Peter Moura­cade: The Race is on

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There is a gen­eral frus­tra­tion caused by the cor­po­rate agen­das of multi­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion groups.

Peter Moura­cade, the former Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Leo Bur­nett Beirut has re­cently taken on the role of CEO of the Beirut Marathon As­so­ci­a­tion. Quit­ting a ca­reer in com­mu­ni­ca­tion to chair a suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion like the BMA seems a nat­u­ral tran­si­tion to Moura­cade. In the fol­low­ing Q&A, he ex­plains it all. You’ve been in the ad busi­ness for over a decade and a Bur­net­ter for half that time. What prompted you to quit ad­ver­tis­ing and how easy was such a de­ci­sion?

I’ve been in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try for more than 12 years now, out of which I’ve spent my best seven years with Leo Bur­nett. It’s been a beau­ti­ful jour­ney and leav­ing Bur­nett has been the tough­est pro­fes­sional de­ci­sion I’ve ever had to make, be­cause I’m ex­tremely at­tached to the peo­ple and the cre­ative tal­ents (they are one of a kind). The re­la­tions I’ve built with my amaz­ing clients (some of the bold­est pro­fes­sion­als in the re­gion) are ir­re­place­able. I re­ally don’t see it like I’ve quit Leo Bur­nett, be­cause I still feel very much part of this world, but I de­cided to em­bark on a new chal­lenge, one that falls di­rectly within my line of pas­sion, the sports in­dus­try. You may not know this about me, but aside from my ca­reer in com­mu­ni­ca­tion I’ve de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous in­ter­est for en­durance sports over the years and have be­come some­what of an en­durance ath­lete my­self. In 2012, I founded ‘Team Le­banon’ with a group of Le­banese moun­taineers, set on the mis­sion to be­come the first all Le­banese team to climb the seven sum­mits (the high­est peak in each of the seven con­ti­nents) while rais­ing aware­ness and do­na­tions for the Le­banese Red Cross. To date, we have suc­cess­fully climbed and reached the top of five out of the seven sum­mits (with Ever­est and Antarc­tica left in the sight line). So mov­ing from the ad world to the sports’ world is a nat­u­ral tran­si­tion for me, and it came at a point in my ca­reer where I was look­ing for more in­de­pen­dence and au­ton­omy in man­ag­ing and op­er­at­ing from A to Z. It’s in that con­text that I was in­tro­duced to Mrs. May El Khalil the founder and pres­i­dent of the Beirut Marathon As­so­ci­a­tion who truly in­spired me with her charisma, im­pres­sive drive, and vi­sion to grow and nur­ture the run­ning cul­ture in Le­banon while con­tribut­ing ac­tively to the Le­banese com­mu­nity.

Has ad­ver­tis­ing lost its ab­so­lute ap­peal on you or have you lost in­ter­est in the field?

Ab­so­lutely NOT! I’m still ex­tremely in love with the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­dus­try, I keep read­ing ad­ver­tis­ing blogs and am con­stantly on the look­out for new ground­break­ing cre­ative cam­paigns. To me noth­ing feels more in­tel­lec­tu­ally stim­u­lat­ing and re­ward­ing than brain­storm­ing with wacky minds and com­ing up with the next big ini­tia­tive that will make your brand or cause shine and be heard around the world. The thrill of look­ing at a prob­lem, try­ing to un­veil a deep hu­man truth, and crack­ing a par­a­digm shift­ing idea that changes the con­ver­sa­tion and turns what looked like an im­pos­si­ble moun­tain to sur­mount, into a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity. This is the beauty of cre­ativ­ity in my eyes, and it will never lose any of its ap­peal or lus­ter, es­pe­cially that we’re sur­rounded with like­minded brains that work re­lent­lessly to trans­form the world we live in through the power of their ideas. This be­ing said, it’s true that there is a gen­eral frus­tra­tion caused by the cor­po­rate agen­das of multi­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion groups. Their ir­ra­tional fi­nan­cial tar­gets are sim­ply not in tune with the busi­ness re­al­i­ties of our re­gion; and that is not the na­ture of our cre­ative in­dus­try per se (quite the op­po­site ac­tu­ally), but sim­ply the greed of some cor­po­rate lead­ers who are ea­ger to please their share­hold­ers at all cost, even at the ex­pense cre­ative minds and tal­ents. Even­tu­ally they will come to un­der­stand that this busi­ness model is not vi­able if it keeps erod­ing tal­ents and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to meet profit ra­tios, and there clearly must be a health­ier bal­ance to strike.

What will be your mis­sion and big­gest chal­lenge at the Beirut Marathon?

Turn­ing ev­ery Le­banese cit­i­zen (re­gard­less of age, gen­der, or creed) into a run­ner! We still have a long way to go.

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