Edelman announces closure of Russian operation and forms partnership with local agency PRT

Edelman is to close its Russian operation because it thinks the economic situation in the country has made business "increasingly difficult".

Edelman: First entered Russian market in 2008 via acquisition of Imageland
Edelman: First entered Russian market in 2008 via acquisition of Imageland

The firm will continue to have a presence in the country through a new affiliate partnership with Russian agency PRT. Existing Edelman staff and clients will be transferred to PRT, "and other Edelman markets wherever possible".

Edelman employs around 15 members of staff in its Moscow office, which is due to close this week. It is understood that Edelman hopes Kerry Irwin, general manager of the Russian business, will continue to work for the agency in another capacity.

PRT, which employs around 75 people, already works for a number of Edelman’s global clients such as Unilever and Diageo.

Michael Stewart, Edelman’s CEO of Europe & CIS, said: "Although the economic situation in Russia has made business increasingly difficult, client demand remains strong and we remain deeply committed to serving them in the Russian market. This partnership with PRT enables us to serve clients at scale immediately."

He added: "PRT is a fully integrated communications agency that will allow Edelman to serve our global brands in Russia across the full range of communications marketing services."

It comes seven years after Edelman entered the Russian market via the acquisition of Imageland Russia, although that venture was shut down in 2012.

Edelman launched a wholly-owned business in the country later that year. At that time, Irwin said: "Our goal is to become the agency of choice in Russia, by providing consistently excellent service and thought leadership to clients both locally and across the network."

It follows last month’s news that Ketchum has ended its relationship with the Russian government.

Gleb Sakhray, president and CEO of PRT, said: "We have been successfully developing PRT for many years. Our alliance with Edelman is forged from our desire to provide clients with the best possible services. This new partnership in the Russian market will enable us to offer local and global brands top business and creative solutions as well as access to the latest technological innovations."

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