JOHANNESBURG — WE Communications has created two new leadership roles in Africa as the agency plans to drive growth across the continent.

Sarah Gooding has been named as the first managing director of WE South Africa, the agency’s hub for the Middle East & Africa region, with a brief to develop the business, talent, culture and operations of the agency. She will also work with clients including Microsoft Middle East and Africa, Vodacom and FlySafair as a strategic communications advisor.

Gooding has worked for WE in South Africa for the past nine years, latterly as deputy general manager. She was previously consumer technology manager at Meropa Communications in Johannesburg, where she was the PR agency lead for Xbox.

She said: “WE South Africa has an enviable and diverse portfolio of local and international clients across a broad range of industries. Critical to our ongoing success is ensuring we leverage all the resources, support and learning available to us through our global network, as well as continuing to nurture the local talent that help us tap into this unique market.”

In addition, WE’s South Africa general manager James Wilson has been made managing director of WE’s Africa Network, another newly-created role. Before joining WE in 2015, he was the PR lead for Microsoft in sub-Saharan Africa.

Wilson said: “We work in a relationship-based industry and economy, and nowhere is this truer than on the African continent. One size does not fit all, and with an estimated 2,000 languages spoken across 54 countries, we need a dedicated approach and understanding per market to best serve our clients, which we can best achieve through our network and global alliance programme.”

Kass Sells, WE’s global COO and international president, added: “Globally we are seeing clients benefit from our expanding international footprint, and both the South African business and our African operation through our global alliance programme form an integral part of WE’s global growth programme. We are confident that this newly dedicated leadership will further develop these respective areas of the business.”

WE has had a presence in Africa for ten years, and now has more than 25 employees in its wholly-owned Johannesburg office and a network of affiliates across the rest of the continent.