Blue Rubicon launches Qatar venture following private equity backing

Blue Rubicon has picked Qatar to launch its first international venture following its multi-million pound private equity investment last year.

Qatar: Location for Blue Rubicon's first international office
Qatar: Location for Blue Rubicon's first international office

PRWeek’s current Consultancy of the Year will open its first business outside the UK in Doha later this month, led by long-time agency director Neil Daugherty.

‘Qatar is a growing economy and society with an ambition to diversify,’ Daugherty explained. ‘The country is only 40 years old, but is developing rapidly and has one of the most digitally engaged populations anywhere in the world.’

Qatar’s economy grew by 19 per cent in 2012 and the country is planning for a bumper $US250bn investment in infrastructure projects ahead of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The agency has been active in the country since 2007, working on strategic comms projects for various governmental departments and organisations including Qatargas and the country’s largest foreign investor Shell.

Daugherty, who joined the agency in 2000 as one of its first employees, will serve as managing director and will be joined by senior consultant Kieran Toohey, who is promoted to director, and two local recruits with Arabic language skills.

Blue Rubicon CEO Gordon Tempest-Hay stressed the importance of maintaining its culture and focus on strategic reputation management as the agency rolls out its international expansion.

Private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital bought a majority stake in Blue Rubicon in December 2012 in party to accelerate the agency’s internationalisation.

Tempest-Hay said the Doha venture was the ‘first stage of Blue Rubicon’s international growth story’ that would see another ‘one or two’ investments before the end of 2013.

He added that the agency planned to have regional hubs the world’s major markets by 2015.

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