Carat intends to triple its Middle East workforce by the end of October as it expands to cover 17 countries across the region following its winning of the Nokia media account.
The media agency is currently negotiating with affiliates in several new markets and within three months its expected new offices will give Carat one of the widest regional presences of all networks in the region, according to Antonio Boulos, the recently-appointed CEO of parent company Aegis Media Middle East.
In the GCC, Carat is already present in the UAE and Saudi Arabia but will soon have offices in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait. In the Levant, Carat has an office in Lebanon and will soon be present in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan, while its North African presence includes Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the latter of which also serves Libya. Iran is another imminent target, said Boulos.
The long-planned expansion has been accelerated by Carat’s $500 million Nokia win for EMEA, with the Middle East operation allowed an extended changeover period to strengthen its geographical reach and digital expertise before taking over the account from Mediacom by next June.
Boulos said the growth was being driven by the requirements of not only Nokia but also existing clients, as well as forecasts of future opportunities. “We are committed to the region, we see growth and what is happening this year will not deter us. On the contrary, it’s a good time to proceed with the expansion. Under such conditions, recruiting, expanding and investing are more beneficial than last year or the year before,” he said. “We are not the largest, we know that, but we have a very healthy operation and a very good cash flow.”
Boulos said the regional operation would now pursue local clients more aggressively than before. “When I talk about expansion, we want to bring the same quality to the Middle East that Carat offers in its best markets,” he said.