Owned by Publicis Groupe (part of Specialized Agencies and Marketing Services)
Lou Capozzi, CEO
Number of offices: Nine in the US, 40 fully owned, partially owned and network partner offices worldwide.
Staff numbers: 950; about flat.
Staff turnover: 8.5%.
Senior hires: Include Peter Pitts, former associate commissioner for external affairs at the FDA, as SVP of health affairs; Scott Gottlieb joined as VP from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid; Larry Shushan, SVP, corporate communications, previously at Chevron Corporation and Gap; Bruce MacKenzie, SVP, director of entertainment and pop culture marketing, from Omnicom firm Tracy Locke; Renee Yosco, SVP, consumer marketing, from Hill & Knowlton.
Senior departures: Mike Marino, chief strategy officer; Marie van Luling, managing director, MS&L Boston.
New offices: Montreal and Berlin.
What region is growing? Asia Pacific shows the most growth potential. Atlanta, New York, London, and Canadian operations were strong.
Mergers and acquisitions: Publicis Dialog in Chicago merged with MS&L's Chicago office. MS&L also assumed management responsibility for sister agencies Rowland Communications Worldwide and Masius.
Number of practice areas: Four core areas - consumer, corporate, healthcare and technology. Areas under these include public affairs, crisis communications, employee communications, corporate social responsibility, pharmaceutical marketing, biotechnology, technology and research and measurement.
What areas were strong, and weak? Healthcare and consumer marketing continue to be the strongest, though the corporate practice saw the strongest percentage of growth. Technology remains the weakest, but saw improvement in 2004.
Distribution of accounts across practice areas: Healthcare, 43%; consumer, 32%; corporate/financial, 24%; technology, 7%; IR, 3%; employee marketing, 2%.
Key account wins: Include Best Buy, Canon, CDC, Safeway, SideStep, Cracker Barrel.
Key account losses: AICPA, LeapFrog, Midway.
Accounts expanded into new markets: Sanofi-Aventis, Philips, Sunkist, Procter & Gamble, General Motors.
Proportion of clients on a retainer: 10% globally.
Did revenues meet expectations? Slightly higher than expected.
Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth? Both. This growth exceeded expectations; performance was in line with Publicis Groupe's expectations.
Outlook: Healthcare has been a bright spot with marquee client business. "Those wins when the client commits its full resources to the group create substantial opportunity for us," says CEO Lou Capozzi. The challenge of meeting global client needs has led to new initiatives. The firm has committed significant resources to its Change Minds Academy, a professional development program aimed at developing professional standards for MS&L.