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Sun 17 Jan 2010 05:23 PM

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Arab Media Group chief resigns

EXCLUSIVE: Abullatif Al Sayegh reveals reasons behind departure from media company after nine years.

Abullatif Al Sayegh

on Sunday confirmed he had stepped down as CEO of the Arab Media Group (AMG) after nine years with the company.

“I am gone. This was on my own terms, with everyone’s approval, with everyone being happy. This is a company that I will be grateful to for the rest of my life. What an amazing opportunity I had – at this age to have all the knowledge that anyone would be dreaming (of having),” the 35-year-old told Arabian Business.

“I have been here since 2001, and I believe now I have completed nine years it is time to (move on). It is not about making more money, it is about...I have done quite enough, and I saw my role was not as effective as it used to be. I am a person who just wants to keep going and building and doing more, and right now everything is established,” Al Sayegh said.

In October 2009, it was reported that Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) had taken control of daily newspapers Emirates Business and its Arabic equivalent Al Emarat Al Youm from AMG after a resolution from ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Previously, AMG controlled 20 brands spanning television, radio, print, digital, outdoor advertising, printing and events.

As well as the newspapers, DMI added the Masar Printing and Publishing Company and Noor Dubai Radio and TV to its portfolio after transferring from AMG. Under the resolution, the transfer included all assets, properties, rights, liabilities and commitments while all staff also moved from AMG to DMI.

Al Sayegh added that he was intending to set up a media consultancy within the UAE to help foreign media players looking to set up in the Gulf understand local demographics and sensibilities.

“I believe I could be a great help to the entire region rather than just focusing on my own company,” he said.

He added that leaving AMG would create an opportunity for others in the team he built.

“Look at the big companies of the world, the CEOs always go on to do other things, and give the opportunity to someone else, or else I am going to be there till I am 60. And then no one will ever have the chance to be CEO.”

Asked if he thought Emirates Business 24/7 would struggle with advertising revenues amid the continuing global crisis, Al Sayegh said: “No, no, no, I don’t think it will. At the end of the day it is a newspaper, and you don’t value a newspaper by how much it makes and how much it loses… It has readers.

"I am very confident that it has a lot of readers. It is just that the editorial team now, I am sure they are going to take it to a different phase, where it can appeal more to advertisers.”

Al Sayegh said that he had been moved by the messages of support he had received from former colleagues.

“I was touched by the number of people of different nationalities, particularly the ones I started with from day one – who I enjoyed being there with as a family – who sent me messages saying: 'Boss we will go with you wherever you go'. It touches you.”

Al Sayegh will be replaced as AMG CEO by former executive director Mohammed Al Mulla.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall