Ruder Finn: Agency Business Report 2014

Having formally separated from brother Peter's Finn Partners agency in 2011, the process was completed when The Ruder Finn Group was dissolved earlier this year.

Principal: Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Global: 12 wholly owned; US: 3
Revenue: Global: $63,249,000; US: $37,444,000
Headcount: Global: 525; US: 202

Having formally separated from brother Peter’s Finn Partners agency in 2011, the process was completed when The Ruder Finn Group was dissolved earlier this year and all the constituent firms became independent. Ruder Finn’s revenue rebounded last year, up 11% in the US and 13% overall, boosted by the performance of its London office.

The rise was driven largely by new business from multinational clients, which now make up 86% of total revenue, says CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

"The global scope of the work means a lot of our budgets are seven figures and involve different dimensions of communications activity," she notes. 

Two years ago, multinational work accounted for 50% of the firm’s business. Ruder Finn set out to increase that figure following a restructure in 2012, when revenue dipped 2.6% globally – and 10.9% in the US – from the year prior.

Last year was its first of a five-year extended growth plan. Ruder Finn added additional practices and offerings around four pillars: corporate and public trust, health and wellness, technology and innovation, and consumer connections, with a cross emphasis on digital engagement.

In June, the agency globalized its digital offering, RFI Studios, with the opening of a China office. Worldwide, Ruder Finn has 85 people in its interactive group. In addition to digital, the firm also identified employee communications as a service in demand and trained and staffed up people dedicated to employee engagement.

While the focus is on securing large clients, particularly in healthcare, finance, and technology, the agency also partners with entrepreneurial companies with an innovative edge. Last year, long-term client Novartis turned to Ruder Finn to help launch its first global-disease awareness campaign, while Rosetta Stone hired the firm for PR support across Europe. Caribou Coffee left to work with Exponent.

Rally its employees
The agency hired Gina Kelly as director of talent and people experience. Other hires included Maryann Watson as president of RFI Studios and EVP Rum Ekhtiar. EVPs Susan Smirnoff and Heather Gartman left. Staff turnover was 21%.

The firm also plans to rally staffers around a new vision to be unveiled as part of its 65th anniversary celebration this year.

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