Speakers | Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit 2021

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Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit 2021

19 May 2021 to 20 May 2021
United Arab Emirates (the)

Speakers | Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit 2021


Managing Director, Dubai Media City (DMC), Dubai Studio City (DSC) and Dubai Production City (DPC), UAE

Majed Al Suwaidi was appointed as the Managing Director for Dubai Media City (DMC), Dubai Studio City (DSC) and Dubai Production City (DPC) in March 2016.

Prior to his current role, Majed was the Managing Director of Dubai Internet City (DIC), the MENA region’s largest ICT business community and Dubai Outsource City (DOC), a modern, hi-tech business hub dedicated to the growing outsourcing industry.

Majed began his career at TECOM Group as the Director of Business Development for DIC and DOC where he developed the business parks’ strategy of business partner acquisition and retention. Under his leadership, both business communities witnessed success and the effective implementation of TECOM Group’s strategy, a world-class business community developer, by delivering maximum value to business partners, stakeholders, and community as well as improving the market share.

He played a crucial role in supporting and fostering startups, entrepreneurs and technology SMEs within DIC, enhancing the technology ecosystem in Dubai. Under his leadership, Dubai Internet City launched in5 innovation centre to support start-ups in technology in 2012 and was named a Strategic Partner of Smart Dubai in 2015.

Chairman of the WAN-IFRA Middle East Committee, KSA

Dr. Saleh Alhumaidan has 30+ years of professional experience in various leadership positions in the private as well as public sectors serving in senior management and leadership capacities. He is founder, chairman and/or board member of several companies (some public stock) and not-for-profit organizations. For many years (2003 – 2015), he represented Saudi Arabia at the International
Labor Organization (ILO).

Dr. Alhumaidan is actively involved in academia both as a lecturer in Human Resource Management at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and member of the board of trustees of two universities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He holds Bachelors and MBA degrees from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, and a Doctorate in Business Administration
(Strategic Management) from Grenoble Ecole de Management, France.

CFO Ringier Group

Dr. Annabella Bassler, CFO Ringier Group since June 2012, began her career at Ringier in 2007, working in a number of financial roles. In addition, she has also been responsible for Ringier’s activities in Romania and is a member of the Board of Directors of Ticketcorner AG and Ringier Digital Ventures AG. In November 2019, Dr. Annabella Bassler launched the Ringier Initiative EqualVoice, which aims to give women and men an equal voice in media. Dr. Annabella Bassler studied economics at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, Buenos Aires and Los Angeles, subsequently completing a doctorate. After gaining practical experience in consulting, Annabella Bassler worked from 2004 to 2007 in various financial roles for Hamburg Süd, formerly the Oetker Group’s shipping company, in Hamburg.

President of Henneo, President of WAN-IFRA

Fernando de Yarza is the President of Henneo, a news media group that includes 20 minutes and Heraldo de Aragon (Zaragoza, Spain). Fernando de Yarza is a member of the board and the executive committee of Vocento. He is Chairman of Taller de Editores, Spanish largest magazine publisher; President of WAN-IFRA and the Association of European Publishers News Media Europe (NME) and a Vice-President at the Spanish Asociation of News Publishers (AMI). 

Jordanian media, career in media policies, journalism, and activism

Jumana Ghunaimat is a leading Jordanian media figure with an extensive career in media policies, journalism, and activism.

As a Minister of State for Media Affairs (June 2018 – November 2019), Ghunaimat led government communications, advancing progressive media policies, formulating the government’s socio-economic narrative, and closely managing crossgovernment media campaigns and operations.

As a minister, Ghunaimat advanced several media and communications initiatives, including reforming the appointment process for the senior leadership positions at the Media Commission (media regulatory body), JRTV (national TV and radio broadcaster), and Petra News Agency – rolling out a competitive merit-based appointment process. Fact-checking was a key communications priority for Ghunaimat. Accordingly, she envisioned and supervised the development, launch and activation of the government’s first fact-checking platform as a strategic and tactical response to a media environment characterized by aggressive fake-news dissemination. This effort was part and parcel of a wider approach Ghunaimat strongly supported to deliver a nation-wide and cross-generational Media and Information Literacy framework, which aimed to equip citizens with the necessary tools to discern credible information and quality journalism.

