CEO at Havas Middle East
With over 20 years of experience in the media industry, Dany Naaman was one of the key founders of the Havas Media Middle East office when it was launched in 2005. Since then, he has overseen the regional operations of the media division, from vast global companies and regional clients in over 14 MENA countries to outpost offices and teams in Riyadh and Beirut. In 2015, in recognition of his contribution to the group, Naaman received the prestigious Leader of the Year Award from Havas Media’s partner company. In February 2019, he was appointed CEO of Havas Middle East.
Naaman is responsible for driving, controlling, and building the quality of services throughout the Havas Village which brings together all the agency disciplines – creative, media, and PR – into a fully integrated and customer-centric organization.
His career began in Lebanon in 1992 with his first job as a Sales Representative in a leading media house where he gained extensive regional experience in the fields of sales, marketing, planning, and buying. He then moved to Dubai in 2000 to head up a multi-media sales team. Prior to Havas Media, Naaman was the General Manager of Al-Khaleejiah Advertising & Public Relations, a Middle East print powerhouse in the region’s media industry.
How would you define leadership today?
Humility and service.
What’s the most important decision you have taken as a leader?
Building the leadership team; it impacts the people, the culture, and the business.
What’s the one decision you wish you hadn’t made as a leader?
Making the wrong selection for a senior role. It had a negative impact on team morale, reputation, productivity, and results.
In your opinion, who’s the most powerful leader globally today?
[Chinese] President Xi Jinping. He is presiding over the most populous country, the second-largest economy, and the largest manufacturer of the world.
Who’s your role model?
Pope Francis. He does what he says; he is not afraid of doing things out of the ordinary; he is courageous and uses his influence to address worldwide issues despite criticism. He is working for peace and justice and is promoting a better world.
What’s the most important quality that every leader should possess?
Authenticity, logic, and empathy.
What’s the one mistake that leaders most commonly make?
The lack of humility, thinking it is all about them.
What’s the most critical threat that every leader in our industry should pay attention to today?
If they do not seed leadership in others, they are of no use.
What’s the most important risk you took?
Leaving a better-paid job in a more established business where I was thriving to join a company that was setting up in a business I didn’t know much about.
What resources would you recommend to someone looking to become a better leader?
The diversity of ways of thoughts and ideas from your team.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow as a leader?
I listen to those with more experience, not because they are always right but because they have a better understanding of being wrong. They can teach you to listen when you want to speak, to stop and think when you want to react, to keep trying when you want to quit.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruits. The sun does not shine on itself, and flowers do not spread their fragrances for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are born to help each other, no matter how difficult it is. Life is good when you are happy but much better when others are happy because of you!
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever given?
Be humble, collaborative, and generous.
You can see the full ranking and methodology here.