In this exclusive interview with Mr. Ayman Aly, the esteemed Marketing Director of Canon Middle East, we delve into his illustrious 15-year journey with the company. Celebrating a remarkable tenure marked by a recent long service award, Mr. Aly also reflects on his recognition as the “People Manager of the Year,” a pinnacle achievement in his 25 years of professional experience. Throughout this engaging conversation, Mr. Aly offers insights into the evolving landscape of marketing, his transformative leadership philosophy, key milestones from his career, future visions for Canon, and invaluable advice for aspiring leaders. Join us as we explore the depth of his expertise and the impactful contributions, he has made to Canon Middle East, providing a unique glimpse into the mind of a visionary leader in the industry.
Over your 15 years at Canon Middle East, what have been the most significant changes in the marketing landscape, and how have you adapted your strategies to stay ahead?
Over the past 15 years, the marketing environment has evolved significantly. Since 2008, when I joined Canon Middle East, I have been instrumental in establishing the professional printing division from the ground up. Our initial strategy focused on long-term partnerships and active participation in major printing events, enhancing Canon’s visibility and forging key industry connections. A major shift in our approach came when we moved from a product-focused strategy to offering holistic digital printing solutions, solidifying our position as a reliable industry partner. The challenges brought by the pandemic were met with a swift pivot to digital printing and a heightened focus on customer needs. Despite these challenges, we continued to innovate, launching new products and embracing virtual events. Our rapid recovery post-pandemic underscores our commitment to innovation and customer-centric strategies. The transition from analog to digital printing marked a significant phase, with our diverse product range and consultative selling approach bolstering our market leadership. In 2024, we introduced the “Printing Consultant Certification Program” to enhance our sales team’s capabilities and foster customer trust. This journey reflects our adaptability and dedication to staying at the forefront of the professional printing sector.
Winning the “People Manager of the Year” award is a remarkable achievement. Can you share your philosophy on people management and how it contributes to the success of your team and Canon Middle East as a whole?
Winning the “People Manager of the Year” award has been a significant achievement. My leadership style is rooted in authenticity, building trust and open communication. I focus on nurturing personal connections with my team, understanding the importance of a supportive and empathetic work environment. The ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy underpins my management approach, balancing professionalism with relaxation to maintain a positive culture. Tailoring communication to meet individual team members’ needs has been key to fostering understanding and cohesion. My goal is to inspire and empower my team through a leadership style that emphasizes inclusivity and alignment with diverse values.
Looking back on your extensive 25-year professional career, what do you consider as your most defining moment or project at Canon Middle East, and why?
My time with Canon in the Middle East and Africa has been a journey of significant professional milestones and achievements:
Reflecting on my career, significant moments include the expansion of Canon’s Professional Printing business and leading the integration of Oce channels into Canon’s practices across the Middle East and Africa. Establishing Canon Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah branch and expanding our B2B operations in the region were pivotal experiences, contributing greatly to Canon’s success in these areas.
As you look forward to continuing your contributions to Canon, what are the key areas of focus or initiatives you are most excited about in the coming years?
Looking forward, I am excited about aligning Canon’s brand with trends like sustainability, digital transformation, AI, and emerging technologies. My focus will be on maintaining Canon’s industry leadership through technological advancements in printing, such as flatbed, roll-to-roll, label printing, and industrial inkjet printing. Our goal is to meet customer needs while staying attuned to the evolving printing industry.
Advice for Aspiring Leaders: For individuals aspiring to have a long and impactful career in marketing and leadership, what advice would you offer based on your experiences and accomplishments at Canon Middle East?
For those starting their careers, I advise staying authentic to your values and maintaining personal and professional integrity. Seek out challenges, prioritize ethical decision-making, and build respectful relationships. Find satisfaction in your work and take ownership of your responsibilities. This approach will pave the way for a fulfilling and successful career.