Countrywide, the UK’s third biggest PR consultancy, is to change its
name. The Omnicom-owned agency will adopt the name of its US sister firm
to become Countrywide Porter Novelli from September.
Communications International - the umbrella brand for Omnicom’s
generalist PR interests - will become Porter Novelli International.
The new group - totalling 73 offices in 38 countries - will be run by an
international board jointly chaired by Countrywide chairman Peter Hehir
and Bob Druckenmiller of Porter Novelli.
It has a combined annual fee income of around dollars 140 million
(pounds 90 million)worldwide, over two-thirds of which is generated in
the US, UK and Germany.
The rebranding is chiefly designed to improve recognition of the group
as an international brand.
‘We recognised that reflecting the US name would be vital in attracting
business from the main exporter of PR, the US,’ said Hehir.
But Hehir stressed that the move was not a merger: ‘This is not a Porter
Novelli takeover,’ he said. ‘There is no precedent for this
[arrangement]. We are both coming from a position of strength.’ Hehir
said there was no intention to drop the Countrywide, although he did not
rule it out as a long term possibility.
‘It would be Countrywide’s sole decision to drop the name, and we
wouldn’t do it unless there was a sound commercial reason,’ he said.