August 30, 2004

Press Release

Bates Pangulf PR And Burson-Marsteller Announce Network Expansion Across The Middle East

Bates PanGulf PR, the exclusive Middle East partner of leading international PR firm Burson-Marsteller, today announced the first details of its expanded regional network and offices across the GCC and Levant region. The expansion includes BPG PR regional office roll outs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and key partnerships across the strategic Jordan and Palestine markets.

The announcement, made at a press conference today, was attended by Bill Rylance, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific and Middle East, representing the World-wide Executive Board as well as representatives from Bates PanGulf Group and its team, and partners.

Abdulla Majed Al Ghurair, Chairman, Bates PanGulf Group says: Bates PanGulf PR’s partnership with Burson-Marsteller has given the agency an international focus in terms of our clients, resources and talent. The announcement of our regional partnership and office rollout enables us to offer an extremely valuable capability to not only provide strategic solutions to our regional client base wanting to do business across the world, but also to Burson-Marsteller’s international clients wanting to enter the Middle East.

The exclusive partnership between Bates PanGulf PR and Burson-Marsteller was announced earlier this year and since then the partnership has moved from strength to strength including strategic new personnel investments, extensive training on Burson-Marsteller methodologies and connection with the international network. Since the partnership was established, Bates PanGulf PR have had a number of significant new regional client wins including Starbucks Coffee (Alshaya Group), GITEX 2004, Emirates University, PalTRADE – the Palestinian Trade Organisation, the Al Aqsa Fund of the Islamic Development Bank as well as Burson-Marsteller global clients providing strategic solutions to global Burson-Marsteller clients in the Middle East.

Bill Rylance, Burson-Marsteller CEO, Asia Pacific & the Middle East says: Burson-Marsteller very carefully looked to identify and build the right partnership relationship in the Middle East which had the foundation in terms of culture and values as well as the ability to expand significantly into other markets. Bates PanGulf PR provided this opportunity for us and I am proud to be involved again in the next step of our relationship, which includes the establishment of a regional network.

Our intention in this region, as it is across the world, is to build a world-class network that provides gold standard performance, as one seamless global business with a single culture. Our network in the Middle East will be built on a strategic platform that consolidates knowledge, ideas, insights, research and innovation, leading to strategic thinking and quality work for our clients.

Avi Bhojani, Group Chief Executive, Bates PanGulf Group, says: This is a key milestone for the Bates PanGulf Group. Over the past ten years Bates PanGulf PR has built a strong Dubai-based practice, which is now in an exciting expansion phase. The partnership with Burson-Marsteller has enabled Bates PanGulf PR to raise the bar in terms of our offer, differentiated in the market because of synergies created from the teams of both Burson-Marsteller and Bates PanGulf PR. A former B-M Managing Director from the Asia Pacific Office leads the new partnership. Ms Lynn Unrau, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, brings with her 20 years of communications experience in international and emerging markets.

The industry in this region is rapidly evolving with clients demanding a higher level of services and reach. The combined talents and reputation of Bates PanGulf PR, Burson-Marsteller and our new regional offices and partners will contribute significantly to the value of our PR practice making it one of the best in the region. Over the coming months, we will also announce plans for Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Bates PanGulf PR is headquartered in Dubai and led regionally by Ms Unrau. The regional team includes Ms Naamat Baradhy, Senior Vice President and Dubai Market leader; Mustafa Farsi, Managing Partner, BPG PR Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with over 20 years of global experience with Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola; and Mr Fawaz Al Sirri, Bates PanGulf PR Kuwait’s first executive who is a Kuwaiti national with an international public affairs and financial PR background.

Introducing Bates PanGulf PR’s Partners
Ellam Tam forms the Palestine part of the Bates PanGulf PR regional network, established in 2000 as the first communications and public relations agency in Palestine. Already sharing partnering clients with Bates PanGulf PR, the 10-strong team works across some of the highest profile local and international organizations, providing communications solutions to clients including the Islamic Development Bank, British Gas, the Palestine Communications Company and the National Beverage Company (Coca-Cola Palestine).

In Jordan, Bates PanGulf PR has partnered with local PR and Communications market leader iRelations, a team of ten professionals established by co-founders Khaled Tabaa and Lana Al Sakka in 2000. With both a public relations and an events arm (iJordan) Bates PanGulf PR will work with the iRelations team, taking an integrated approach to communications, working with a variety of multinationals, Jordanian government offices, associations and charitable organizations. Recent client work includes events and strategic communications for the Arab ICT Regulators Network, Nokia and the 2004 World Economic Forum.