In addition to her core responsibilities in the media and communications fields, Ghunaimat continued her passion for women activism during her ministerial post, chairing the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for Women’s Empowerment – which leads the Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) for the Implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Prior to joining government, Ghunaimat’s activism spanned women empowerment and human rights. She contributed to constructive public conversations and policy development as a member in the International Women’s Forum, the Women in News organization (WANIFRA), and the board of trustees of the National Center for Human Rights.

Ghunaimat had an extensive media career working in several leading local publications. Between 2012 – 2018, she led the independent daily newspaper Al Ghad as editor-in-chief with a focus on enhancing the digital presence of the newspaper. These efforts positioned Al Ghad among the top online news sources. While leading the newspaper, Ghunaimat continued writing a semi-daily column focusing on socioeconomic issues, such as poverty, budget, energy, and countering corruption.

Strategic advisor and author

Lyndsey Jones is writing a forthcoming business education book, called Going Digital, to be published by Pearson and FT Publishing in October. It is a guidebook for managers about what it takes to make change happen, drawing on her experience and interviews with more than 40 companies from many sectors. She is a former executive editor at the Financial Times, where she played a leading role in digital transformation, streamlining editorial operations and reshaping the newsroom to shift its main focus from print to digital publishing.

Digital Subscriptions Manager, Arena Holdings

Julia Harris is Digital Subscriptions Manager at Arena Holdings, South Africa’s second largest publisher. She has spent more than a decade in the digital publishing industry and has worked with publishers in South Africa, Australia, Singapore, and the United States. Prior to her role at Arena Holdings, Julia worked as an analyst for The Athletic, having also spent time at Yahoo, among others. Julia specialises in using data to inform content, acquisition, and retention strategies.

CEO, The Hindu

He worked in Mindshare, Jakarta, Indonesia as leader of trading between March 2016 and May 2019 before coming back home to The Hindu Group as CEO from June 2019.  For him, this represents homecoming: he served this organisation between 1998 and 2006 in a senior position in Advertising and Marketing.  Going on to get a diverse media experience in radio, television, media planning and buying, and digital advertising, he brings with him the expertise and hands-on experience to play an effective leadership role in the Company in the face of far-reaching changes and challenges in the media landscape and in an increasingly interconnected digital ecosystem.

Before moving abroad in 2016, Mr. Navaneeth led the programming teams at Sun Tv Network's Kannada and Telugu language channels as vice president from September 2009-2015 . He has also worked with Radio One as station director and head of programming from August 2006-2009.

Mr. Navaneeth, gained varied and useful insights; thanks to working for traditional brands with heritage and enviable lineage, setting up a new business with an entrepreneurial outlook, working with entertainment brands that established market leadership positions in a reasonably short span of time and being part of businesses where the only constant is change.  He also used his time to consult a couple of startups in the Food and Beverage space. 

Director, Asia, WAN-IFRA APAC

Joon-Nie leads the WAN-IFRA APAC team in Singapore. A lawyer by training, Joon-Nie spent over 15 years in broadcast television as a reporter, interactive producer, current affairs producer and news editor at Channel News Asia and its predecessors SBC News and TCS News. She has won several in-house awards for reporting, executive producing and best ‘live’ coverage and a Student Emmy for her Masters documentary project produced at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism while under a fellowship from MediaCorp. 

In her seven years teaching at Nanyang Technological University, Joon-Nie set up and headed Newsplex Asia, a US$700,000 convergent training newsroom and media lab in partnership with WAN-IFRA.

Besides being a Vice-President of the Singapore Press Club for over 10 years and co-founding the Hacks/Hackers Singapore chapter in 2015, Joon-Nie is also a regular speaker and trainer at conferences, workshops and industry panels both locally and abroad.

School of Journalism & Communication, University of Oregon / Fellow, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University

Damian Radcliffe is the Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism, a Professor of Practice, and an affiliate of the Department for Middle East and North Africa Studies (MENA), at the University of Oregon. Alongside holding the Chambers Chair at the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), he is also a Fellow of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, an Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture Studies, and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

An experienced digital analyst, consultant, journalist, and researcher, Damian has worked in editorial, research, policy, and teaching positions for the past two decades in the UK, Middle East, and USA. This includes roles in all media sectors (commercial, public, government, regulatory, academic, and nonprofit/civil society) and all platforms (print, digital, TV and radio). 

