Memac Ogilvy appoints regional director and country leads in leadership overhaul

Memac Ogilvy has unveiled a new regional leadership team in its Public Relations and Influence teams, to be led by former Saudi Arabia lead Ashraf Shakah.

Ashraf Shakah is the new regional director of Memac Ogilvy
Ashraf Shakah is the new regional director of Memac Ogilvy

Ogilvy’s Middle East network has appointed a new regional director and three country leads – with hires from Edelman and Porter Novelli – to run its operations.

Ashraf Shakah, Memac Ogilvy’s former Saudi Arabia lead, has been promoted to regional director role following the retirement of long-serving incumbent Saada Hammad, who is retiring after 10 years at the network.

Shakah will be joined on the leadership team by country leads Peter Bellini (UAE), Chris Hayes (Qatar) and Dan Wilson (Bahrain and Kuwait), alongside existing senior talent in North Africa and the Levant.

Bellini joins Memac Ogilvy from Edelman, where he was director of reputation and worked across major global centres including London, Delhi, Jakarta and Abu Dhabi. He led public affairs and reputation teams, and earlier in his career worked as a campaign director for the Conservative Party in London.

Hayes, an Edelman veteran of 15 years, relocates from Washington DC, where he led the agency’s International Affairs, Corporate Affairs and Global Market Entry capability.

Wilson returns to Ogilvy from Porter Novelli in New York, and brings more than a decade of experience in corporate and public affairs to the role.

Memac Ogilvy said the new hires bring a wealth of strategic government communications experience and will be pivotal to growing its presence in the public and government sectors, supporting complex transformational projects across the region.

Shakah, who will be based in Dubai, led Memac Ogilvy’s Saudi Arabia agency to “impressive growth” across government and private sector industries.

Memac Ogilvy chief executive Patou Nuytemans said the appointments reflect “our ambitions for further growth in the corporate, government, and public affairs sectors”.

Shakah said he looked forward to working with the agency's leaders and teams across the region to achieve this growth.

“We are fully focused on delivering this thanks to our unique positioning and fully integrated offering, which places dynamic and effective content and ideation strategies at the heart of what we do,” he said.

“In today’s complex environment, we’re focused on achieving cultural relevance for our clients, delivering long-term influence to make brands matter.”

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