DUBAI — Weber Shandwick’s former long-time Dubai managing director, Andreas Keller, has joined Leidar as managing partner for its new MENA business.

He will run the communications consultancy’s Middle East operation alongside MD  and partner George Kotsolios. Leidar was set up by former Weber Shandwick continental Europe CEO Rolf Olsen in Geneva in 2009.

Keller left Weber Shandwick last October after 12 years with the agency. Ghaleb Zeidan, who was previously MD of the Abu Dhabi office. was promoted to UAE managing director, overseeing operations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and reporting to MENA CEO Ziad Hasbani.

“Leidar is a fast-growing, dynamic global consultancy so I’m naturally looking forward to taking on the exciting challenge of building the agency and growing the business in the region," said Keller. "As companies look to save costs and outsource key functions, we think that smaller more agile teams like Leidar have a key role to play in providing high quality counsel and work to clients at a competitive price.”

The partners plan to further expand Leidar’s client portfolio in the region. which currently includes UAE family business conglomerates, tech startups and US and Asian multinationals.

Leidar founder and CEO Olsen said: “We’ve known Andreas for many years and we are truly excited to be adding a leader with his qualities to the Leidar family as he has an excellent reputation in the market among clients and employees.”

He added: “With fast growing offices in Geneva, Oslo, London and Brussels it was an easy decision to launch a Leidar operation in the UAE. Our goal is to be considered as a leading international communications boutique consultancy and I believe that we now have an outstanding team in Dubai who will be able to deliver on this promise.”