2005 Agency Business Report: Cohn & Wolfe

Owned by WPP Group

Owned by WPP Group

Donna Imperato, CEO

Offices: Four in the US: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago. Nine globally.

Staff: 340 globally, a 10% increase over 2003

Staff turnover: 22%

Senior hires: Includes Michael O'Brien, president and GM, New York, formerly SVP at Ketchum; Sherri Jaffe, EVP Chicago, formerly at TAP Pharmaceuticals; Claudia Carasso, EVP tech practice, formerly at Fleishman-Hillard

Senior departures: Kathryn Metcalfe, New York CEO, now at Novartis Pharmaceuticals

New offices: Chicago, reopened after closing in 2001.

What region is growing? Both the US and the UK.

Number of practice areas: Four: consumer, healthcare; technology, and corporate/b-to-b

What practice areas were strong? Consumer and healthcare were strongest.

Distribution of accounts across practice areas? Healthcare 37%; consumer 35%; technology 20% and corporate/b-to-b 10%

Key account wins: Spearheaded the WPP win of Pfizer's cardiovascular products; also won Serono, Genentech, ChevronTexaco, Diageo, Globus, Air New Zealand, Digicel, Intellisync (though lost this account six months later), Absolut, International House of Pancakes, Cadbury-Schweppes.

Key account losses: None reported.

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets? Serono (from Europe to US) ChevronTexaco (from b-to-b in San Francisco to retail in LA).

Proportion of your clients on a retainer: Globally about 25%

Did financial performance reach expectations? It far-exceeded them, as did the agency's "substantial" top-line (15%) and bottom-line growth.

Outlook: Last year, Cohn & Wolfe began to emerge from its closed-mouth restructuring phase and demonstrate a new level of energy and aggressiveness in the market. "My greatest satisfaction was the great morale at C&W," says CEO Donna Imperato. She adds that acquisitions are in the works, and that her intent is to continue to pursue marketing clients who are seeking the kind of grassroots campaigns that the firm is experienced in running.

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