Principals: Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner (pictured); and Richard Funess, president
Offices: Global: 12; U.S.: 8
Revenue: Global: $77.7 million; U.S.: $73.2 million
Revenue climbed 8.7% at Finn Partners, but that doesn’t provide an accurate picture of 2016 trading because most of the growth related to the firm’s continued acquisition spree.
In July, the agency snapped up Greenfield Belser — a Washington, DC-based strategy and creative services firm that added $4.5 million to Finn Partners’ B2B digital integrated marketing practice — for combined fees of $12 million. A month later, Finn acquired Lane PR, a $3.5-million boutique with a staff of 27 in Portland, Oregon, giving it a financial services practice. Greenfield partners Burkey Belser and Joe Walsh joined the firm after the acquisition, as did Wendy Lane after her eponymous firm was bought.
Spain’s Rioja Wines selected Finn Partners as its PR AOR last summer. The firm won $12 million in new business last year, but that was only enough to replace the natural churn on projects winding down. Losses included Pinnacle Vodka.
"Organically, our growth was flat," says Peter Finn, CEO and founding partner. "It was a tough year for the industry. Prospects were taking longer to make decisions, and clients were taking longer to decide on incremental projects."
However, in the first six weeks of 2017, Finn Partners won $10.5 million in assignments. They include existing client Jack Daniel’s, which hired the firm for a sizable, incremental task around its 150th anniversary. This year’s new clients include Carlex Glass, as well as a number of unnamed pharma clients.
Finn Partners also acquired Singapore-based Ying Communications this April, which is its first move into Asia-Pacific.
Healthcare group shines
In 2016, the firm’s healthcare group was a bright spot, growing from about $10 million in revenue to $15 million. In technology, Finn’s biggest practice, it has about 130 accounts. Wins included mobile satellite services company Inmarsat and TiVo.
The agency is protective of its culture. The firm declined to renew two accounts last year, valued each at $500,000, because the clients were difficult and had a negative impact on morale.
Currently, 19% of the 485 staff is black, Hispanic, or Asian — above the industry average. Finn says he would like to get that number to 25%, noting 22% of last year’s hires were people of color. Employee turnover last year was 20%.
Looking ahead, the firm is eying more acquisitions, including other markets where the agency does not have offices, Finn adds.
Currently, Finn Partners has a presence outside the U.S. in Jerusalem, London, Munich, and Paris.