Ruder Finn: Agency Business Report 2007

"We decided to make a bold move to reorganize our global [operation] around three strategic areas which touch our core values and where we have fundamental strength as an agency, including health and wellness, corporate and public trust, and global connectivity," co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden says.

"We decided to make a bold move to reorganize our global [operation] around three strategic areas which touch our core values and where we have fundamental strength as an agency, including health and wellness, corporate and public trust, and global connectivity," co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden says.

Adds co-CEO Peter Finn, "We are building our operation to attract talent to further strengthen and complement our offerings. We have renewed focus across [RF] that translates from how we work, who we work with, to the kinds of people we [seek] to join us."

Principals: Kathy Bloomgarden, Peter Finn, co-CEOs
Ownership: Independent, part of the Ruder Finn Group
Subsidiary firms: RF Binder Partners
Offices: Five wholly owned in the US, nine in the rest of the world, including Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific

Staff
In the US, 424, and globally 593, up from 568 in 2005, with 10% turnover. Senior hires included Neil Dhillon (MD); Graham Vink, Marty McGough, Harriet Shelare, Michael Wong, Cassie Holmes, and Brad Daves as SVPs. Senior departures included MDs David Nobs and Barbara Shipley, and Ron Christie, EVP.

Regional performance
East Coast operations increased budgets and projects in healthcare, corporate reputation, and interactive. New York outperformed the firm as a whole with 14% growth. The West Coast operations saw growth in tech and consumer business.

Practice areas
Fourteen, core of which are healthcare, corporate, interactive, and tech. RF Insight and ethics consulting were added areas. RF boasts a double-digit increase in its corporate reputation practice, and says its creative activities, especially new media, Internet, and emerging technologies are its fastest-growing areas, up 25%.

Accounts
Wins included Reuters Collaboration Services, Microsoft Financial Services, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Kyocera Mita America, Monster Media, Beringer Vineyards, and Frank Publishing. Losses included Napster, Glaceau, and Kanbay. Sony, Novartis, and Pfizer all expanded.

Financial performance
Global revenue grew 8% to $99,303,000; US revenue grew 12% to $83,150,000.

Agency's full questionnaire follows below:

Name of parent division/company (enter both where applicable):
Ruder Finn Group

Name of subsidiary companies:
None

Has your ownership status changed in the past year? If yes, please explain:
No

Name of global CEO and US CEO (or most senior equivalent)
Peter Finn-Co CEO; Kathy Bloomgarden-Co CEO

What is your current headcount? How has your headcount changed since FY 2005?
593
+25

What was the percentage of staff turnover in 2006?
Less than 10%

Did you make any senior hires in 2006 (VP and higher)? Please state name, title (and unique responsibilities, if applicable), and previous company:
Neil Dhillon;
Managing Director; public affairs (MWW Group)
Graham; Vink; SVP; crisis expert (Fleishman-Hillard)
Marty McGough: SVP; RF insight (Widmeyer Research & Polling)
Harriet Shelare: SVP; healthcare; (Manning Selvage and Lee)
Michael Wong: SVP; branding (Abbot Laboratories)
Cassie Holmes; SVP; healthcare (Burson-Marsteller)
Brad Daves; SVP; marketing
Andrew Edwards: VP; healthcare (Ketchum)
John Doyle; VP public affairs (Berman & Company)
Fioana Philips, VP; healthcare (Cohn & Wolf)

What senior staff have departed the firm? Please state name and previous title
David Nobs-Managing Director
Barbara Shipley-Barbara Shipley- Managing Director
Ron Christie - Executive Vice President

Please list any other senior management changes, including restructures and significant, senior-level promotions:
None

Have you made any acquisitions in the past year, or merged with another agency?
No

How many wholly owned offices do you have globally? 14 Please list with agency names and cities under the following headings. Add majority-owned offices in parentheses.

  • North America:
    New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Los Angeles; San Francisco
  • Europe:
    London, Paris
  • Middle East:
    Jerusalem
  • Asia Pacific:
    Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Singapore, Sydney

How many partly owned offices or affiliates do you operate globally? Please list agency names and cities under the following headings.
None

What offices opened in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)
None

What offices closed in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)
None

Which regions, US and globally, are growing, and why?
a) East Coast: Increased budgets and project in Healthcare, Corporate Reputation and Interactive.
b) West Coast: Growth in Technology & Consumer business.

How many practice areas do you have?
Healthcare      
Corporate
Interactive
Technology
Consumer/Marketing
Arts & Communications Counselors
Branding
Public Affairs
Design
Media
Printing Services
Ethics Consulting
Travel & Economic Development
RF Insight

Which ones are new?
RF Insight
Ethics Consulting

Of those, which ones are part of the core strategy of the agency?
Healthcare, Corporate, Interactive, Technology

Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?
None

What practice areas showed the most growth? Please elucidate.
N/A

Which practice areas showed the least growth? Please elucidate.
N/A

What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas?
N/A

What key account wins did you have in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
Reuters Collaboration Services
Microsoft Financial Services
Mitshubishi Motors North America
Kyocera Mita America
PROTRADE
Monster Media
Seed Media Group
Beringer Vineyards
Frank Publishing

Of your 2006 wins, how many were across three or more countries?
None

What key accounts did you lose in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
Napster Glaceau; Kanbay;

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets or sectors? Please elucidate.
Sony
Novartis
Pfizer

What proportion of your clients are on a retainer? Has this changed over the past year?
20 % or less
NO

What was your 2006 global (including US) revenue?
$99,303,000

What was the % change over 2005 global revenue
+8%

What was your global profit margin in 2006?
Agency declined to give information.

What was your 2006 US revenue?
$ 83,150,000

What was the % change over 2005 US revenue
+12%

What was your US profit margin in 2006?
Agency declined to give information.

Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year, or both? Please elucidate
Both

How much of your growth was organic, and how much was due to new business won? 
100% of our growth was organic

How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year?
Ruder Finn achieved global growth of 8.19% in 2006 based on significant global expansion in our core areas of health and wellness, corporate trust, and global connectivity.  This growth was driven by a strong double-digit increase in our corporate reputation practice, working with global multinational companies on CEO positioning, media, branding, and crisis programs.  Our creative activities, especially new media, internet and emerging technologies are our fastest growing divisions, gaining 25% with leading expertise in developing on-line communities, web development and web marketing. We continue to build on our existing clients particularly in our New York healthcare practice with new budgets and projects. Our New York headquarters realized a dynamic performance with revenue rising 14%.

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