After nine years as chief operating officer, Sam Barnett, once an NGO worker, became CEO of MBC Group in 2011 which operates under chairman Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim. Barnett, an INSEAD graduate, joined the group in 2002 after his former employer Arthur Andersen imploded during the Enron scandal. He supported the chairman in restructuring the commercial flow of the company into the largest media and entertainment group in the Middle East and North Africa region, with 11 channels including the Al Arabiya news outlet and two radio stations and three online platforms under its umbrella. MBC was the first private free-to-air satellite broadcasting company in the Arab world after its launch in London in 1991. Barnett has overseen the launch of several new channels and the enforcement of commercial and financial disciplines on all operations.
Five years after re-spinning Image Nation’s focus towards its Abu Dhabi base, CEO Michael Garin explains why the media firm’s success will ultimately be measured not by the number of blockbusters it produces but by its ability to craft an industry that no longer needs it.