Damian continues to be an active journalist, writing monthly columns for ZDNet (CBS Interactive) and What's New in Publishing, and frequently writing for other outlets such as Journalism.co.uk and the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet). He writes about digital trends, social media, technology, the business of media, and the evolution of journalism.

Director Middle East, WAN-IFRA, Germany

She is responsible for all WAN-IFRA activities in the countries of the Middle East,
working closely with the company's members in that region.
Previously she has held various leading positions at WAN-IFRA. As Director of Marketing
and Membership, she was Head of the marketing and PR team with responsibility for
all global marketing activities. In this capacity, she introduced a new logo and dynamic
new corporate identity.
As Director of Membership she acted as the contact for all members worldwide, while
also introducing a new membership model and structure.
Upon joining WAN-IFRA, initially as Head of IT, she implemented two editorial systems
at the company.
Before coming to WAN-IFRA, she worked for Monotype in the position of Head of
Application. During her time at that company she played an instrumental role in the
market launch of a new editorial system.
She began her career at ATEX, the leading system supplier for editorial systems, where
she worked as a trainer and application specialist. Her duties in this position included
training editors and journalists in leading media houses in both Germany and the UK.

Director of Insights & Editor-in-Chief, WAN-IFRA, Germany

Dean is Director of Insights and Editor-in-Chief of WAN-IFRA, he is responsible for coordinating all activities related to the organisation's array of multimedia publications. He has more than 25 years’ experience working in the news publishing industry, much of that time spent researching, analysing, identifying and ultimately reporting about global media developments.

President, Innovation Media Consulting Group, UK

As a Partner at Innovation, Juan Senor has directed projects all over the world helping news operations to re-invent their products and stay relevant with shifting audiences. He has worked and advised hundreds of media companies on every continent. He serves on the Advisory Board of several media companies around the world. 

He has been listed as one of 'The World's Leading Innovators' in Journalism and Media' by Journalism UK Site.

Mr Señor is a highly-sought commentator on the media industry, speaking at global forums and quoted frequently in leading publications such as The Economist and The Financial Times. 

He is also the co-editor of two annuals books; Innovation in NewsMedia and Innovation in MagazineMedia, written on behalf of WAN-IFRA and the FIPP respectively.

He is a former journalist and presenter for PBS's NewsHour, EBN-Wall Street Journal TV, CNBC Europe. And he served as London correspondent of International Herald Tribune Television. His work has been nominated for an Emmy Award and his television programme, Media Report, was voted by viewers as Europe’s Best Business Programme. He continues to work as a live events and television host and presenter globally.

Head of Leadership Development, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, UK

Federica has spent the past decade exploring, learning and working in the news industry, on a global scale. Her career has been focused on understanding the processes and dynamics of journalism, connecting the dots between people, disciplines, departments, projects, cultures, and figuring out new ways of working. She recently rejoined the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford as Head of Leadership Development. She made the move from Hearken, where she was an Engagement Manager. Federica was Audience Projects Editor at Condé Nast International, working on audience growth, best practice and knowledge sharing between editorial, data, product and commercial teams of the CNI's global portfolio. Specifically, she has worked on newsletter strategies and editorial initiatives that drive audience loyalty. Previously, she was part of the Digital News Project team at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford and worked on several projects, exploring the future of journalism and newsrooms around the world the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Digital transformation, content strategy and innovation consultant, WEF Board Member, UK

Dmitry is an expert in digital transformation, content strategy, and innovation. He worked for 21 years at the BBC in London where he was responsible for developing and implementing the BBC’s digital editorial offer for 40 non-English foreign language new services. Originally from Moscow, Russia, Dmitry worked in various editorial-development roles for the digital section of BBC News. These roles required liaison between editorial, product and strategy teams in order to drive innovation and develop new ways of reaching audiences, increasing engagement across the world and, crucially, driving culture change is newsrooms. He is an experienced digital leader in content creation, specialising in growing audiences across the world, driving editorial changes in newsrooms and adapting the way organisations work in digital space, especially around content innovation and audience engagement.
After his years at the BBC, he joined Culture Trip, a startup operating at the intersection of media and travel. He is now pursuing new adventures. Dmitry's main area of expertise is on the intersection between Editorial, Organisational, Strategy and Product sectors.

