NEW DELHI — Ruder Finn has expanded Atul Sharma's role to include Middle East leadership, as the independent agency aims to build its operations across GCC markets. 

Sharma's adds the title of Middle East head, reporting to global CEO Kathy Bloomgarden, and responsible for setting up and expanding Ruder Finn's footprint in the region.

In addition, Sharma is named India CEO after joining Ruder Finn in 2018 as India MD and overseeing rapid growth in the market across the Ruder Finn and RF Thunder brands. 

Ruder Finn does not currently operate any offices in the Middle East, although it has handled significant PR work for Saudi megacity Neom in the past.

A spokesperson confirmed that the firm will identify partners and acquisition targets in the region, with Sharma expected to build a new team that will meet growing demand for PR services, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

"Ruder Finn India’s transformative growth has been led by a strong leadership team under Atul," said Bloomgarden. "Atul has been leading the charge on consulting for our clients on emerging technologies with the growing team in India. Further, we have envisioned paving our way in the Middle East for some time, and I am confident that Atul will help us to tap into the market as we mark our next growth phase in that region."

Prior to joining Ruder Finn, Sharma spent more than 14 years with Genesis Burson-Marsteller, ultimately serving as chief operating officer.