Ruder Finn: Agency Business Report 2011

Despite uncertainty during the year about the possible setting up of a spinoff agency by co-CEO Peter Finn, Ruder Finn experienced a year of strong organic and new business growth, with global revenue increasing 8.8% and the US up 10%. "It was a great year," says Finn.

Principals: Kathy Bloomgarden, Peter Finn, co-CEOs
Ownership: Independent
Offices: 14 wholly owned; 5 in the US. China showed particular growth, with Beijing and Shanghai now among the agency's top three offices
Revenue: Global: $97,059,000; US: $78,061,000
Headcount: Global headcount was up 12% to 602, with 370 of those in the US, up 8% on 2009

Despite uncertainty during the year about the possible setting up of a spinoff agency by co-CEO Peter Finn, Ruder Finn experienced a year of strong organic and new business growth, with global revenue increasing 8.8% and the US up 10%. "It was a great year," says Finn.
 
The firm's four main practice areas continue to be health and wellness, corporate and public trust, global connectivity, and life and style. Co-CEO Kathy Bloomgarden notes: "We're particularly happy about the strategic focus on these four pillars and our largest clients are now focused on those."
 
Growth was spearheaded by social and digital media, which is now integrated in most programs; corporate reputation and issues management work; and emerging markets such as China, where work has grown notably and revenue was up 17.5%.
 
Efforts in China pay off
"We were one of the first multinational firms to go there in the 1980s and we've spent a lot of time getting to know it," she adds. "We have several hundred people in China. It's almost a dual HQ for us now."
 
The New York consumer and tech practice grew significantly in 2010 and the firm ended Q1 2011 by acquiring LA-based The Rogers Group and creating Rogers Ruder Finn, which will be part of a near-$10 million revenue Ruder Finn West operation.
 
Key 2010 account wins included CSR work with PepsiCo, as well as a retainer with the company's Mountain Dew brand and project work on Gatorade. It lost home entertainment technology brand TiVo.
 
Hiring from the media
Like many firms, Ruder Finn is dipping into the world of media for high-profile new hires, with CBS News/The Early Show executive producer Maryam Ayromlou and Bloomberg BusinessWeek London senior correspondent Kerry Capell both joining the firm as SVPs. Staff turnover was under 10% during the year. Lisa Novak, head of Ruder Finn's US consumer practice, left after seven years. And Cliff Berman, formerly GM of DeVries Public Relations, joined as EVP, director consumer marketing.
 
There was sadness this February when Bill Ruder passed away at the age of 89. He cofounded the firm in 1948 with David Finn. Together they established one of the legendary PR brands, kick-starting many careers in communications along the way.

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