ABU DHABI — Edelman has made several appointments in the Middle East following more senior departures from the region's largest PR firm.

The exits — which include MD of reputation Jacob Drake and digital director Ema Linaker — follow layoffs at the firm earlier this year, and the departures of the founders of Dabo, the Dubai consumer firm that Edelman acquired two years ago.

Drake has quit after almost six years with Edelman in Indonesia and the Middle East to launch his own consultancy called 360 Business, focusing on corporate brand development, crisis communications and employee engagement. Linaker, meanwhile, is still seeking her next position, after joining Edelman in early 2016 from Leo Burnett.

In addition, the firm has lost creative director ZorZi El Hoyek within three months of his hire in May. Other departures include directors Robin Haddrill and Claire Parker, who have returned to London after lengthy stints with Edelman. Another director, Henry Jakins, has joined Travelport as head of communications and PR for EMEA.

Todd Donhauser (pictured), whose role in charge of Edelman's Middle East presence in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has now expanded to CEO of all GCC countries, told the Holmes Report that the transitions were "natural" for a 150-person agency, adding that "some departures were by design, some were based on a geographic move to another Edelman office and a couple employees left of their own volition."

"As with any agency, turnover is an inherent part of the business," said Donhauser, who declined to comment on specific departures. "Given our scale, we have said goodbye to some senior colleagues as they pursue the next phase of their careers and we wish them the best."

In response, Edelman has welcomed several new senior executives, said Donhauser. Former Nissan digital executive Rich Rust arrives next month as head of digital, after co-founding the consultancy Brave & Heart with fellow ex-Nissan colleague David Parkinson earlier this year.

In addition, the firm has moved Bhavna Thapar from Edelman India to become director of brand in the Middle East. Thapar reports to Jason Gallucci, the former Lexis CEO who became Edelman brand MD earlier this year, succeeding former Dabo MD Jason Leavy.

To replace El Hoyek, Gallucci has brought in Dan Leach, who he previously worked with at Lexis, as creative director. And Paul Slinger has joined as corporate director, focusing on Edelman's key Mubadala relationship.

Donhauser said the new appointments reflect Edelman's continuing transformation, which includes  a broader partnership at Mubadala, along with securing the Masdar mandate during the summer.