Newlink Group: Agency Business Report 2015

Newlink Group typically does most of its business in South America, but US revenue last year for its subsidiary skyrocketed.

Sergio Roitberg, chairman and CEO
Sergio Roitberg, chairman and CEO

Principal: Sergio Roitberg, chairman and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Global: 10; US: Miami and New York
Revenue: Global: $41 million; US: $33 million
Headcount: Global: 350; US: 90
Note: Global revenue figures reported last year were inaccurate. The correct figure was $26 million, not more than $35 million

Newlink Group, an independent comms firm that helps companies tap the Latin American market, typically does most of its business in South America. But US revenue last year for its subsidiary, Miami-based Newlink America – which counts Coca-Cola and ESPN as clients – skyrocketed: up 108%. Global revenue increased 58%. US and global profit margin was 15%.

"Growth in Miami was led by important business development in our public affairs practice as well as new projects for our tourism practice," says chairman and CEO Sergio Roitberg. New clients include the Bahamas’ Grand Lucayan Hotel, Guatemala Tourism Institute, and Visit Orlando. Several existing clients expanded their mandates including Latam Airlines and JW Marriott Miami, the latter added social media to its contract renewal. In March 2015, Juan Valdez Café selected Newlink as AOR to help position the retailer in the US market. Growth was evenly split between new business and existing clients.

The firm lost two key accounts last year: Oracle, which hired the firm in 2002 as AOR for Latin America, and office property developer Regus.

Newlink relied on local vendors to execute large below-the-line contracts secured last year in markets where it doesn’t have an office presence.

"We also increased the productivity of existing employees and made a few strategic hires and promotions," notes Roitberg. Newlink America increased headcount last year from 85 to 90. 

Those hires included Maria-José Rubio, who is heading the firm’s new transformation practice de-voted to organizational readiness, alignment, and acceleration. Ian McCluskey was promoted to head of the financial comms unit launched in January 2015.

New agency partnership
Newlink rolled out a practice in partnership with New York-based inVentiv Health PR Group called Saluteam, aimed at expanding the capabilities of both agencies in multicultural health comms. Clients include pharma companies and hospitals.

The agency also opened an office in New York. "It’s small right now, but we will continue to add resources as we build the business. Clients such as ESPN Deportes are based there and our alliance with inVentiv means even more opportunities."

Business was robust in Latin America, particularly Colombia where Newlink started engagements with Pandora and Novartis. Chile’s economic struggles caused that market to lag. At the start of 2015, Newlink Group became the first Hispanic-owned member of the PR Council. Roitberg expects the affiliation will lead to alliances with other partners "that would bring additional markets and capabilities to boost the sustained growth of our business."

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