Language services provider thebigword has appointed one of the best-connected networkers in the Middle East to spearhead the growth of its defence and international security division.

Zia Mir joins as business development director and will use his longstanding experience and contacts within the region to advise the group on sales opportunities.

He previously held business development roles at SAI Global, a risk management business, and IHS Global, for its Jane’s defence and security information services.

Mr Mir said: “Due to the rapid expansion with projects such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and Qatar’s plans for the World Cup, the foreign presence in the Middle East is significant and increasing.

“Businesses from Europe and the Americas are working and investing in the region.

“The desire of the collective leaderships of the different countries in the Middle East is to create a better and more cohesive society.

“They want to build new Smart City developments with the latest technology.

“We aim to be the leading language services provider to governments, businesses and contractors to help drive this social, economic and technological transformation.

“As the region continues to transform we look to work with military, government and local security industry in the development of language solutions that address the Middle East’s security challenges.”

Larry Gould, founder and Executive Chairman of thebigword, said: “We are delighted to welcome Zia to thebigword and believe that his experience of the Middle East will be a great asset for our group.

“He has a deep cultural understanding of the area and extensive knowledge of our potential customer base. Zia has great contacts and is an excellent networker.”

The defence division had sales of £8m last year and provides face-to-face interpreting, telephone interpreting, written translation, cultural advice and language training.

The division has 150 interpreters deployed in UK, Germany, Ukraine, Iraq, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and northern Africa.