Starcom prepares to appoint chief executive

One of the Middle East’s biggest agency networks was this week poised to name a new CEO.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  July 10, 2005

One of the Middle East’s biggest agency networks was this week poised to name a new CEO. Starcom, which vies with OMD as the biggest agency in the region, has been without a top man for the Middle East since the departure of Tarek Ayntrazi earlier this year to a new role covering central, western and eastern Europe. Campaign Middle East understands that Matt Blackborn, currently the buying director at Starcom MediaVest in the UK, is poised to step into the role, possibly with an arrival as early as next month. Last week, Blackborn was unavailable for comment and Starcom MediaVest EMEA boss Mark Cranmer was away on holiday. Blackborn, who has strong research expertise, would appear to be a sensible choice for the role in a market where this is an emerging discipline. His arrival would also mark a fresh start for Starcom following a period of tension between agencies and media owners and, in particular, with the Choueiri Group, which is the biggest media sales point in the region. Starcom was established by Ayntrazi in the region in 2000 and quickly grew to the number one position. The agency is part of the French-based Publicis Groupe. The Starcom regional CEO role is likely to include responsibility for the Zenith brand in the region, which is also part of Publicis. Campaign Middle East also understands that Ayntrazi may be about to quit the Starcom group just two months after his move to Europe and make a return to the region as boss of Future TV based in Beirut. Nobody from Future was available to comment.

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