DUBAI — Global strategic advisory network H/Advisors has launched an offering in the Middle East, working in partnership with parent company Havas.

H/Advisors and Havas Middle East – which already has a team of more than 200 across Riyadh, Dubai, Cairo and Muscat – will pool resources to deliver communications strategies for regional clients.

The agency’s clients in the Middle East will also have access to H/Advisors’ global team of more than 1,400 consultants in major financial centres including New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Singapore.

H/Advisors has appointed Laura Stockwell – a sustainability specialist, entrepreneur and freelance business consultant in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region – as Middle East managing director.

Stockwell, who has been running her own expat home brokerage in Dubai for the past seven years, has held roles including chair of the construction industry group within the British Business Group in Dubai and was a regional senior advisor to civil engineering firm Arcadis. She was also deputy chief of staff for the British royal household from 2010-2012.

In her new role, Stockwell, who has lived in the UAE for over a decade, will will lead and oversee the build-out of the firm’s strategic communications services across the region, with a focus on advising private companies and government-related entities on corporate reputation and sustainability objectives.

Stockwell will report to H/Advisors and Havas leadership, and will work alongside H/Advisors Sustain, the consultancy’s global team of ESG specialists covering areas such as multilateral regulation, environmental media, greenwashing reputational risk and corporate reporting.

The move is the first new venture for H/Advisors since it rebranded from the AMO network – which includes H/Advisors Maitland and H/Advisors Cicero – in September last year. At the time, co-CEO Neil Bennett, the former CEO of Maitland, indicated the group had ambitious expansion plans.

On the Middle East opening, Bennett told PRovoke Media: “It’s our first ‘greenfield’, non-acquisition opening, seven months after we launched, and for me it’s proof of concept. We’ve found a really good person in Laura to run the office: she is qualified in ESG reporting, and in the run-up to COP28 in Dubai will be focused on supporting companies as they present their sustainability strategies to the world. There’s so much happening in the Middle East; COP28 is going to be huge and our ESG expertise is a real differentiator.”

Bennett confirmed the agency also had several acquisitions in the pipeline: “We previously negotiated one acquisition at a time but we have accelerated that and a small number will close before the end of this year, in regions we’ve worked in in the past, and one that will bring us into new territory. It’s exciting, and I’m already looking at plans for next year.”

At Havas Middle East, CEO Dany Naaman said the firm would continue to operate its long-standing regional joint venture with Chalhoub Group in addition to the H/Advisors partnership: “This new partnership adds to our expertise and gives us access to specialised, strategic communications professionals all over the world. We are excited to integrate our talent with H/Advisors at a time when the region, its governments and companies are playing a crucial role on the global stage. Delivering the energy transition is one example and we are well placed to support the vision of the GCC’s leadership.”

Stockwell added: “This an exciting time to be joining the group with my experience in delivering sustainability programmes. H/Advisors has already developed a suite of advisory and communications services tailored to supporting organisations both to prepare and engage around COP28, helping ensure these businesses play their part delivering the region’s economic and energy transition plans.”