Omar Qirem rejoins Edelman in Emirates as new CEO for Middle East

04 July 2018 3 min. read

The PR and communications firm Edleman has made another key hire after recent staffing turbulence at its Middle East arm. Former Edleman director and head of public affairs in Saudi Arabia, Omar Qirem, will rejoin the agency as its new CEO for the Middle East.

Crossing from Saudi Arabian family business Abdul Latif Jameel in September, Qirem will replace the outgoing Todd Donhauser, whose role in charge of Edelman in the UAE was expanded to CEO for the GCC just last year. While Donhauser returns to the US with the firm as managing director, Bay Area, the departure follows yet another round of exits for what has become one of the largest public relations consulting firms in the Middle East following Edelman’s take-over of independent local outfit Dabo in 2015.

Since the acquisition, Edelman DABO has undergone a constant series of shake-ups at its Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, including the departures of Dabo founders Camilla and Lucy D'Abo, along with brand managing director Jason Leavy, following a significant round of redundancies. Edelman DABO managing director of reputation Jacob Drake, and digital director Ema Linaker, soon followed, replaced in a series of appointments late last year. The firm, however, has axed a further number of senior staff in just the past week, at least 15 according to reports, and will see the departure of its regional director of government strategies Robin Gordon-Farleigh.

According to the firm, the latest redundancies form part of an ongoing restructuring project; “Over the last several months Edelman has been looking at the UAE business landscape, our clients and how we can best meet their needs for the future. This has been a carefully considered strategic decision regarding Edelman’s priorities in the region, ensuring we have the right organisational structure in place at the right levels to drive our business, Corporate, Reputation and Brand into 2019 and beyond,” Carol Potter, Edelman president and CEO for EMEA, said in a statement.Omar Qirem, CEO – Middle East - Edelman

Edelman DABO will now be hoping that the experienced communications executive Omar Qirem can help steady the ship as its new CEO for the Middle East. Qirem previously spent over four and a half years with the firm leading its Saudi Arabian operations and as regional head Edelman’s Public Affairs practice, before departing to Abdul Latif Jameel as Director of Communications for the family business in 2016. Prior to his first stint with Edelman, the Saudi Arabian-born Qirem spent over fifteen years in senior press roles in various departments of the British government.

“Omar returns to Edelman with a raft of experience leading and executing strategic communications programmes across multiple sectors and markets,” Potter said of Qirem’s appointment. “He brings our clients and teams in the UAE deep market knowledge and expertise, as well as a strong understanding of government and public policy engagement. I am delighted to announce this appointment for our operations in the Middle East.”

Qirem responded in turn; “Having grown up in Saudi Arabia and lived in the United Arab Emirates for a number of years, I feel very passionate about the Middle East. It is clear the whole region is transforming, and Edelman - with its current team, regional experience, global network, deep sector capabilities and local expertise - is well-placed to help clients succeed. I really look forward to starting in the near future.” Current UAE managing director Teri O’Donnell will oversee regional operations in the interim.