Dubai - Simon Francis, Regional CEO Europe, Middle East & Africa for Saatchi & Saatchi the 'Lovemarks' company, has announced today the appointment of Elias Ashkar to the newly created position of Regional Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East & North Africa.
Ashkar began his career with Procter & Gamble before taking on a global marketing role with Mattel, based in Los Angeles. He then came to the Middle East to run JWT/TMI for six years in charge of Saudi Arabia, in addition to other broader regional responsibilities.
In 1990, Ashkar moved to Pepsi Cola International as Vice President, in charge of marketing and business development across the Middle East and Africa.
He subsequently joined the Coca-Cola Company, spending eleven years running its businesses across a range of countries including Iran, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the countries of Central Asia, Ukraine and Belarus. Following that, Ashkar spent three years as Vice President with the Indevco Group in Lebanon before setting up his own consultancy business.
"We have a commanding presence across the region and Elias's appointment will ensure that we build on our reputation as a creative hothouse across all disciplines, continue to grow our market share and ignite a growth plan to make Saatchi & Saatchi the dominant player in this exciting, diverse and growing market," said Francis of the appointment.
Ashkar commented: "I am very excited to be joining Saatchi & Saatchi in a role that will ultimately serve to build our operations cohesively in this dynamic region by driving innovation and the development of ideas. The challenge of giving our clients a real competitive advantage here is one I am thrilled to take on, and I am looking forward to being a strategic part of this outstanding global creative enterprise."
Ashkar graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles with a BA, and completed his MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.