W2O Group: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

Healthcare-focused W2O, the network including subsidiaries WCG, Twist Mktg, and BrewLife, posted global revenue a shade more than $95 million in 2015.

Jim Weiss, CEO, W2O Group
Jim Weiss, CEO, W2O Group

Principals: Jim Weiss, CEO; and Bob Pearson, president and chief innovation officer
Subsidiaries: WCG, Twist Mktg, and BrewLife
Offices: 12
Revenue: Global: $95,504,860; U.S.: $88,468,473

Healthcare-focused W2O, the network including subsidiaries WCG, Twist Mktg, and BrewLife, posted global revenue a shade more than $95 million last year, with the vast majority — $88.5 million — coming from the U.S. Forty percent of the network’s growth was from new business.

In 2015, it won work from biotech company Evofem; design, engineering, and entertainment software company Autodesk; medical device and equipment maker Stryker; and e-commerce company Overstock.com.

Its WCG unit lost BMC’s U.S. PR account early last year, and the network also lost the business for genetic information company Invitae in 2015.

On track to break $100 million
Overall, the firm picked up the pace from its 10% global revenue growth in 2014.

"Year-over-year growth was around 15%, so we hit $95 million, and we expect to break $100 million this year," explains Weiss. "We are transitioning into a $100 million company with multiple offices, so the question is how we maintain our dynamism and stay nimble as we grow."

It acquired San Francisco boutique Fox Communications last August, bringing on founder Lynn Fox, who has since left the firm, to lead media and engagement as MD in its tech practice. W2O closed its Atlanta office, but has since reopened the location.

The agency hired Anita Bose as head of client development last year, along with Dorinda Marticorena as head of entertainment, and Christine Cassiano. (Marticorena has since left the firm). It also promoted a string of executives last spring, including expanding the scope of president Bob Pearson to include the chief innovation officer role.

It named Jennifer Gottlieb, formerly the president of subsidiary Twist, COO and head of client services, running its three integrated marcomms firms. Annalise Coady, who previously managed W2O’s London office and EMEA region, succeeded her at Twist.

W2O also promoted Aaron Strout, formerly head of its technology practice, to president of WCG. Carolyn Wang, former West Coast healthcare practice leader at WCG, was appointed president of BrewLife. Paulo Simas and Gary Grates were elevated to lead W2O’s global business design practice.

Twist Mktg MD and corporate health lead Nancy Fitzsimmons left the firm after five years to join Hill+Knowlton Strategies as an SVP in its corporate and crisis practice. Chief technology officer John Cunningham and Diane Weiser, healthcare practice lead, also exited. Three of the seven members of the firm’s C-suite are women. Weiss says he has no plans to sell the firm: "We believe independence is an important element of our achievements."

This story was updated with more recent information about the Atlanta office and people moves.

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