A graduate in hotel management, Ian Fairservice moved from Assistant Manager of the prestigious Grand Hotel in Eastbourne to take up the role of Deputy General Manager in Dubai’s second five-star hotel (Excelsior, now Sheraton) in January 1978.
With media in its infancy, Fairservice identified the opportunity to launch the county’s first magazine and set up his media business, Motivate Publishing, in June 1979. Together with his partner Obaid Humaid Al-Tayer, who is now the UAE Minister of State for Finance, he has seen the company develop into one of the most successful media houses in the region. Publishing a wide range of award-winning magazines and books along with diverse media interests across digital, content, events and cinema, Motivate has a team of more than 200 media professionals in a network of Middle East offices.
What’s On, Gulf Business, Emirates Woman, Identity, Golf Digest, Campaign and Business Traveller are some of Motivate’s established consumer and trade brands with websites that reach an audience of more than four million people each month.
Motivate’s bespoke content services division – Motivate Connect – delivers tailored multi-media content solutions to some of the region’s leading companies and institutions including Emirates Airline, Jumeirah Hotel Group and government departments of both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The company has several successful joint venture partnerships across a wide-spanning media landscape including their cinema advertising business, Motivate Val Morgan, which exclusively represents more than 90% of the cinemas in the Middle East including the three key operators in Saudi Arabia.
Fairservice has diversified the group’s interests to include joint ventures with global content and influencer marketing platform VAMP from Australia, Malaysian based World Expo pavilion design company Zakti, Social listening and research specialists MavenMagnet from the US and acclaimed British documentary film makers Lorton Entertainment.
Motivate’s book division was founded in 1986 and has more than 300 titles in print including many from well-known authors such as Sir Wilfred Thesiger, Ronald Codrai OBE, General Sir Peter de la Billiere, and British royal photographer Lord (Patrick) Litchfield. Motivate published My Vision, an autobiographical account of the development of Dubai by its Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Eight different language versions of My Vision have now been released. Further books by His Highness include Poems from the Desert, Spirit of the Union and Flashes of Thought.
One of the founding members of the International Advertising Association (IAA) - UAE Chapter, Fairservice spent four years as treasurer, four years as vice president, and five years as president. During his tenure as President, the IAA - UAE won their pitch to host the IAA World Congress in Dubai. As a result of the event’s tremendous success the UAE was recipient of the Golden Tulip Award for the best chapter worldwide. Fairservice served for many years on the association’s world board and at their 75th Anniversary celebrations in London in 2013 he was recognised as an “IAA Champion” for his contribution over the previous 30 years.
Fairservice has been the Middle East representative of the Cannes Festival of Creativity since 2000. In March 2007, he founded the Dubai Lynx Advertising Awards and Festival of Creativity for the Middle East & Africa in partnership with Lions Festivals. In March 2019, Ian was recognized as the Advertising Person of the Year for his contribution to the region’s media landscape over the last 40 years.