Among highlights this year was working on Disney's $7.4 billion Pixar acquisition.
US CEO Declan Kelly anticipates growth this year from Asia, as FD expands there.
The bullish Kelly says FD is "already ahead of budget projections for the year."
FD formed a joint venture with mainland-China firm Eastwei Relations this year, furthering 2005's launch of a Hong Kong office.
Name of subsidiary companies
Dittus Communications - US
LLM Communications – London
Name of global CEO and US CEO (or most senior equivalent)
Charles Watson – CEO, FD International
Declan Kelly – CEO, FD US
What is your current headcount, and how has it changed from this time last year?
FD US has 175 full time employees, up from 110 at the start of 2005.
What was the percentage of staff turnover?
Did you make any senior hires in 2005 (VP and higher)?
We have hired more than 60 of the best people in the industry in 2005 in the US. Key new senior executives recruited from some of the largest PR firms, corporations and other consulting organizations and our acquisition of Westhill Partners have enabled us to expand our services and FD's national profile.
In March, we opened our Midwest operations in Chicago, recruiting well-known reputation management expert Harlan Teller as FD's Managing Director of Midwest Operations and Director of Corporate Reputation Management, and Harlan Loeb as Head of Litigation Communications.
Westhill founder Ed Reilly joined FD as Managing Director of our new Business Consulting practice. Key senior executives were also added as a result of FD's acquisition of Dittus Communications in September 2005, reflected in their separate rankings entry form.
FD also expanded into Asia in September 2005 with the opening of our Hong Kong office, headed by Diana Footitt, former head of Citigate Dewe Rogerson's North Asia practice who brings a wealth of financial communications and investment community expertise to bear. Diana also has significant transaction expertise and knowledge of the regulatory environment in the region which is extremely valuable to the organization.
New senior talent includes:
Ed Reilly, Managing Director – Business Consulting
Scott Dormen, Senior Vice President
Raoul Bhavnani, Senior Vice President – Business Consulting
Evan Smith, Senior Vice President – Property
Kal Goldberg, Senior Vice President – M&A Advisory and Crisis Communications
Lisa Cradit, Senior Vice President -- Technology & Telecommunications
Lou Colasuonno, Senior Vice President – Media Relations
Jeffrey Levine, PhD, Vice President – Business Consulting
Eric Ostern, Vice President -- Marketing Communications
Duane Coda, Vice President – Corporate Communications
Laura Novak, Vice President – Corporate Communications
Harlan Teller, Managing Director, Midwest Operations & Director of US Reputation Management
Harlan Loeb, Head of Litigation Communications
Jim Sloan, Senior Vice President
Erik Smith, Senior Vice President – Public Affairs
Have you made any acquisitions in the past year, or merged with another agency?
FD-US acquired two firms in 2005 with the goal of expanding the scope of services we provide through an expanded publ ic affairs offer and the formation of a research-oriented Business Consulting practice:
Dittus Communications: In December 2005, FD announced the acquisition of Dittus Communications, a public affairs firm based in Washington, DC. Dittus continues to operate as an independent brand, wholly owned by FD.
Westhill Partners: In July 2005, FD acquired Westhill Partners, a business and management consulting firm which is the foundation of FD's Business Consulting practice. Westhill's staff in New York and Washington have been integrated into FD.
FD was also acquisitive internationally, adding two firms to the fold in specialist skills areas that support the firm's core service offers. These included:
LLM Communications: FD acquired independent UK public affairs consultancy LLM Communications in June 2005, thus underlining FD's global public affairs ambitions to become a major player in the PA market. LLM retains its existing identity and its 25+ staffers have ensured complete continuity of client service. Together with the US
acquisition of Dittus Communications, FD is quickly growing its global public affairs offer.
Tamesis: FD expanded its real estate practice in Europe through the January 2005 acquisition of UK PR and corporate affairs consultancy Tamesis Public Relations. Tamesis' 25 professional staff have been integrated into FD's real estate practice, thus enabling thee sharing of beset practices
How many offices do you have globally?
New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco
London, Dublin, Manchester, (Frankfurt), Moscow
Johannesburg, Cape Town
Hong Kong (FD has affiliates in several major business centers including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore).
What offices opened in 2005 or early 2006?
2005 saw FD continue to grow our presence in the US, with the opening of our Midwest operations in Chicago in March and expansion of our US headquarters in New York. US CEO Declan Kelly was also instrumental in FD's plans to expand globally in India (April 2005), Hong Kong (September 2005), South Africa (January 2006) and Russia. FD also opened a small office in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the last two and-a-half years, FD US has become a key part of a growing global network and the largest independent firm focused solely on business communications, with dual headquarters in New York and London and offices in 15 major business centers around the world.
Is there a particular region, US and globally, that is growing right now?
From a network perspective, the US and Asian markets are particularly strong for FD.
How many practice areas do you have?
Our mission is to enable clients to effectively and persuasively influence key stakeholders in the financial community, media, halls of government and industry trade groups with strategic counsel and results that positively impact their business performance. Therefore, FD globally is structured around four core practices that together provide clients with a comprehensive business communications and consulting offer that is unique in the market. These practices are: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, Public Affairs, and Business Consulting.
Within these communications disciplines, FD is uniquely organized by specialist teams covering all major industries, including basic industries, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, property, retail/consumer, and technology. Specialist teams for transactions/IPOs, litigation communications and a thriving design group round out our offer.
Which ones are new?
Our Business Consulting practice was formed in mid 2005 as a result of FD's acquisition of Westhill Partners. This is an important step forward in our strategy of providing a broader scope of strategic consulting and advisory solutions to clients. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that the dynamics driving the business communications sector are changing fundamentally. A Business Consulting practice enables us to provide business solutions to clients as well as
communications strategies to support those solutions. New capabilities such as those of our Business Consulting practice dramatically evolve our ability to tackle broader, more sophisticated assignments.
Of those, which ones are part of the core strategy of the agency?
Business Consulting is a critical fourth pillar of our national industry-leading practices listed above.
Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?
What practice areas showed the most growth?
While all practice areas remain important and integral components of FD's long-term strategy, we have seen the highest growth levels in the US in Corporate Communications and Investor Relations in the US. On an industry sector level, Life Sciences was one sector that was especially strong, however, all of our specialist teams' business grew in 2005. We see sustainable growth levels in all of these areas for the next several years, reflective of the long-term viability of the global healthcare marketplace, and growing demand for integrated communications and consulting services resulting from an increasingly-complex business
Which practice areas showed the least growth?
All of our practice areas grew significantly in 2005.
What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas?
Following is an estimated breakdown of FD-US accounts across practice areas by revenue:
Investor Relations 26%
Corporate Communications 31%
Public Affairs 29%
Business Consulting: 14%
What proportion of your clients are on a retainer?
Roughly 2/3 of our clients are on retainer.
Has this changed over the past year?
No, it is consistent with the prior year.
Included American International Group, Siemens Business Services, and HSBC.
What was your 2005 US revenue?
As in previous years, we are unable to provide financial results by geography.
Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year?
How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year?
We are very pleased with our results for 2005. We have expanded our service offer to provide a full-service approach to business communications and consulting that has attracted a new clientele of global brand leaders that understand the strategic value that our approach can bring to bear for their businesses.