Weber Shandwick: Agency Business Report 2013

Last November, Andy Polansky was named CEO at Weber Shandwick, replacing Harris Diamond, who became chairman and CEO of sister IPG ad agency network McCann Worldgroup.

Principals: Andy Polansky, CEO; Gail Heimann, president and chief strategy officer; Jack Leslie, chairman (l-r)
Ownership: Interpublic Group (part of the Constituency Management Group)
Offices: Global: 85 wholly owned offices; US: 19
Revenue: Global: more than $500 million; US: more than $350 million

Last November, Andy Polansky was named CEO at Weber Shandwick, replacing Harris Diamond, who became chairman and CEO of sister IPG ad agency network McCann Worldgroup.

“Harris was a tremendous business builder and collaborator – qualities that made a huge difference at our firm,” says Polansky of his predecessor.

Weber grew in excess of 6% in 2012, bettering IPG's 4.8% organic PR revenue growth for the year. Polansky notes consistent growth across the globe, even in Europe, which saw “modest” improvement despite macroeconomic challenges.

He specifies China, Korea, and Indonesia as particularly robust. “China and Korea present huge opportunities,” adds Polansky, “both in supporting multinationals looking to penetrate those markets and helping companies expand around the world.”

Last August, the agency bolstered its Emergent China specialty area, and this February, Weber assumed full ownership of India's Corporate Voice.

Polansky, a 30-year Weber veteran, also highlighted New York, which grew more than 20% last year. He credits the outpost's digital and social acuity as a main factor.

The consumer, healthcare, and corporate practices all grew notably in 2012, as evidenced by account activity. Organically, McCormick & Company, Motorola Mobility, and Nike were among clients that increased work with Weber. New business came from Aetna, ADP, Land O'Lakes, and Pepsi brands, including Amp, Pepsi Next, and Mountain Dew.

Account losses included CVS, Syngenta, InterContinental Hotels, and KFC.

On the staffing front, vice chair Gail Heimann was named president and chief strategy officer, while Tim Fry, who leads Weber's global client relationship program, was named global tech practice head.
Additions included EVP of social impact Cindy Drucker and Kate Bullinger, who will lead Weber's employee engagement and change management practice.

New York president Robert Dowling and EVP and MD of social media Stephanie Agresta left last year to join Fleishman-Hillard and MSLGroup, respectively. This March, Lisa Sepulveda, global consumer marketing president, rejoined Edelman.

Retiring from full-time work, Heidi Sinclair resigned as president of the global technology practice and Fiona Noble, vice chairman of Weber Shandwick, left after nearly two years with the agency.

Last May, Weber unveiled a new logo and tagline, “Engaging, always.” This philosophy has resonated externally and internally, says Polansky. “With ‘Engaging, always,' you are talking about the speed of communications, the always-on, 24-7 reality we are all immersed in,” he explains. “You can drive a lot of initiatives around that.”

One such effort was My Weber Shandwick, a new social intranet launched last April that won PRWeek's 2013 PR Product/Service of the Year Award. Last year, Weber also earned two Diversity Distinction in PR Awards, a program conducted by PRWeek and the Council of PR Firms.

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