ABU DHABI--Edelman has made two senior hires to its Middle East operation, including Simon Buerk to a new role leading the firm’s regional expansion.

Buerk joins Edelman from Glencore, where he was head of communications and helpd the company complete one of the largest IPOs of recent times. He previous served as Shell's comms chief in Qatar. He will also aim to deepen the firm's energy and natural resources, financial and corporate offerings.

Edelman has also hired Omar Qirem, former chief press officer for UK health secretary Andrew Lansley, to expand its public sector and crisis communications offering. Qirem led communications for the UK government’s ambitious health reform programme, and was also involved in some significant issues in the UK over the past twelve years, including the government’s response to the collapse of car-maker MG Rover and the eurozone financial crisis.

Buerk and Qirem will both report to Iain Twine,  Edelman Middle East and Africa GM. They join a team of 52 in the Middle East. The Holmes Report recently reported that Edelman had increased the size and scope of its key Mubadala account, which has helped drive the firm's growth since its Middle Eastern launch in 2008.

Edelman currently operates two wholly0owned offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with a network of affiliates across the Middle East and Africa.

“Both Simon and Omar are experienced operators. We have gone from two people to 52 people in four very short years,” said Twine.  “Our clients are increasingly asking us to work regionally and these appointments reflect this.”