News Director, NRK (Norwegian public service broadcaster), Norway

Helje Solberg is News Director of NRK, the Norwegian public service broadcaster. Prior to joining NRK, she was CEO/Editor of VGTV and Executive Managing Editor for VG, the largest Norwegian media house on paper and internet combined. Helje is chair of Faktisk.no, Norway's collaborative fact-checking initiative. She is on the advisory board of the World Editors Forum, is the head of the organising committee of Schibsted Journalism Awards and is on the Board of MBL (Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association). She is a member of the Oslo Editor Association and is a member of SKUP’s Advisory Committee. She has spent a year at Phillips Academy, Andover, has studied Russian, social anthropology and politics. Before becoming editor of VGTV she served as Executive Managing Editor for VG, the largest Norwegian daily. Solberg has worked for a number of Norwegian newspapers. She has experience across all platforms in VG, where she started working as a political reporter in 1994. The following year she received the SKUP Award for Investigative Journalism for the so-called “AUF Scandal” (which led to the imprisonment of former treasures and leaders of the Worker’s Youth League for membership fraud).

COO, Mediahuis, Belgium

Paul Verwilt is a seasoned C-level executive with over 25 years of management experience and 15+ years in the high-tech industry. He's been COO at Mediahuis and CEO of its Digital Marketplaces in the last seven years since the merger of Belgian publishers Corelio and Concentra's news and classifieds business. Prior to that, Paul spent eight years at Concentra rising through the ranks to CIO and later COO positions.

Mediahuis is the largest newsmedia publisher in Belgium with 4 titles (De Standaard, Het Belang van Limburg, Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen). Mediahuis is also the owner of NRC, the leading Dutch quality newsmedium, TMG Media with Telegraaf as its flagship and MGL, a strong regional publisher in Dutch Limburg. Recently Mediahuis acquired INM, the leading publisher in Ireland and Northern Ireland and Saint-Paul Luxembourg, owner of the Luxemburger Wort.

In addition, Mediahuis holds positions in the digital marketplaces business in Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland (Jobat, Zimmo, Hebbes, Vroom, Gaspedaal, relatieplanet, carsireland, etc) as well as radio, TV and freesheet markets. It has around 4,300 employees and revenues of just over 1000 million euros a year.

Principal Consultant, WAN-IFRA Consulting, Germany

Gregor Waller provides consulting services to international media businesses for developing their digital strategy and transforming their business models for the digital era. Before this, he worked for more than six years in various management functions for Germany's Axel Springer publishing corporation. Most recently, up to February 2011, as a member of the management team of the WELT group, Berliner Morgenpost, Hamburger Abendblatt, he was responsible for strategy & innovation and commercial management of the Zeitungsgruppe Hamburg. After testing a "prototype tablet" with his core newspaper readers – one year before the iPad – he focused on the topics of digital strategy, digital business models and paid content, bringing his experience in these areas to bear also in strategic group projects.

From 1998-2004 he worked for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH in positions such as commercial manager for publishing houses Prestel and Xenos Verlag. Waller has a graduate degree in business administration from the University of Augsburg and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the Munich School of Philosophy.

Customer Success Manager (Channel Partner Asia), Chartbeat

Abhishek Marla
Abhishek Marla is the Customer Success Manager for Chartbeat based in Singapore. He works closely with Journalists and Newsrooms across Asia to help them leverage Data to build loyal users and drive higher engagement.

Media Consultant and Researcher

George Brock is a journalist, consultant and media researcher. He was the director of the journalism school at City, University of London, from 2009 to 2014 and later a visiting professor.

He began his reporting career at the Yorkshire Evening Press and The Observer, joining The Times in 1981. After starting at The Times as a feature writer, he became a features editor and, in 1984, op-ed page editor. He was subsequently foreign editor, Brussels bureau chief, European Editor, Managing Editor and Saturday Editor.

He advises the INJECT and DMINR journalism research projects and startups in news. He is on the board of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Gresham College. He was on the board of the World Editors Forum 2001-14 and WEF’s president 2004-08. He was a member of the executive board of the International Press Institute.

