Edelman Merges Middle East and African Operations
Posted on 2021 Feb,01

Edelman is merging its Middle East and African businesses into one working body, and is looking to expand into West Africa.

As part of the merger, Edelman Middle East CEO Omar Qirem becomes the chief strategic officer for the Middle East and Africa, while Edelman Africa CEO Jordan Rittenberry is now the region’s chairman. They will all run the business together as equal partners and remain in their regional leadership responsibilities.

Rittenberry, Edelman’s 14-year-old veteran, was previously in Chicago before moving to Johannesburg five years ago, when Qirem returned to Edelman in 2018 from Saudi Arabian family businessman Abdul Latif Jameel.

The merged business has more than 200 employees, and plans to expand further into West Africa. Edelman EMEA CEO and president Ed Williams said that a decision has not yet been made on whether this will happen in reality, or through access: “We are exploring all options to ensure the best possible results for Edelman and our customers,”

Williams said “connecting the dots” between the Middle East and African trade was “the next natural step” in Edelman’s regional strategy to strengthen inclusion. “There are a large number of brands and companies growing fast, with a wealth of strong local talent in both markets. This step will help us realize the opportunity this offers.

“We have a number of existing clients who are growing at a tremendous rate, and this approach will bring together capabilities and expertise from both continents to create better work for our clients. We are developing our organizational structure to help us promote talent in two businesses. and to drive equitable co-operation. “

The move is part of a “bold plan” for the region, according to Edelman.

Qirem added: “This will bring Edelman’s excellence to both geography, and help improve communication capacity for local, regional, and global customers. We have a growing number of clients, and this approach will bring together capabilities and expertise from two continents create better jobs for our customers.“

Rittenberry commented: “Our teams have been collaborating for some time, but this initiative creates an opportunity for dynamic growth across the region, creating quality centers that can compete and win at the world level by combining our experience and expertise together.”

In the Middle East, Edelman works with several regional governments and programs, and in Africa its major clients include Unilever and Standard Bank among others.