Shake-up ushers in new senior team at Starcom

Starcom Mediavest in the Middle East and North Africa has unveiled its new senior management line-up as part of its plans to strengthen its operations across the region.

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By  Tim Addington Published  April 30, 2006

Starcom Mediavest in the Middle East and North Africa has unveiled its new senior management line-up as part of its plans to strengthen its operations across the region. The shake-up is the first significant personnel change orchestrated by Matt Blackborn, chief executive officer at SMG’s parent company, Publicis Media Groupe MENA, following his arrival in the region last August. Philip Jabbour, former managing director of Starcom Dubai, becomes group director in charge of marketing and new business development for SMG MENA. Hisham Tannir, who was the managing director of the agency’s Procter & Gamble business across the region has been promoted to managing director of Starcom’s regional markets, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Levant and Kuwait. Tarek Daouk, who led P&G’s business in the Gulf region, has been named as Starcom’s new Dubai managing director. Alex Saber has been appointed the group trading director for SMG MENA, as well as continuing his current role as MD of Mediavest. And Karine Barakat, who was media director at Starcom Dubai, becomes general manager of the Egypt operation. Last year was a period of instability for SMG following the departure of Tarek Ayntrazi, Starcom’s regional CEO. Blackborn, who was previously executive buying director at SMG UK, has been tasked with making the agency more transparent and accountable in line with Publicis corporate policies. Jabbour told Campaign: “Last year was not a normal year in terms of our operations — a lot of changes were taking place. Our new business growth was modest, but we still had double-digit growth.” Daouk, added: “What happened last year just slowed the momentum.” So far in 2006 the agency has recorded seven new business wins in the first three months. Tannir said that this “new generation” of Starcom managers have been charged with strengthening the agency’s existing buying and planning operations, as well as identifying new business opportunities. The agency has also ramped up its staff training, with every Starcom employee across the regional network being sent on at least six external training courses this year. Blackborn said: “Organic growth and development is a building block of any successful company. At SMG this has always been the case and will continue to be so. “We believe in investing in our people and encouraging them to make the leap into more challenging roles. “In this particular case, we identified functional areas of expertise to be led by relevant individuals, in parallel to critical operational roles.”

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