• Transform magazine
  • May 26, 2024


Brand Excellence in the Gulf States: A Middle East Brand Summit Event


Brand Excellence in the Gulf States: A Middle East Brand Summit Event

Brand Excellence in the Gulf States: A Middle East Brand Summit Event


Ahmed Abdulghani
Vice President Strategic Business Development and Real Estate
Maalem Holding Company

Ahmed leads Strategic Business Development and Real Estate for Maalem Holding Company.

Ahmed has worked with international consultancies on various branding exercises, mainly in the property and financial services sectors in Bahrain, including Males Holding, Bahrain Financial Harbour and Majaal Warehouses as part of his role as a Development Manager and/or Corporate Communications Manager.

In addition to branding, strategic marketing and corporate communications, Ahmed has more than 12 years' experience in the field of real estate, property development and marketing. He has worked with local and international development consultancies and developers on master-planned developments, land parcels and development packages, sales and leasing of individual unit and major project launches. 
Ahmed holds a BSc in Marketing from University of Bahrain and a Masters Degree in Property Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Wissam Baghdadi
Director of Business Incubation

Ash Banerjee
Executive Director, Strategy CEMEEA

Ash is a senior brand practitioner who works from our London and Dubai offices, with a specific focus on KSA clients. He has worked across many geographies, categories, and business & brand contexts for over 30 years, and his client-side experience enables him to offer informed counsel to our clients’ C-suites across all aspects of brand development, growth and change.

Most recently he was Chief Brand Officer at Jawwy from STC (the first digital telco in the MENA region), and prior, VP-Brand Development at du (where he was also a Landor client), Senior Partner-Brand Strategy at Lippincott, and SVP-EMEA at McCann Worldgroup in London. His work at Jawwy and du was recognised with the Grand Prix at the Transform MENA awards in 2016 and 2014.

Over the course of his career he has worked on MasterCard, Vodafone, AT&T, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Celtel, Emaar, Saudi Aramco, and many other blue-chip brands. His recent engagements include Emirates NBD and VPS Healthcare in the UAE, and the Ministry of Economy & Planning in KSA. He’s also a Board Member of The Marketing Society Middle East, an author and speaker, and an awards juror.

Ash earned an MS in Advertising from Syracuse University, and an MMS in Business Management and an MS in Economics from the MIT-affiliated Birla Institute of Technology & Science.

Melissa Bayik
Head of Brand

Melissa Bayik is Head of Brand at Arada, where she oversees all brands from both a design and strategic perspective. Her current responsibilities include helping Aljada, Sharjah’s new AED24 billion lifestyle destination, redefine what it means to be a mass premium experiential brand for everyone in the UAE and beyond.

Prior to working at Arada, Melissa worked with Meraas to develop the new corporate and destination brands of the holding group during its transformational brand change.

With over 14 years’ experience, Melissa has worked with leading international design consultancies, and also owned and led a small Dubai-based design practice. She has been involved with a range of regional branding projects across most sectors including financial services, energy, shipping, trading, hospitality, petrochemicals, destination and real estate, and has worked with brands as varied as Majid Al Futtaim, Fawaz Al Hokair, Al Hilal Bank, ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company) and more.

Melissa is passionate about design and education; and their power to transform things at a large scale. 

Rania Biltagi
Division Head, Communications and Partnerships
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Saudi Aramco

Rania Biltagi is the Head of Communications and Partnerships at Ithra with over two decades of experience in marketing and communications. Over the span of Rania’s career with Saudi Aramco, she has held multiple positions from heading Corporate Brand Management and Advertising, to initiating and leading the development of Saudi Aramco’s corporate brand strategy and brand refresh that was launched in 2015. In her tenure at Ithra, Rania has overseen communications for several key initiatives such as: the 29th Arab League Summit, Tanween Creativity Season, the 5th Saudi Film Festival and the FIKR17 conference.

Dr. Nadine Chahine
ArabicType Ltd.

Dr. Nadine Chahine is an award winning Lebanese type designer. She has an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading and a PhD from Leiden University. Her awards include two Awards for Excellence in Type Design from TDC. Her typefaces include the best-selling Frutiger Arabic, Neue Helvetica Arabic, Palatino Arabic, and Koufiya.

Nadine has been featured in Megg's History of Graphic Design and the 4th edition of First Choice highlighting the 250 top global designers. Nadine was selected by Fast Company for its 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2012 and by Creative Review to their Creative Leaders 50 in 2017.

Fadi Darweesh
Brand Director and Head of Projects
Brand Lounge

As the Brand Director and Head of Projects at Brand Lounge, Fadi Darweesh has been leading his team on high-impact projects regionally and internationally to redefine branding in a wide variety of industries. With an all-rounded experience in branding & marketing, he has been successfully consulting to some of the biggest brands in the region, enabling them to excel. Some of the noteworthy clients he has led within Brand Lounge include RTA, Government of Dubai Media Office, Del Monte, Salehiya, and Daman, to name a few.

