WPP to roll out Buchanan brand across Middle East

RIYADH/LONDON: WPP is to capitalise on the burgeoning Middle Eastern financial markets by launching its City PR brand Buchanan across the region.

The global marcoms group plans to open 15 financial and consumer PR offices under the moniker Buchanan Middle East.

Twenty-six staff drawn from ad agency JWT Middle East & North Africa, Buchanan Communications in London - and new recruits - will start trading as BME on 20 November.

‘The speed of development is breathtaking, no sooner were we discussing the formation of the new ­operation than we were winning our first IPO,' said Buchanan director Tim ­Anderson, who will remain London-based.

Anderson said BME is already advising Aidar Properties and Canaccord Capital.

BME, using local and London-based staff, will be run by CEO Amjed Shacker. He joins from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

Leo Burnett Saudi Arabia director of planning and comms Mohamed Ghozeil becomes MD and head of IPOs. Both he and Shacker are based in Riyadh.

In London, Anderson and colleague Bobby Morse ­become BME directors, working alongside account director James Strong.

As well as financial accounts, BME will also provide consumer PR advice. Dubai-based JWT general PR manager Lisa Rutherford becomes BME United Arab Emirates managing director, working with former Tonic Communications LLC Dubai director Samantha Bartel.

Anderson said BME would focus on Riyadh and Dubai before expanding across North Africa. BME offices include Cairo, Muscat, Algiers and Istanbul.

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