Margery Kraus - CEO, APCO Worldwide
Building a successful, multinational PR operation is a hard enough task in itself. But doing it in just over five years, through organic growth rather than acquisition, is a feat worthy of note. Add in seven new international offices in the last year, in Edinburgh, Rome, Geneva, Berlin, Shanghai, Jakarta and Johannesburg, and and you have the necessary ingredients for an International PR Professional of the Year.
By March 1995 Margery Kraus, chief executive of Washington-based APCO, had taken the agency she founded some 11 years earlier into the top tier of US communication firms.
During the next five years, Kraus has personally conducted the market studies and recruited the talent for 10 major new offices, from Canada to China via every major European capital. Each of the offices has achieved leadership status in its local market by its third year of operation and by 2000, international operations accounted for more than dollars 17 million in revenue (US revenue is dollars 26 million).
Kraus has spent a large part of her time finding and recruiting PR talent in often crowded, developed markets - including London, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Berlin and Canada, as well as more difficult markets such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
Hiring the right staff from a wide range of disciplines has been key to the success of APCO's globalization - and Kraus has made it her personal mission to ensure that the right people come on board. A recent example is the hiring of John Weekes, previously Canadian ambassador to the World Trade Organization, who now heads up the agency's world trade practice.
Kraus has been keen to build the network on more than just numbers. Throughout its development she has stressed the need for a common culture among all the offices, practicing what she preaches by introducing an international exchange and training program.
APCO's Chinese practice provides one of the best examples of the success of Kraus' formula. Since its first steps into China less than three years ago, the agency has built up a strong blue-chip practice, with more than 40 staff members providing services from traditional PR to cutting-edge projects on corporate social responsibility.
In addition, APCO has been responsible for pioneering the development of western-style business coalitions or trade groups in areas such as e-commerce and brand protection as a means of influencing China's emerging regulations in these areas. Members include a cross-section of Fortune 50 companies. Citing her international work, Kraus was named Washington's Business Woman of the Year.
She has also been active in numerous international causes, including a challenge she issued to the PR industry to get involved in the International Youth Foundation.
David Drobis - chairman, Ketchum
It was a big year for David Drobis, standing down as CEO after ten glorious years to take on a more ambassadorial role - for the business, clients and the international PR industry at large. In the last year, Ketchum's international offices were in the majority for the first time (12 out of 22) after the acquisition of a Berlin firm, and the expansion of offices in Madrid, Brazil, London and Paris. He was also named president of the International Consultancy Organization. His speaking engagements covered the globe. And he has played a leading hand in winning business and improving service for global clients, leading to another year of 20% growth.
Winner 2000: Peter Hehir - Peter Novelli International
The judges looked for evidence of outstanding contribution to the public relations industry outside the US focusing on the period covered by this year's award, as well as career achievements to date.
- Margery Kraus - APCO Worldwide
- David Drobis - Ketchum
- Ralf Hering - GCI Hering Schuppener
- Matthew Anderson - Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
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