ICR: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

ICR CEO Tom Ryan says "things were very good in the first half of 2015," but Q4 presented a more challenging business climate for his firm.

Tom Ryan, CEO, ICR. Image via ICR
Tom Ryan, CEO, ICR. Image via ICR

Principals: Tom Ryan, CEO; and Don Duffy, president
Offices: Beijing; Boston; Los Angeles; New York; Norwalk, Connecticut; and San Francisco
Revenue: $56,208,757 

ICR increased revenue last year by $4.5 million. That represented about a 9% uptick over 2014, when the company had its best year with a 19.3% increase; 2015 revenue totaled just over $56 million.

"Things were very good in the first half of 2015. It was a continuation of the Federal Reserve flooding the system with money, the stock market going up, and companies having bigger budgets," says CEO Tom Ryan. "But toward the end of the year the IPO window closed, the stock market rolled over in a high-profile way, and people became more budget-mindful.

"Q4 2015 was a bit tougher. We’re in that same environment now. That said, we’ve started the year well."

Ryan attributes that to some strategic headway, which has helped the firm win new clients. He cites a rebrand of ICR that better articulates the firm’s offering, which crosses the expertise of Wall Street equity analysts who founded the firm in 1998 with traditional comms.

At the end 2015, the firm also launched ICR Capital, a subsidiary that offers clients counsel and comms oversight relating to IPOs, capital sourcing, and M&As. Ryan
says the subsidiary has six or seven assignments involving IPOs.

New clients drive revenue increase
In 2014 most of the firm’s revenue growth was associated with existing clients. In 2015, however, the reverse was true: 70% was from winning new clients, including Cardlytics, China Digital TV Holdings, CommerceHub, HC2 Holdings, Luvo, and MCR Development. They represent a cross-section of industries including consumer tech and real estate.

"Our biggest client grouping is probably consumer, although tech and real estate are very big," notes Ryan. "We’re big enough that we operate in probably 20 industry groups and each has its own team. We’ve been consistent year over year with growth because some industries are stronger than others at times." He did not disclose specific sector breakdowns.

Client losses included Tapjoy, Norcraft Companies, Fullhouse Resorts, Installed Building Projects, and Joinem.

ICR made a large number of hires last year to account for the growth. Revenue per person at the firm is a strong $350,000.

New additions include three SVPs: David Clair, Ross Levanto, and Edmond Lococo, a veteran of Bloomberg News. Lococo is based in the Beijing office and Levanto in Boston; Clair focuses on healthcare. Ryan says business from the Beijing office has been "flat" to "up slightly," given the economic slowdown in China.

Global employee turnover was 26%. MDs Jen Gordon and Bob Yedid were among staff departures.

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