Former barrister Guy Thonard joins Bates from Doremus - Omnicom's specialist banking, financial and business-to-business advertising arm in Hong Kong.
Thonard previously worked for a string of Hong Kong agencies, including The Tomorrow Group, Rapp Collins DDB, OgilvyOne and JWT.
Clark Williams, executive vice president of Bates PanGulf, said the company had been looking to hire another creative director to beef up its offering to key clients in banking, finance, real estate, hospitality and retail.
"We received a lot of resumes but when we saw Guy's experience and his excellent portfolio we saw that he was the right candidate for this market," he said.
Thonard told Campaign he had been attracted to Bates because of its specialist portfolio and its "thoughtful" approach to advertising.
He said: "It's generally not a bad idea to have a speciality when you're in advertising. Everybody wants to make Coke ads, but to actually specialise in property development, banking and finance, there is sense in that.
"Bates specialises in these areas and so I think that's why there is the attraction here for me. That's not to say that I wouldn't enjoy working on a drinks ad though."
He added: "What this agency offers is perhaps a more thoughtful approach to the business.
"A lot of agencies are a bit showbizzy and not as thoughtful. Here, there seems to be a lot more preparation and that adds to a better value proposition for clients."
Thonard said he was looking forward to drawing inspiration from the UAE's wide ethnic mix, which he said would play an important role in creative development.
"I think that in a couple of years we're going to see some extraordinary advertising coming out of Dubai simply because of the diverse ethnicity here," he said.
Bates PanGulf's clients include First Gulf Bank, investment company Istithmar, Nakheel, Jumeirah, ABN Amro and Tamweel.
Thonard will work alongside Bates' other creative director, Indroneel Dhar.