FTI Consulting: Agency Business Report 2013

FTI Consulting attributes a 6.4% decline in global revenues to economic contraction in Australia and the Gulf region.

Principals: Edward Reilly, global CEO; Elizabeth Saunders, Americas chairman; Mark McCall, Americas head (pictured)
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Global: 97 (not all global offices have a strategic communications practice); US: 11
Revenue: Global: $188 million; US: $61 million
Headcount: Global: 700; US: 220 

FTI Consulting attributes a 6.4% decline in global revenues to economic contraction in Australia and the Gulf region. 

In the US, revenues dipped by 4.6%. Less project work overall and an increased pressure on fees hurt the firm's corporate communications practice, one of its core service areas along with financial communications and public affairs. The firm says there no key account loses that significantly impacted its bottom line.

Still, FTI came second in Mergermarket's year-end League Tables of PR Advisers by transaction volume globally with 217 deals totalling $124 billion. The company also returned to revenue growth in the fourth quarter with a 2.2% year-over-year uptick.

Strong position
“While down slightly overall in terms of [2012] revenues, we remain in a strong position in our core markets,” says Mark McCall, head of Americas.

Business in its public affairs practice was driven by client demand in the energy sector. The March 2013 acquisition of DC-based lobbying firm C2 Group will also help expand FTI's public affairs offering. Client wins last year included Noble Energy, American Petroleum Institute, and Shale Gas Coalition. In July, the World Energy Council awarded FTI a seven-figure global media brief for its flagship Triennial Congress to be held in Daegu, South Korea, in October 2013.

FTI also continued crisis and issues management work for Transocean in the wake of an oil spill off the coast of Brazil. Further growth in the energy sector is forecasted.

The firm promoted senior MD Robert Knott to corporate communications practice leader for the Americas to drive its 75-person unit. Many corporations have a procurement process that has made it difficult for agencies to distinguish themselves, says McCall: “Bob has helped differentiate our offering. With guys like him on board, the less we have to compete on price.”

As a direct result of Knott's efforts, new client engagements include a multi-year assignment secured late last year for ComEd, confirms McCall.

FTI also hired Mitzi Emrich as MD of its strategic communications practice in Washington, DC. Going forward, McCall sees continued growth from regulated industries such as healthcare and financial, as well as an increase in transaction work.

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