H+K’S ALKADHI ADDS EUROPE REMIT METIA CEO takes on wider global re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

As part of a global re­struc­ture of WPP-owned PR agency Hill + Knowl­ton Strate­gies, Europe and The Nordics now an­swer in to Dubai-based Bashar AlKadhi, pre­vi­ously CEO of METIA (Mid­dle East, Turkey, In­dia and Africa). AlKadhi re­tains lead­er­ship of those coun­tries in his new role as CEO of Hill+Knowl­ton EMEAx. Other CEOs re­port in to him.

The re­struc­ture took place at the be­gin­ning of June, when H+K moved from a “five-plus-five” re­port­ing struc­ture to a “three-plus-three” model. It had pre­vi­ously op­er­ated five re­gional clus­ters (Latin Amer­ica, Europe, METIA, China and the Nordics) and five strate­gic coun­tries op­er­at­ing in­de­pen­dently (the US, Ger­many, the UK, China and Canada). Now it has six re­port­ing units. Its clus­ters are The Amer­i­cas, Greater China and EMEAx. Its key coun­tries have been whit­tled down to the UK, China and Ger­many.

The US is H+K’s largest stand­alone mar­ket, al­though the ma­jor­ity of the net­work’s busi­ness comes from other coun­tries. AlKadhi says that the US is still a key mar­ket, al­though it’s not one of the three named ones, adding: “The global lead­er­ship sits there any­way, so it has its own fo­cus.”

AlKadhi says the im­por­tance of the Dubai hub is “a com­pli­ment” to the Mid­dle East teams. He says there are two prac­ti­cal rea­sons the Mid­dle East was cho­sen as the hub for MENAx: “ge­o­graph­i­cally, be­cause of where the Dubai hub is; and the size of the op­er­a­tion in the re­gion”. He adds: “We used to work closely to­gether any­way – this is a re­port­ing thing – but I’d be ly­ing to say that peo­ple here are not happy.”

METIA had about 370 staff be­fore the re­or­gan­i­sa­tion, which AlKadhi says gives it “the crit­i­cal mass to sup­port this re­gion, but also to sup­port Europe”.

And H+K’s re­gional op­er­a­tions have weath­ered the coro­n­avirus cri­sis bet­ter than some agen­cies so far. The METIA clus­ter has more em­ploy­ees now than it did at the start of the year, and AlKadhi says he ex­pects to see growth in the METIA busi­ness be­tween 2019 and 2020. Its first quar­ter was strong, be­fore Covid-19 hit the econ­omy in March, and a slow sum­mer was al­ready ex­pected.

H+K METIA has also di­ver­si­fied its client rosta un­der AlKadhi, who be­came CEO in 2016 af­ter six years as COO of WPP sis­ter agency Asda’a Bur­son Marsteller. “Three or four years ago, we de­cided we go to have a very broad and deep busi­ness, mean­ing no sin­gle client is more than 10 per cent of our rev­enue.” The busi­ness is spread out amongst re­gional mar­kets too. “We said let’s fix the roof while the sun is shin­ing,” says AlKadhi. “We al­ways had in mind that some­thing may hap­pen, though none of us pre­dicted this. But we live in a tough neigh­bour­hood.”

Global chair­man and CEO An­na­Maria DeSalva re­cently called AlKadhi “a proven leader who has worked across di­verse cul­tures and op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ments, and has estab­lished a growth cul­ture in METIA that we want to repli­cate across the en­tire agency”.

Bashar AlKadhi: CEO of Hill + Knowl­ton Strate­gies’ new EMEAx clus­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.