Alex Malouf: Leading communication and EV transformation in the ME

Abha Garyali Peer |

Alex Malouf, the Board Director at PRCA MENA and Executive Director of Corporate Communications at the region’s first electric vehicle brand, is a prominent figure in the communication and PR industry in the Middle East. Apart from serving as a Board Director at PRCA MENA, he holds the position of Executive Director of Corporate Communications at the region’s first electric vehicle brand. With two decades of experience in the Middle East, Alex has resided in various countries across the region, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Alex Malouf offers insights into his journey, transitioning from a journalist to his current roles. He shares his passions and deep-rooted appreciation for the communications and PR industry. Furthermore, he delves into the Electric Vehicle sector of the Middle East and expresses his enthusiasm for this evolving industry. Excerpts from the interview:

Could you share your professional journey and some of your notable achievements with our readers?

I’ve been an analyst, a journalist, and I’ve worked in a number of communication agencies (some local, some global), and I then moved client-side. I’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible people, teams, brands and organisations. I’ve also lived through some remarkable changes, such as the introduction of social media, the growth of influencers, and the rise of key issues such as sustainability. What I'm most proud of is helping organisations better understand and benefit from the potential of communications. I have also been dedicated to advocating for important societal issues, including the environment, gender equality, education, and learning.

You've earned various recognitions, such as being named the first communications innovator in the MEA region by the Holmes Report and identified as a Rising Star and potential future Chief Communications & Marketing Officer by Provoke Media. How have you managed and successfully played all these roles in your career?

I’ve always taken everything one step at a time, be it in terms of my learnings and education, my career path or my volunteering. I’m guided by a belief that communications can be a force for good when done well and ethically, and that we need to encourage more young talent to enter the industry. If you do good work, the accolades will follow.

As a communications leader for the first Saudi Arabian vehicle brand, what can you tell us about your experience working with a new industry?

Communication is always exhilarating, regardless of the industry. What's truly thrilling is being part of the initial stages of a once-in-a-lifetime transformation of society. There's a multitude of tasks at hand, including engaging with diverse audiences to generate enthusiasm for electric vehicles, demonstrating how smart mobility can enhance transportation safety, and discussing the pivotal role of technology in concepts like autonomous driving. Sustainability and eco-friendly transportation are also essential aspects to consider. Given the wealth of activities in this realm, we must carefully tailor our messages for various groups.

How have you witnessed the evolution of the Public Relations industry over the years, and what positive changes have you observed?

I’ve worked in the profession in the region for two decades, and it’s been great to see the maturing of the sector. When I started here, the focus was primarily on media relations. Now, there’s much more thought about a wider variety of stakeholders, including employees, community relations, government affairs and the like. We are also tackling bigger issues, such as sustainability and purpose. We still have much more to do to ensure that communications has a seat at the leadership table in every organisation, but we are getting there.

Could you share some recent marketing and communications strategies that you have implemented? What changes can we anticipate in the vehicle industry as a result?

With the rise of electric vehicles, we are witnessing the biggest change we have seen in the automotive sector for decades. What we have to do is get consumers excited about these changes, and make them want to be part of this change. There are challenges, such as the higher initial cost of EVs, a lack of charging infrastructure, the lost cost of petrol in the Gulf and the need for incentives and subsidies. I’m a convert, and I love my EV. I want others to feel the same, and that’s why communications is essential to making a convincing case for people to shift to EVs.

What is your vision for the future of the vehicle industry in the Middle East?

I want to see safer, smarter, more sustainable mobility across the Gulf. I think we can lead the transition to an electric future. Communications will play a major role in making the case for this change, and I’m excited about what we can do to get the region’s public excited about what EVs will mean for them, our cities and countries.