BELGRADE, SERBIA: Golin has launched Golin Belgrade in partnership with Serbian PR agency Ruskin & Hunt, effective immediately.
Djordje Odavic will serve as executive director of the newly formed firm. Golin Belgrade will offer PR, digital, content, and advertising services to clients in southeastern Europe. The firm has 30 staffers at launch.
Ruskin & Hunt has operated in Serbia for eight years; it has four regional offices in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro.
Golin has worked and shared clients with Serbia-based Ruskin & Hunt for several years. The firm’s executives approached Golin three years ago about a partnership, said Matt Neale, president of Golin EMEA.
"Many agencies in the 1990s made the mistake of buying up places all around the world and became these massive networks, which we find cumbersome to manage," said Neale. "We value the entrepreneurialism local ownership brings. We marry local ownership with our brand, training, products, and clients. This is a joint venture brand license strategy."
Last year, Golin opened an office in Moscow with Russian partner Comunica and launched an Istanbul office with partner agency Rekta. This April, Golin Germany launched through a joint venture with Interpublic Group sister firm GGH MullenLowe in Hamburg.
"The more awards shows I watch, we continue to see impressive, disruptive thinking coming out of Eastern Europe," said Neale. "Next year, we will be announcing more brand joint ventures in this part of the world."
At the end of this year, Golin CEO Fred Cook will step down and be replaced by three senior executives in its "CEO+" model. Jon Hughes, Neale, and Gary Rudnick will share chief executive responsibilities, reporting to Cook and IPG CFO Frank Mergenthaler.
Cook will become the agency’s chairman and serve as director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School.
Golin’s holding company, Interpublic Group, said last month that its CMG division, which houses PR firms including Golin and Weber Shandwick, achieved 9.4% organic revenue growth in the third quarter, reaching $419 million.