WSW adds to Africa and Mideast forces

WASHINGTON: Weber Shandwick Worldwide has increased its presence in the Middle East and North Africa by merging forces with two prominent shops: Rimon Cohen in Israel and Promoseven in Dubai.

WASHINGTON: Weber Shandwick Worldwide has increased its presence in the Middle East and North Africa by merging forces with two prominent shops: Rimon Cohen in Israel and Promoseven in Dubai.

WSW CEO Harris Diamond declined to discuss the exact terms of either deal, but said that both firms are now functioning "as part of Weber Shandwick," with participation in practice group and leadership activities, staff training, and new-business development. The two firms are now operating as Rimon Cohen/Weber Shandwick and Promoseven/Weber Shandwick, respectively.

"It is a global reality for us that we need to be able to service our clients in these areas, both local clients and international companies looking to grow their presence there," said Diamond. "We now have 14 offices in 13 Middle East countries, which I believe gives us the strongest network there of anyone."

Clients of the Israel office include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Israel Rail, Duty Free, Manpower Group, Israel Port Authority, and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. WSW clients already serviced in Dubai include Beiersdorf AG, McDonald's, Boeing, BMW Group, RCI, Siemens, Nestle, Masterfoods, and Coca-Cola.

Diamond addressed the issue of safety concerns in the region. "Even with the security issues and problems with the economy, Israel is a vibrant marketplace," he explained.

Roni Rimon, CEO and partner at the top-five Israeli firm, concurred in a written statement. "During this complex time in Israel, when the security situation is difficult and the economy is in crisis, we believe that PR plays an even more critical role," he wrote. "PR should be one of the main tools helping companies and organizations not only survive, but also look forward and continue to grow."

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