Ketchum has acquired Sheppard Associates, to form the basis of a new $20 million global workplace communication practice.
Ketchum senior partner and CEO David Drobis said the acquisition of America's largest employee communication firm - Sheppard has an annual income of around $14m - reflected the increasing emphasis on human resources within the business community.
'More and more businesses are concluding that employees may in fact be their most important constituency,' said Drobis. 'This is partly due to the competitive environment for recruiting and retaining talent, and communication plays a critical role in that process.
'Most importantly, businesses have recognized the clear link between culture, communication and performance, and we want Ketchum to be the leader in the field of workplace communication.'
Sheppard will continue to operate under its own brand as part of Ketchum's global workplace communication practice. Peter Fleischer, partner and director of Ketchum's Chicago office will head up the practice.
Don Sheppard, who founded the firm in 1986, said: 'Joining Ketchum creates exciting opportunities for our clients, who will now have access to Ketchum services around the world, and for our people who will work with some of the best communicators in the world.'
Sheppard is headquartered in Glendale, CA. It also has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland and Stamford.