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

04 July 2018

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.

Carlos Ghosn's daughters get their career starts in strategy consulting

16 April 2019

With the Ghosn affair taking yet another twist, this time concerning allegations in Oman, the world’s media remains gripped.

A highly celebrated figure in Lebanon, the case of ex-Nissan and now ex-Renault head Carlos Ghosn has captivated the media round the world, with his re-arrest and detainment in Japan on further embezzlement charges last week – this time concerning allegations in Oman – delivering the latest twist in the saga. For his part, Ghosn continues to deny the charges, labeling the latest allegations of financial impropriety as “outrageous and arbitrary”.

Much of the media fascination stems from Ghosn’s remarkable story. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Brazil, Ghosn spent much of his youth in Lebanon before moving to Paris to pursue an engineering degree – and in almost no time arriving at the very top of the global automotive industry as a feted turn-around specialist, having rescued both Renault and Nissan from probable ruin. The other factor; a cultivated lifestyle of celebrity glamour.

Front and centre in that image was Ghosn’s young family, including a son Anthony and three daughters – Caroline, Maya and Nadine – who have all grown into their own spotlight in the international business and entrepreneurial worlds. And in line with that A-list background, all three of his daughters got their career starts at the crème de la crème of the strategy and management consulting world; prestigious MBB firms McKinsey & Company and BCG.The Ghosn family affair with the international consulting sector  The eldest Ghosn daughter, Caroline, joined McKinsey in 2007 following a BA in International Relations at Stamford University – before founding professional career network Levo in 2011 with three of her McKinsey associates. Her husband, Nicholas Flanders, CEO and co-founder of carbon reduction tech-company Opus 12, (and former COO of Levo), is likewise an alumnus of McKinsey – serving for three and a half years alongside Ghosn in the firm’s New York office.

Carlos Ghosn’s second daughter got her start at Boston Consulting Group.  A regonised name in luxury fashion as the founder and creative director of Nadine Ghosn Fine Jewelry, her brand counts and Beyoncé and the recently deceased fashion icon Karl Largerfeld among its celebrity clientele. At BCG, Nadine, who also graduated Stamford, served as an associate in the firm’s luxury and consumer goods practice before joining a management programme at Hermès.

Like her eldest sister, Ghosn’s youngest daughter Maya joined McKinsey’s New York office – spending over three years there as an engagement manager before departing in 2016. Maya is now Manager, Housing Affordability for the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan to promote social equality. Incidentally, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, a former McKinsey consultant, has been a mentor to Caroline and also founded, where Maya first started out as an intern.

Carlos Ghosn’s son Anthony – who has now been embroiled in his father’s affair with accusations of money being funneled via Oman toward his financial services start-up, Shogun (where he is CEO but has not been accused of any direct involvement) – didn’t get his break at an MBB, but his step-brother, Anthony Marshi, the son of Carlos Ghosn’s second wife Carole Nahas, is a partner with BCG in New York according to French newspaper Le Figaro.