Ruder Finn: Agency Business Report 2010

CEO Peter Finn says investment in talent and infrastructure, including $1 million in tech upgrades and a multimillion-dollar renovation of the New York office, was a priority.

Principals: Peter Finn, Kathy Bloomgarden, co-CEOs
Ownership: Independent
Offices: 13 wholly owned globally; 5 in the US

Staff
Headcount was up 4% to 565, with less than 5% turnover. Chicago MD Andy Hopson departed and was replaced by Dan Pooley. Fifteen other senior-level hires were made.

Practice areas
Ruder Finn is organized across four pillars: health and wellness; corporate and public trust; global connectivity; and life and style, with the first two showing the most growth.

Accounts
The agency picked up 94 new clients in 2009, bringing its roster to about 244 total (it's 263 currently). Last year's wins included Microsoft HealthVault, King Pharmaceuticals, and Hotels.com. Work with Microsoft expanded to include its entire healthcare offering.

Financial performance
Global revenue fell 7% to $89,175,000. US revenue was down 8% to $71,071,000. Profit didn't increase. CEO Kathy Bloomgarden notes that the 2009 bonus pool was almost double 2008.

Analysis
CEO Peter Finn says investment in  talent and infrastructure, including $1 million in tech upgrades and a multimillion-dollar renovation of the New York office, was a priority. 

"During downturns, we tend to invest," he adds. "That's possible because we're a privately held company – we can take a long-term point of view."

Bloomgarden calls 2009 "one of our most impressive new-business years." This year Q1 is up more than 10%over Q1 2009.

"We felt really good about last year," she says. "Our pillars grew for the most part. We outpaced the market. Clients showed trust. We're well positioned in 2010 and well prepared to handle whatever challenges we may face."

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