MWW Group: Agency Business Report 2009

For MWW, 2008 was an important year for digital. President and CEO Michael Kempner says the agency has been building its digital capabilities over the past 24 months.

Outlook
For MWW, 2008 was an important year for digital. President and CEO Michael Kempner says the agency has been building its digital capabilities over the past 24 months.

"There isn't a client today [for which] we're not working on a robust and active digital media strategy or working with them to introduce one," he notes.

Turning to 2009, Kempner says that the first quarter was "solid." He adds that being midsize and nimble, the agency's "deep involvement" with clients, as well as its work in DC and in the digital, consumer, and corporate practices, will serve MWW well in 2009.

"If we do our jobs well, we'll continue to grow, even in a tough economy," adds Kempner.

Staff
Current headcount is 225, a decrease of 20 from 2007. Staff turnover was 15%.

The firm had a number of senior hires in 2008, including Matthew Della Croce, who joined as SVP and deputy GM and was promoted to SVP and GM New York/corporate communications; Ruth Sarfaty, EVP and media strategies head; and Tara Naughton, SVP of consumer marketing. The firm also promoted a number of other staff members, including Alissa Blate to EVP/global consumer marketing practice leader and Matthew Rose to EVP/global corporate communications practice leader.

Thomas Biro, VP of Dialogue Media, and Lauren Selikoff, CMO, departed the firm.

Structural changes
MWW Group acquired six-person lobbying firm JordenBurt, LLP, led by Marilyn Berry Thompson.

Regional performance
The agency saw growth across its offices, particularly in New York, Washington, and Dallas. MWW closed the Detroit office it had opened for client Volkswagen after the company moved to Virginia. The firm also closed its client office for Samsung in Irvine, CA.

Practice areas
MWW has 10 practice areas, including consumer lifestyle marketing, corporate communications, social responsibility, corporate branding, and visual branding (Studio MWW). The firm expanded its healthcare practice to include nutrition. It also created the Dialogue Media practice, formally grouping previous services.

Accounts
MWW added a number of new clients including Adecco, Target, Gold's Gym, and Everlast. The percentage of the firm's accounts on retainer is unchanged from last year at 65%. The firm lost Sun Microsystems.

Financial performance
The agency's US revenues for the year fell in the $50 million to $100 million range.

Key facts
Principal: Michael Kempner, president and CEO

Ownership: Interpublic Group, as part of CMG

Subsidiary companies: Financial Relations Board

Offices: Nine in the US; one in London

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