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40 under 40: No. 4 – Saleh Ghazal

40 under 40 2019

40 under 40: No. 4 – Saleh Ghazal

Saleh Ghazal, general manager, OMD UAE

As the general manager of OMD UAE handling leading automotive and retail brands, Saleh Ghazal has been instrumental in driving digital transformation for his portfolio. He kicked off his career at OMD in 2007 as a digital lead and over the years he and his team have been one of the most awarded at the Dubai Lynx, MENA Effie Awards, and the Festival of Media (MENA and Global). His leadership on marketing performance and programmatic has also contributed to client growth across the company.

What’s the best advice you have received in your career?

It was my current manager who referred to a saying by Albert Einstein: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” It is curiosity that is driving me to want to learn more and know more and this is what makes the brain illuminate. Had I not been curious, I wouldn’t be open to personal growth and building connections between brands and people.

What’s the best advice you have given in your career?

We echo advice throughout our careers, exchanging them and passing them on from one person to another. I always like to make sure that the team I am working with feels comfortable and confident in their shoes and that’s why I keep telling them to ask away. Despite general belief, asking too many questions is a good sign in my opinion

What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

I’d say there are few shortlists here… bringing a win home definitely tops the list. But, I also enjoy seeing our plans and strategies come to life and leave a trace in the industry.

What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?

Sometimes dealing with budget cuts tends to get a bit frustrating as it hinders the growth that we intend to achieve. However, at OMD, we are as agile and adaptive as can be.               

If not this, what would you be doing?

Strategizing and planning in another industry probably? It is a character, I guess. I tend to use industry methods in every aspect of my life, even when raising my two-year-old.

If you had ten million dollars, what would you do?

As clichéd as it sounds, I would first give back to the community, especially children in need. Whatever we can spare must go to those who need it the most. I’d also put some towards building a brand of my own, a little dream I’ve been harboring, and investing for the future. And yes, I’d probably treat my family to a few more vacations…

Finally, why are you (still) in this industry?

For the thrill, the rewards, the creativity and the drive to build brands. I love what I do. In fact, waking up every morning to a team that you call family, and a company that became home, makes you never want to consider looking elsewhere and not only at other industries.

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