CEO at PHD MENA
With over 15 years of global media experience, Luca Allam is known throughout the industry as a leader in the integration of digital and offline media approaches and best business practices.
Allam joined PHD over ten years ago when he moved from OMD International, London to Dubai as Head of Digital; since then, he has been an essential part of PHD’s notable success. His unwavering commitment to positioning PHD as the foremost strategic-thinking agency, his drive to develop talent, and his devotion to shaping and protecting the agency’s tight-knit culture have helped him build PHD into a powerful brand and formidable player in the region.
Allam’s expertise, leadership, and push for technological developments and methods within the agency have been fundamental to its rapid expansion and triumph. In 2019 and 2021, PHD was named Most Effective Media Agency award at the MENA Effies under his leadership.
Keen to inspire and drive the industry agenda forward, Allam has been a speaker and juror at several leading events, including the Dubai Lynx, Global Cristal Festival, STEP, Young Arab Youth Awards, and MENA Effie Awards, among others.
How would you define leadership today?
The ability to inspire and empower individuals or organizations to reach new levels they hadn’t imagined possible.
What’s the most important decision you have taken as a leader?
To recruit the right leadership team that shares the same passion, values, and commitment. Without them, none of PHD’s achievements in recent years would have been possible.
What’s the one decision you wish you hadn’t made as a leader?
Nothing immediately comes to mind, although I always try and learn from any decisions that I make. Every decision, be it good or bad, only serves to improve your leadership in the long run. It’s critical we continually learn.
In your opinion, who’s the most powerful leader globally today and why?
[Chinese President] Xi Jinping, because he runs the biggest country and economy in the world. When the majority of the world depends on your country, it gives you unrivaled influence and power. It makes him the most powerful leader, but not necessarily the best.
Who’s your role model?
There are a few who have shaped my career to date, including Elie Khouri and Elda Choucair during my time at PHD. However, none more so than my father. From an early age, he always taught me the importance of humility, integrity, and honesty in how you treat people. These are the principles I have followed all my life.
What’s the most important quality that every leader should possess?
Passion with a strong dose of humility.
What’s the one mistake that leaders most commonly make?
They don’t listen enough.
What’s the most critical threat that every leader in our industry should pay attention to today?
That they will become redundant through lack of differentiation. Leaders are like brands in their own right – they all need their own distinctive leadership style that is easily identifiable and inspiring.
What’s the most important risk you took?
When I first came to this region, I joined a much smaller, less established PHD. Looking back now, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I‘ve ever made.
What resources would you recommend to someone looking to become a better leader?
Surround yourself with people who have even better qualities than you do, and who can equally inspire. Do not hire the same type of people as yourself, look to create the perfect leadership blend with qualities you don’t have – it will make for a more diverse and effective leadership team.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow as a leader?
A few things. Listening as much as I can to the people around me, continuing to educate myself with the latest leadership approaches, and having brilliant mentors to help guide and support me when I need advice. I’m also someone who wants feedback, continually self-evaluates, and critiques his own performance.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Leadership is never given, you have to earn it.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve ever given?
Always remember who you are and what you stand for – never compromise on your values or principles as a leader.
You can see the full ranking and methodology here.