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Obituary: Antoine Choueiri

Obituary: Antoine Choueiri

"Choueiri was a modern day Colossus who, for nearly half a century, straddled the region’s media and advertising sectors."

March 9, 2010 2:55 by

His first significant job was with Beirut-based luxury goods group Abou Adal Group, which also happened to own two magazines, and within 10 years he had risen to become the head of their sales department.

He married Rose Salameh, the mother of his two children Pierre and Lena, in 1961.

In 1971 he left Abou Adal to form his own media representation company.

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1975 saw him join the Lebanese diaspora, many of whom decamped to Paris, and it was from there that the Chouieri Group took shape.

Developing European sales representation for titles such as Al Watan Al Arabie, Antoine became acutely aware of low investment in advertising from the oil-rich Gulf States and resolved to increase spend, partly through the creation of new media channels. As such, he is widely credited with creating the out-of-home sector in Saudi Arabia through the introduction of MUPIs; he was also the creator of on-pack video advertising for the kingdom – in the days before satellite TV – through the launch of one of his earlier ventures, Video Force.

In 1985 he returned to Beirut. It was also the year that the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation – LBC – launched and appointed Choueiri as its media representatives. This, along with representation for Al Nahar, Al Saffir and L’Orient Le Jour consolidated the Group’s leading position. The group later acquired the rights for MBC and Dubai Media Inc.

Outside of media and, of course, his family, his other passion was basket ball. He was one-time president of Beirut-based La Sagese Club and, according to some, without Choueiri’s support Lebanon would not have been to field the world-class competitive teams it does today. Under his auspices the country won the Asian Basketball Championships three years running.

He is survived by his wife Rose, children Pierre and Lena and seven grandchildren.

Memorial and Mass services for Antoine Choueiri will be held at St. George Maronites Cathedral in Downtown Beirut on March 11 at 11.00am. He will be laid to rest in his hometown of Bcharre. Condolences will be received at St. George Maronites Cathedral in Downtown Beirut on March 10, 12 and 13 from 10.00am till 7.00pm.

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