Mariagrazia De Angelis
General Manager

Mariagrazia De Angelis is heading the Dubai office of Landor & FITCH, responsible for driving the project teams towards delivering outstanding service and creative quality.

During the last 9 years at Landor Dubai, she has led successful rebranding programs on a wide portfolio of local and international clients across various industries including Teliasonera across 12 countries in Eurasia and the Nordics, MIA museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Alawwal bank in KSA and Byco in Pakistan.

Before joining Landor, Mariagrazia gained branding, business strategy, and international marketing experience on both the agency and client sides in Italy and the UK.

Mariagrazia holds a BA in marketing and communication from Publitalia '80 in Milan and is an honors graduate in economics from Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) Guido Carli in Rome.

Nigel Gray
Creative Partner and Founder
Interstate Creative Partners

A founding partner of Interstate, Nigel is primarily responsible for the quality of creativity throughout the studios. Nigel has led the creative team at Interstate since its formation. 

With a specialism in strategic brand development, Nigel draws on thirty years experience in creative direction, strategic thinking and graphic design for brand experience, identity, packaging, and interactive media.
As a designer, he is a visual librarian who’s passionate about design, art, culture and nature, and always looking for ideas that last and help human journeying.  
Nigel has over 17 years experience of working in the Middle East, with a particular interest in Arabic typeface, design and culture.

Ben Knapp
Chief Growth Officer and Head of Place Branding

Ben began his career early, launching a design consultancy before university. After completing his degree, and several years of growing his business, Ben went back to university in London to get an MA in Brand Strategy. He sold his business and joined Saffron Brand Consultants in 2006, where he has worked ever since.

He has worked for clients across a wide range of industries and locations. Areas of specialisation are telecoms, financial services, industrial companies and he now runs are place-branding practice. His notable clients are A1 Telekom Austria, the city of London, Kyocera Document Solutions, Facebook, XING and the city of Vienna.

Antony Lawrence
Executive Director - Marketing
Dubai Holding

Antony has had a career spanning three decades of branding from both the service and client side. After graduating from St Martins School of Art in London, he worked for a number of advertising and Design agencies before establishing his own boutique branding consultancy that specialized in Luxury, Lifestyle, Travel and Hospitality.

He arrived on the scene in Dubai in 2005 as the Group Director of Marketing with Jumeirah and was formative in the re-brand of the global luxury hospitality Group. In 2009 he transferred to Abu Dhabi, and TDIC, as Director of Special Projects and enjoyed a diverse portfolio of projects from hotels, museums, real estate, education and sport.

After six years as the managing Director of latitude Agency, Dubai, and a proud winner of the Transform “Best Regional Brand” category he returned to client side as the Executive Director of Marketing at Dubai Holding.

“This really is a job where I wake up every morning and feel inspired and driven to do something both challenging and surprising for both myself and Dubai.  My dream is to leave a true legacy for this wonderful city that I call my home, and in the words of our company slogan: For the Good of Tomorrow

Anita Mehra
Senior Vice President of Communication & Reputation
Dubai Airports

Anita Mehra is the Senior Vice President of Communication & Reputation at Dubai Airports – the entity that owns and manages the operation and development of Dubai’s airports – Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC), slated to become the largest airport in the world. In her role, Anita has strategic oversight for the airport company’s reputation management, brand engagement and corporate communications.  Thanks to her leadership Dubai Airports rates number one globally for media sentiment and in the top three across all social media presence channels. Most recently, Anita and her team delivered a new corporate identity and an exciting new consumer brand “DXB”.

Fahad Osman
Regional Director, Global Business Marketing MENAT

Fahad has completed the marketing triumvirate, having worked across the corporate marketing, agency and platform worlds.

Fahad started his career over 15 years ago at Emirates Airline. From there he spent 6 years between BBDO and Ogilvy. He then went on to lead the Regional Brand Strategy team at Twitter. Prior to joining TikTok, he led digital and brand strategy at IBM across MEA.

When he isn’t at work, Fahad is the quintessential nerd, dividing his time between gaming, coding, superheroes and wizards. Passions he shares with his sons Zane and Ryan, much to his wife’s dismay.

Oleg Nesterenko
Marketing Director

Online media expert, turnaround executive, and entrepreneur (CPO, CMO, CEO) who, for the last ten years, built success stories for the most prominent premium video streaming services in MENA, Eastern Europe, CIS markets, and their diaspora all over the world. Created brands and products that became undisputed regional leaders serving nowadays more than 80 mln users combined, like Shahid by MBC Group, MEGOGO, Viasat, Volia, Kyivstar etc.

Anthony Vanger
Global Commercial Director

When & where


Date: Monday 14 December

Times: 10:30 AM - 14:00 PM GST

Venue: Online conference, register to attend here


If you are interested in sponsoring and showcasing your brand at the Middle East Brand Summit please email athomas@transformmagazine.net.

Bespoke packages are available. 

Supporting Partners

If you are interested in being a supporting partner or would like to cover the Middle East Brand Summit please email lditcher@transformmagazine.net