Starcom promotes digital chief Rayan Karaky to broader role running emerging markets

Media agency Starcom MediaVest Group has added the emerging markets to the job scope of the chief digital officer for buying unit Vivaki in Middle East and North Africa.

Rayan Karaky takes on the role of chief digital officer for MENA and emerging markets – which include India, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Russia, Poland and South Africa – for SMG.

The announcement:

New York, May 20, 2013 – Starcom MediaVest Group today announced that Rayan Karaky has been appointed Chief Digital Officer, MENA and Emerging Markets. In this new expanded role, Karaky will continue to report to John Antoniades, CEO, MENA and will also report to Matt Blackborn, President, Emerging Markets and he will continue to be based in Dubai .

“As in other parts of the world, digital strategy and innovation is driving growth across the Emerging Markets,” said Blackborn. “Rayan brings with him tremendous knowledge and a proven track record of brand building and aggressive growth in the digital space. He is a true innovator, and I’m looking forward to working closely with him.”

As Chief Digital Officer, MENA and Emerging Markets, Karaky will drive the advancement of digital growth, competency, integration and innovation within the SMG Global Network and specifically across SMG’s Emerging Markets. He will partner closely with SMG’s President, Digital, Data and Analytics, Lisa Weinstein, to develop and implement new digital media models, platforms, services, partnerships, revenue streams and required skill sets in the Emerging Markets. Among the responsibilities he will be tasked with, Karaky will champion the SMG Human Experience Vision and drive towards an objective to derive 50% of revenue from digital, content, Data & Analytics in Emerging Markets. He will also lead digital adoption and growth on SMG’s global network clients in Emerging Markets by developing customized structured plans for digital, deploying the company’s proprietary suite of products including Audience on Demand, ECHO, Connected Intelligence, POEM, Pathfinder, Agile Marketing and Discoverability Index.

“Digital convergence is reshaping our industry on a daily basis. I’m tremendously grateful to Matt for the opportunity to use my expertise in adopting new capabilities and driving integration across a wider geography,” said Karaky.

Karaky was most recently Chief Digital Officer, Vivaki MENA where he focused his efforts on developing the group’s existing structures, working closely with regional leadership in order to further build capabilities. Prior to that, he was General Manager of VivaKi Digital Operations, where he oversaw a wide range of key accounts including Orbit Showtime Network, MasterCard, GM, Kellogg’s, Richemont, ASPIRE and Emirates Airline, further propelling each brand into the digital age.

Karaky is responsible for growing the digital talent from 3 to over 90 employees in six years, catapulting the digital division from a #6 ranking to #1 in the MENA region. Under Karaky and his team’s leadership, Starcom MediaVest Group garnered multiple awards and accolades, reinforcing its leadership position in the market.

Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) won the coveted Media Agency of the Year title at the seventh annual Dubai Lynx Awards, which took place on 13 March, 2013. The win, which marks the third time in the span of five years that SMG MENA garners this prestigious accolade, further cements the group’s status as the top media buying and planning network in the Middle East. Additionally, Forrester Research named SMG a leader in “New Interactive Landscape,” making SMG the first media agency to receive this digital recognition.

Source: press release


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