024. He was also recently appointed as the CEO of Wunderman Thompson’s New York office.  


Independent agency YouExperience announced the appointment of Sachin Brian Mendonca as its chief creative strategist. Mendonca held previous roles with VMLY&R Commerce MENA and Leo Burnett MEA as strategy lead and strategy director, respectively.