He broadcasts, lectures and is the author of Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age (2013). His study of the ‘right to be forgotten’ was published in 2016. He blogs at http://georgebrock.net

Journalist, BBC, UK

Joe used to write for BBC News about technology and business. Now he spends time in newsrooms making sure that News Labs builds tools that can be used easily by our journalists. He is fascinated by emerging and experimental technology and what makes founders and entrepreneurs tick. He has a background in computational linguistics so likes to look at natural language generation, sentiment analysis and other problems. He still occasionally contributes to BBC News Online and BBC Radio.

Senior Journalist, BBC, UK

Conor is a senior journalist in BBC News Labs. He works on prototypes at the intersection of editorial and technical innovation for BBC News and is particularly interested in using data in storytelling and automation. He previously worked as a business news reporter and in enterprise software.

Strategic Advisor, Author, Speaker Senior Research Executive, Reuters Institute, Oxford University

Professor Lucy Kueng is an international expert on mastering digital transformation. A strategic advisor, board member, speaker and author, she has over twenty years’ experience providing senior-level strategic, leadership and business advice on how to emerge stronger from technological and market disruption. She consults and speaks with leading companies worldwide including the BBC, CNN, Google, NPR and NRK, and keynotes frequently at conferences including the INMA World Congress, SXSW, FIPP World Congress and the European Broadcasting Union. She is Board Member of the NZZ Media Group, and served on the board of SRG SSR, and of VIZRT the media tech provider. She is Senior Research Associate at the Reuters Institute, Oxford University and has held professorships at the University of Oslo, the Institute of Media and Entertainment New York (IESE), and the University of Jönköping. Lucy Kueng is the author of several books including Going Digital: A Roadmap for Digital Transformation, Innovators in Digital News, Strategic Management in the Media (winner of the AEMJM Media Management Book Award), Inside the BBC and CNN, and When Innovation Fails to Disrupt, the Case of BBC News Online. She holds a PhD and Habilitation from the University of St Gallen and an MBA from City Business School/Ashridge. In 2020 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Economics from the University of Neuchatel. In 2017 she won the European Media Management Award in recognition of excellence in media management scholarship. She was Swiss Representative of the EU Cost Action 20 on the Impact of the Internet on the Mass Media in Europe, and Member of the UK Government Taskforce on the Future and Development of Information Relationships. Her latest book ‘Hearts and Minds: Harnessing Leadership, Culture and Talent to Really Go Digital’ was published in November 2020 by the Reuters Institute, University of Oxford.

News EMEA lead - Online Partnership Group

Cyril Forget, News EMEA lead for Google Online Partnership Group, started his journey at Google in 2017 as News Lead for the French and UK & Irish markets. He is now working with the EMEA news partnership team to build meaningful partnerships with news publishers and grow their overall digital revenue. Cyril started his career as Media Coordinator for the Renault worldwide marketing team, before joining Publicis Media and supporting the Richemont group as Client Services Director. After that, he led a digital media consultancy team in charge of optimizing the marketing digital efficiency for Nissan Europe. Passionate about philosophy, media & digital, he always enjoys imagining and testing creative solutions to drive meaningful digital transformation.

Partner Manager, Google UK

With over 7 years of experience in digital, Juan Labourt currently serves as a News Partner Manager in Google UK. He joined Google in 2013 to manage the relationship with content creators from Argentina and currently drives the growth of strategic news partners in the UK. In this role, he works as a consultant to optimise monetization and reader revenue implementations.

Publisher & Chairman, United Jordan Press, Jordan

Mohamed Alayyan is the publisher and CEO of Al Ghad newspaper; Jordan’s most   independent Arabic daily newspaper.

Mohamed entered the media industry in 1998, when he established Al Waseet weekly classifed newspaper in Jordan. The publication’s weekly circulation exceeds a whopping two hundred thousand copies, and a leading reach of two million readers on a weekly basis. Mohamed established Al Faridah Specialized Printing, which publishes Layalina, JO, Ahlan,Teen World, Viva, Venture and U magazines.  Mohamed is also a board member in Al Kawn for Advertisements & Media, which launched the first independent radio station Fann FM. He also serves as chairman in several media companies, including outdoor media.

Middle Eastern Media Leaders eSummit 2021