GCI Group: Agency Business Report 2008

GCI experienced significant growth in its major practice area, healthcare.

GCI experienced significant growth in its major practice area, healthcare. "We're seeking to further globalize our healthcare practice, and expect [the appointment of Bill Martin as director] will move us a little more aggressively forward in Europe," says president and CEO Jeff Hunt.

Overall, Hunt was most pleased with growth in digital and social media, which are "what will fuel us forward." During 2007, GCI's digital practice was expanded from one digital media specialist to 25.

"We've literally put in thousands of hours across the whole company for our people in digital media immersion," he adds. "We also did it for clients and prospective clients because we're all in this together." Also, a key objective in 2007 was a new logo and Web site, with added interactive components and four different active blogs.


Global headcount is 600, with turnover of 30%. Senior hires included Andrew Silver, EVP, North American consumer practice; Elinore White, SVP, deputy practice leader. Exits included Steven Immergut, healthcare SVP; Evelyn Yallen, healthcare practice leader, Toronto. Senior-level promotions included Bill Martin to EVP, global healthcare practice leader; Samantha Cranko and Erica Macy to SVP, healthcare.

Structural changes
In 2007, the Atlanta and London offices were restructured.

Regional performance
Reported growth in all big markets in 2007.

Practice areas
Though major accounts are focused in healthcare, GCI has practice areas in corporate, consumer marketing, and tech, with digital media applied across all practices. In 2007, GCI launched the new specialties of sports marketing and CSR.

Over the past year, no practice areas were phased out, and all reportedly grew.

Key client wins were Darden, Nike, Merck's Gardasil, Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Playtex Baby Care, and Durex. The recently launched sports marketing division won assignments from the Sony Ericsson WTA, PGA Tour, NHL, and National Rodeo League. Also, the CSR division developed relationships with Seventh Generation and Whole Foods. Twenty percent of clients are on retainer.

US clients, including Procter & Gamble and Genentech, contributed to the firm's organic growth, while the European network grew through such accounts as Vodafone, Bombardier, Goodman International, Compare the Market.com, Advance and Williams Lea. GCI reported that it lost no major accounts in 2007.

Financial performance
In 2007, GCI had both bottom- and top-line growth, meeting company expectations, and divided evenly between organic and new-business wins.

Key facts
Principal: Jeff Hunt, president and CEO

: GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of WPP Group

Wholly owned: Five US, 30 globally, Partly owned: 28 globally

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