Al Arabiya News Channel today announced the appointment of Jihad Ali Ballout to the post of Director of Corporate Communications. The appointment in itself would not come as a surprise to regional media observers, as it is well known that Al Arabiya has been favoured to secure Ballout’s services.
Interestingly enough, Ballout was the official spokesperson for Qatar-based Al Jazeera Channel until July and its main link to both regional and international media. Perhaps one of the most interesting – indeed, demanding - functions were his endless endeavours to dispel the ever-present controversy surrounding Al Jazeera’s editorial and corporate policies.
Asked about Ballout’s senior appointment, Abdul Rahman Al Rashed - Managing Director of Al Arabiya News Channel - said that corporate communications has become the mainstay for the success of modern enterprises irrespective of the nature of its activities. When probed about the reasons behind Ballout’s decision the leave Al Jazeera for Al Arabiya, a fierce competitor by all standards, Al Rashed was noncommittal, restricting his response to: “Jihad’s appointment is a gain for him and Al Arabiya”.
It is worthy to note that some weeks ago, regional media touched upon “professional diversions of views” between Ballout and his former employer in Qatar pertaining to certain policies adopted by management that coincided with the launch of the “new look and content” a couple of months ago, which is reported to have led to his move out of Doha.