By Arun Sudhaman

ABU DHABI: Edelman has named new leadership and launched a new office in Dubai, following the departure of Ben Morton just nine months into his tenure as GM of Middle East and Africa.


Morton, who left the firm in June, is succeeded by Iain Twine, who has led the agency’s hub in Abu Dhabi since it opened its doors in late 2008. Morton joined Edelman in October 2009, after four years as director of comms at Heathrow Airport.


According to Edelman EMEA CEO David Brain, Morton’s departure was caused by an inability to settle his family in Abu Dhabi.


Twine takes charge of an operation that is now worth 2.6m Euros, driven by its anchor client, Abu Dhabi investment vehicle Mubadala. The agency has responded to the growth by launching a new office in Dubai, headed by former Ogilvy MEMAC  account director Laura Tallett, who will report to Twine.


Edelman’s Dubai presence, said Brain, would service network clients such as Pfizer and HP. “Dubai is the media capital and sometimes clients want that proximity.”


In addition, Edelman has hired Mark Soohoo to oversee digital in the Middle East region. Soohoo, who was previously deputy internet director for John McCain’s presidential campaign, is based in Abu Dhabi.

The agency has also won two-new Abu Dhabi PR assignments. The first, for Abu Dhabi Motorsports, is an extension of its existing mandate for the Yas Marina Circuit which hosts the emirate's Formula One race. The second is the emirate's tech investment arm, Advanced Technology Investment Company, which owns stakes in a range of tech companies, including AMD.