People

Guy Taylor

Managing Partner

Prior to co-founding THC, Guy has gained over 30 years’ experience in corporate and consumer communications working for a number of world-class firms. Most recently he served as CEO for Grayling in the Middle East and Asia-Pac regions, as well as being a member the company’s main international board where he later had responsibility for developing an affiliate network in over 50 countries.

During his career he has advised senior C-suite executives on strategic communications, gaining an in-depth knowledge of a variety of business sectors including government. Throughout his career he has worked closely with many global organisations such as JP Morgan, BAE Systems, MBDA, CBRE, MUFG, the British Council and the Dubai Sustainable Cities Summit. He has also written and produced several education programmes including “Food for Life”, a nutrition programme for Kellogg’s, which became part of the curriculum in over 7,000 primary schools in Saudi Arabia, and Mars’ “Al Haraka Al Baraka”, which enjoyed similar success in the region.

Ben Castree

Managing Partner

Ben is a co-founder and managing partner at THC with over 25 years of experience working across the full spectrum of communications in the Middle East. Born in the UAE, he has a unique insight into the region and its working practices and applies this to his culturally intuitive approach to communications.

He has closely worked with many leading organisations including Microsoft, Mars, HP, AMD, Skype, Chevron, the British Council, BAE Systems, MBDA, VTB Capital, Zurich International Life, JP Morgan, Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Qatar Foundation. He has also been involved with several major IPOs, such as the region’s largest real estate listing for TMG Holdings in Egypt.

Ben has a proven track record in Public Affairs, working with numerous government entities including Abu Dhabi Municipality, the Executive Office, Dubai Government, the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), and the Dubai Land Department.

Ben was a founding partner of Momentum Communications in 2001, where he was instrumental in building a regional public relations network that was fully acquired by Huntsworth PLC (Grayling) in 2011.

Dr. Yasar Jarrar

Managing Partner

Dr. Jarrar is a partner at THC, leading our Public Affairs and Government Relations practice. Previously, Yasar was a partner in Bain & Company, and PwC before that. He has led the development of several national strategies in the Middle East and has been a speaker in various regional events. He is a Senior Fellow at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth (USA), and an Adjunct Professor at Hult International Business School (USA)

Yasar assumed numerous high level positions throughout his career, including the Executive Dean of the Dubai School of Government, Strategy Advisor at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Senior Advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office (UAE Federal Government). Yasar is also a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

In 2009, Yasar was distinguished as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and founded the WEF’s Global Shapers Hub in Dubai. He is also the Co-Chair of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government.

Yasar worked in the UK as a Research Fellow in Cranfield School of Management and Bradford School of Management, and advised leading international organisations including DHL UK, Bank of Scotland, Shell, Emirates Airlines, and Saudi Aramco.

H.E. Sheikh Fahim Sultan Al Qasimi

Senior Advisory Board Member

H.E. Sheikh Fahim Sultan Al Qasimi is a senior advisor to THC, and is a member of the Executive Council of Sharjah, the body established to assist the Ruler of the Emirate, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, in drafting policies to raise the social and economic development of the Emirate.

In his capacity as the Director of the Department of Government Relations, Sheikh Fahim is responsible for the cooperation between government departments in Sharjah and international governments and NGOs.

Prior to this current position, Sheikh Fahim worked in strategic advisory and performance monitoring of a portfolio of state-owned assets in the United Arab Emirates. With a background in public sector strategy and investments, he has supported governments in developing policies to achieve both financial and socio-economic returns in state-owned enterprises.

Abdulkarim Samaan

Director

Abdulkarim is a bi-lingual communication consultant with over 10 years of communication and media experience. Specialising in digital comms, he has worked with a number of leading global organisations on developing and managing strategic communication programmes across the Middle East and North Africa. These include PayPal, Skype, Electronic Arts, AMD, Logitech, BAE Systems, MBDA and Naval Group (DCNS) and the British Council. He has also worked with Qatar Foundation (QF) on their global digital strategy and outreach, and has provided ongoing strategic insight into the online positioning of number of organisations under QF’s umbrella. Abdulkarim has also been involved with a number of government projects, having worked with Al Ain Municipality, the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA) and the Dubai Sustainable Cities Summit.

His experience and fluency in both Arabic and English allow him to effectively integrate appropriate digital practices, insight and consultancy into communication programmes. He also provides training on digital best practice and how to efficiently use technology to fulfill overall communication and business objectives.

Rhonda Taylor

Events Director

Rhonda’s career spans more than 25 years and includes some of the most recognizable events in the region, including the Dubai Airshow, Arab Health and IDEX. In addition to trade fairs, her skills include the management of major conferences, consumer and corporate events.

Starting with Fairs & Exhibitions Ltd (F&E) in 1991, her first major accomplishment was taking on the operational management and direction of the Dubai Airshow. From its first showing in a few modest halls, the airshow grew to become the third largest event of its kind in the world.

Other notable trade events F&E presented included Arab Health & Dentistry, Middle East Electricity and Gulf Packaging & Gulf Printing.

As the event industry flourished, Rhonda became involved in many high profile government related projects such as IDEX (International Defence Exhibition) in Abu Dhabi and QSI (Qatar Sports International Exhibition and Conference). She was a member of a highly successful team that organised one of the first major exhibitions in Beirut – Rebuild Lebanon.

In 2005 Rhonda joined IIR as an Operations Director for Cityscape (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and China), The Bride Show and Middle East Electricity, the World Economic Forum Summit, The Motor Show, Airport Show, Intersec, Automechanika, Beauty World to name but a few.

Prior to joining the team at Taqarabu, Rhonda had established the events unit within Momentum working alongside the creative team to manage elite corporate conferences and events, including the Dubai Pet Show for Mars. This includes services such as the design, production and management of stands, providing operations management, staff training, admin and technical support, plus graphics and signage productions, all of which she brings to Taqarabu Events.

Hariharan Kuppuswamy

Design Director

Hari began his experience journey in India and remains well connected to some of the world’s leading IT development powerhouses. He moved to the Gulf in 2004, and has worked in a number of start-up and multinational networks across a variety of digital disciplines including web design and programing, 3D modelling, events technology, social media, app development and search marketing. He has also maintained an extensive consultancy network and has delivered numerous projects throughout the region while working with organisations such as HP, Electronic Arts (EA), The Landmark Group, InterContinental Hotels and Al Ain Municipality. Along with his 10+ years of digital experience he maintains strategic partnerships with specialist IT providers in India and the US to support his ability to deliver world class digital communication solutions in the region.

Hari is also an experienced in digital marketing and communication, which adds insights to his ability to create engaging and creative communication strategies that have delivered results for many leading global brands and local companies in the region such as Metito, Zurich Insurance and Danat Hotels Group.