DUBAI—Blue Rubicon is to launch in Dubai, the latest step in an international expansion plan that began when the UK PR firm opened a Qatar office earlier this year.

The agency has hired Simon Buerk as MD of its UAE presence, which will open in early 2014. Buerk, who joins from Edelman Middle East, brings considerable client-side experience, having worked at Glencore, Qatar Shell and Shell.

"He’s spent a long time in the UAE and in Qatar but is also a truly international operator," said Blue Rubicon senior partner Fraser Hardie. "We follow opportunity and talent. Simon was keen to do something entrepreneurial, at a time when we were, in the UAE." 

Hardie noted that Middle East PR growth had reverted to the healthy levels it displayed prior to the global recession. 

"That’s being driven not just energy and oil — but real estate, construction, financial services and entertainment," said Hardie. "It’s an ever-broadening economy. So it’s a very natural step for us to lay down a base in the UAE and Qatar where we already have experience of working with clients."

Buerk will lead an initial team of four, based in Dubai Media City. He arrives at Blue Rubicon after spending 16 months as a regional director at Edelman.

The expansion follows Blue Rubicon's sale to private equity firm LDC in December 2012. Further international growth is expected from the agency, particularly in Asia.