Criteo appoints Dirk Henke as the new MD for its MENA hub

Dirk Henke will lead regional operations out of the company’s new office in Dubai Media City

Following the launch of its regional hub in Dubai last May, Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO), the performance marketing technology company, welcomes the move of its Managing Director Emerging Markets from Munich to Dubai. Dirk Henke has held this position since October 2012 and is now based in the region. From Dubai, he will continue to run operations in Middle East and Africa as well as in Turkey and Russia, amongst other markets. Criteo is also starting its operations in its new office in Media City, offering opportunities for a growing local workforce.

The move is another step towards strengthening the company’s position in the market and pursuing further growth in the region. Factors such as widespread fast-speed internet connectivity, affluent residents, and a booming e-commerce landscape, make the Middle East a promising market for brands that seek to expand through digital advertising and marketing. According to PwC, internet advertising budgets in the MENA region are set to grow from approximately US$707 million in 2013 to US$2.46 billion in 2018. 

Countries in the Middle East boast some of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. The UAE and KSA, for example, are at 73.8% and 72.8% respectively, according to Google’s Our Mobile Planet Survey. Additionally, shares for digital sales through mobile devices are increasing; findings from a Criteo report this year reveal that 38.8% of digital sales from the UAE and KSA are transacted through mobile. 

Criteo’s role is to deliver performance advertising across multiple devices using a self-learning algorithm. This powerful solution analyses data to predict consumer purchasing behaviour and target individuals at times when they are most likely to buy through personalized advertising. For advertisers, this means a more relevant marketing strategy, reaching an engaged audience, which increases conversion. 

The Criteo Engine analyses more than 230 terabytes of data every day and handles 15 million requests per second with a response time of 20 milliseconds.  The result is the ability to identify the consumers who are most likely to buy within a global reach of more than 1.11 billion Internet users each month, according to a September 2015 comScore MMX report. Criteo now stores more than 20 terabytes of data daily, including actual purchase behavior. Leveraging on direct relationships with more than 11,000 publishers worldwide, Criteo already provides this service for over 9,250 advertisers across 86 countries.


“This is a very exciting time, both personally and professionally. Criteo is very eager to tap into the potential of the Middle Eastern markets in the midst of an ongoing e-commerce and m-commerce surge. Joining the Dubai office allows us to focus on the region, and being here makes it easier to dig deeper and get more involved in the rise of digital, programmatic advertising. I look forward to supporting our existing and potential clients as they venture into innovative online strategies,” said Dirk Henke, Managing Director Emerging Markets, Criteo.

“After establishing a long-term working relationship with Criteo, we are delighted to have them closer to us than ever before.  We are certain that this local presence will help to get more instant support and to improve our overall campaigns performance thanks to the local market insights in Africa and the Middle East,” explained Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager Middle East, Travelstart.  “Welcome to the UAE, Criteo!” 

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