FD/FD Dittus Communications: Agency Business Report 2008

Growth at the firm was dominated by energy issues - from renewable energy to oil and gas to research in the nuclear power industry - and health issues like obesity.

Outlook
Growth at the firm was dominated by energy issues - from renewable energy to oil and gas to research in the nuclear power industry - and health issues like obesity. However, the firm now also recognizes a need to emphasize its new-media practice.

"It used to be all you needed to worry about was the digerati using new media," says CEO Gloria Dittus. "Now you have to worry about C-level executives [also]."

She projects that the election and the firm's work in the healthcare and energy areas will lead to a good year in 2008.

Staff

US headcount was 324 as of January 31, 2008, up 31% from the prior year. Senior hires included Betsy Neville (senior MD, Midwest), Jack Gutt (MD), Doug Donsky (MD), and Sophie Sohn (VP). Promotions included Ed Reilly, president and COO, US, and Gordon McCoun, vice chairman.

Structural changes
FD acquired a number of firms, including Ashton Partners in the US; Gravitas, based in Colombia and Panama; and Third Person Communications in Australia.

Regional performance
FD saw growth in New York and Chicago, the latter due to the Ashton acquisition.

Practice areas
Include corporate comms (distributed across 21% of accounts in the US), public affairs (24%), business consulting (26%), and capital markets comms, which was rebranded from its IR practice area (29%).

Accounts

Key account wins included Adidas, Citadel, Transurban, and Investcorp. The firm also saw an expansion of some accounts, including HSBC and Tata Group. Over 80% of the firm's work is on retainer.

Financial performance
Global revenue was $185 million with a profit margin of $48.8 million before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization - a 32% increase over the previous year.

Key facts
Principals: Charles Watson, group CEO, and Declan Kelly, US CEO (above)

Ownership:
FTI Consulting

Subsidiaries:
FD Dittus, FD Ashton Partners

Offices:
Eight wholly owned offices in the US, 17 internationally; more than two dozen partly owned offices, and subsidiaries in EMEA and Asia-Pacific



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