Member Interview

Interview with Kamal Dimachkie

Former Chief Operating Officer at Publicis Communications and Marketing Society UAE board member

This week we meet member Kamal Dimachkie. With 35+ years of experience, Kamal is the Former Chief Operating Officer for Publicis Communications overseeing Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Publicis Middle East for the UAE, Kuwait, and the Lower Gulf.

What’s your golden rule?

Never ask anything of anyone unless you ask it of yourself first.

Who has been your biggest influence?

Early on in my career, at Leo Burnett, I worked with three remarkable individuals whose influence on me continues until today. The first, Jack Phifer, was my boss on the P&G account; he was intense and instilled in me a simple principle: Preparation, Anticipation and Attention to Detail, and that took care of everything else. The second was Farid Chehab, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder H&C Leo Burnett, whose indefatigable spirit was an inspiration all throughout my career though he and I often disagreed. Beyond this, I credit him with giving me no quarter and cutting me no slack. I learnt a great deal working with him. Last, was my mentor, Gordon Barrett, Leo Burnett EMEA Regional Account Director, whose exceptional knowledge coupled with impeccable manners, polish and a very high EQ made him a rock in my professional life.

What is your most hated business expression? 


How can marketers be braver?

Three things come to mind:
1. Ensure brands are grounded in purpose that serves people. They are people before being consumers, and unless a brand plays a relevant role in their lives, then I would reconsider things and by that, I mean everything.
2. Sustainability is a principle of life and nature. Make sure sustainability is a way of life and not something to which lip service is paid. Sustainability guarantees that tomorrow can be inherited by those who succeed us. This applies to business, and marketing has a leading role to play.
3. Innovate and stay away from the beaten tracks like your life depends on it. Innovation builds value and creates prosperity.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

I recently quit a high-profile position in a great organisation. Considering this is done during Covid times, I would say it qualifies.

Which leader do you admire most and why?

There are many leaders, past and present, to look up to. Some have inspired their generations, while others had impact beyond their lives. I have a weakness for humble transformative leaders who have overcome great adversity and injustice, and still prevailed. In so doing, their ideas and beliefs catapulted humanity by leaps and bounds into the future. My all-time favourites are:
1. Mahatma Ghandi: His commitment to pacificism, civil disobedience, and simple living became the embodiment of Lao Tzu’s quote “The softest thing in the world dashes against and overcomes the hardest;”
2. Nelson Mandela: His unwavering and steadfast commitment to end apartheid and willingness to spend 27 years behind bars, only to emerge and rise above it all is a testament to the human spirit’s courage and capacity for good.

What’s your favourite word?


Tell us a secret

Comfort scares me.


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