Communications consultancy Edelman adds senior advisors in Middle East

14 December 2017

Communications and marketing consulting firm Edelman has welcomed a number of faces new and old to its Middle East senior executive branch after a series of recent departures.

Entering with an office in Abu Dhabi in 2008, the global communications consulting firm Edelman has grown to become the largest public relations (PR) consultancy in the Middle East, working with both government institutions and multinationals from its offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with the support of its 160-strong team. Globally, Edelman boasts over 5,500 staff across 65 international cities.

Leading the fresh appointments, Todd Donhauser, UAE Chief Executive since the beginning of last year, will now have his role expanded to cover the full member states of the GCC (the Gulf Co-operation Council,  made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE).

Previous to his arrival in the Middle East, Donhauser served as Executive Vice President from 2009 to 2013 at the company’s Washington office, before helping to establish its first branch in Africa as Managing Director of Edelman South Africa.

Not unfamiliar with the MENA region, Donhauser had earlier in his career assisted in advising the Kingdom of Morocco in his role as a co-coordinator for Edelman’s media & presentation program, structure and instruction during a prior stint as Senior Vice President with the firm between 2005 and 2008.

Todd Donhauser, Bhavna Thapar, Rich Rust, Dan Leach, Paul Slinger

Joining Donhauser from within the Edelman ranks is Bhavna Thapar, who moves from Edelman India to take on the director of brand position. Thapur has been with Edelman since 2004 where she began in Mumbai as an account executive, steadily moving through the ranks to Director, Consumer and Health in India before her most recent move to the Gulf. 

Meanwhile, Rich Rust will come on board as Head of Digital, Dan Leach as Creative Director, and Paul Slinger in the position of Corporate Director. Rust was a former digital executive at Nissan before this year co-founding the London and Dubai-based digital consultancy firm Brave & Heart, and has been acting as Head of Social for public relations firm Ogilvy and Mather in the UAE from the beginning of last year up until this month past.

Leach meanwhile enters the Edelman frame after an earlier career spell as a creative director at Lexis (2011-2014), where he had worked with former Lexis CEO and current Edelman brand managing director Jason Galluci, while Slinger comes across from global PR and digital marketing agency FleishmanHillard, having served for the past two years there as a director. It will be Slinger’s second stint with Edelman in the UAE; from 2006 to 2012, Slinger was engaged as a director on the firm’s key account with the state-owned capital investment agency Mubadala, who are set to be the renewed focus of his return.

The round of senior appointments comes after a series of recent personnel losses and layoffs for the company, including the departures of Camilla and Lucy D’Abo, the founders of Edelman- acquired consumer firm Dabo. Other exits include managing director of reputation Jacob Drake, after six years with the company, and Rust and Leach’s predecessors Ema Linaker (digital) and ZorZi El Hoyek (creative), the latter after only three months with the company.

Donhauser described the departures as natural, saying, “As with any agency, turnover is an inherent part of the business. Given our scale, we have said goodbye to some senior colleagues as they pursue the next phase of their careers and we wish them the best.”

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.