In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Reuters Regional Editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Simon Robinson and Middle East Editor Samia Nakhoul announced a number of appointments in the Middle East: Ghaida Ghantous as Gulf Bureau Chief, Sami Aboudi as Bureau Chief for Egypt and Sudan, Andrew Torchia as Chief Economics Correspondent, Middle East and Maher Chmaytelli as Speed Editor. Read more below:
We’re pleased to announce some exciting new appointments and staff moves in the Middle East.
First, Ghaida Ghantous will be rejoining Reuters as the new Gulf Bureau Chief, leading our political, financial and energy coverage in this critical region. We’re delighted to have her back.
Ghaida started her career as a reporter with Reuters in Kuwait in 1997. She moved to Dubai in 1999 and covered the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, reporting on Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. She also covered Gulf economies, with a focus on central banks. In 2007 she became Senior Gulf Energy Correspondent leading a team of reporters that covered the oil and gas industry as well as OPEC meetings. Later, she was acting deputy bureau chief. In 2009, she was chosen as a project manager and trainer at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, where she delivered journalism and training courses to media organisations across the Middle East. In 2014 she took up a job as Managing Editor at Thomson Reuters Zawya.com, a news and intelligence service run by our parent company that serves more than a million professionals in the region. As the head of a team of 17 people, Ghaida looked after editorial operations for emerging business.
Ghaida is a sharp news editor as well as a great communicator, skills that should serve her well in one of the most challenging regions we cover.
Second, Sami Aboudi, who is currently a desk editor in Dubai, will move to Cairo as the new Bureau Chief for Egypt and Sudan. Sami has worked for Reuters for almost three decades. He has covered everything from the return of Yasser Arafat from exile to the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. He was part of the team that covered the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and more recently has reported on Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar.
Sami joined Reuters in Jerusalem in 1989 as a senior correspondent. From 2002 to 2009, he worked as chief sub-editor on the World Desk in London, handling copy from the Middle East, Africa and Europe and doing regular stints in Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and Riyadh. Between 2009 and 2011, he was head of the journalism faculty for the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the Gulf. In 2011, he was appointed desk editor in Dubai. He led the creation of the Middle East monitoring unit in Cairo, recruiting and training monitors, supervising their work and ensuring speedy handling of breaking news from across the region.
Sami’s keen news sense and diplomatic skills should serve us well in Egypt.
Third, Ghaida’s arrival in the Dubai bureau will allow Andrew Torchia, who has helped keep the Gulf humming since Bill Maclean’s departure last October, to re-focus on his true love: economics. As Chief Economics Correspondent, Middle East, Andrew has run the economic file in the Gulf and wider region since 2011, keeping us in the game in the face of increasingly tough competition from Bloomberg. He will continue to report and write about the momentous economic and financial shifts underway in the region with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia and its ambitious reform plans.
Andrew started his career at a newspaper in Johannesburg before joining the Associated Press in Asia. After a stint at Dow Jones he joined Reuters where he has covered everything from the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre to the faked assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian in Taipei. He was regional editor for Economics in London and covered the start of the euro zone debt crisis. Andrew will report himself and continue to work closely with reporters in the Gulf to generate exclusives, scoops and longer stories. He will also lead financial summits. Most of all, we want his sharp analytical take on this incredible region.
Finally, Maher Chmaytelli, who is currently the Bureau Chief in Iraq, will move to Dubai to head up a new Speed Desk. Maher has been Bureau Chief for more than two years, a period that has seen an Iraqi government military offensive against Islamic State and the Kurdish independence vote and its fallout. Reuters dominated both stories, delivering breaking news and great analytical and enterprise multimedia work.
Maher joined us from Bloomberg where he spent 11 years covering the Middle East and North Africa. He was Gulf and Levant Bureau Chief and Chief OPEC correspondent, leading Bloomberg’s coverage of Dubai’s financial crisis in 2009, and the 2011 rebellion that toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Before Bloomberg, Maher worked for 15 years at Agence France Presse (AFP) where he reported from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, the Gulf and North Africa. His reporting from Damascus on the crackdown of the political rights movement known as the “Damascus Spring” earned him a Lorenzo Natali Media Prize in 2002.
Maher is one of the fastest snappers we have – we blitzed the competition on major announcements such as the fall of Mosul and the end of the Caliphate as well as market moving oil news after the seizure of Kirkuk – and we look forward to making even more use of his skills in our battle with his former employers. He will coordinate speed with the Arabic language team and monitors in Cairo.
Ghaida and the new team in the Gulf will work closely with Mike Georgy, who became a Deputy Editor to Samia last November and who continues his enterprise duties in the region. Together, these changes set us up well to win across the file, from the fastest snaps to the deepest enterprise.
Please join us in congratulating Ghaida, Sami, Andrew and Maher on their new roles.
Samia and Simon
[Reuters Press Blog]
pete dot biggs at tr dot com