Visa cuts agency workload around the globe

Visa is slashing its work with its PR agency partners around the world as part of a move to bring more of its communications function in-house, according to various sources.

FOSTER CITY, CA: Visa is slashing its work with its PR agency partners around the world as part of a move to bring more of its communications function in-house, according to various sources.

Agency partners FleishmanHillard, Edelman, and Brunswick will be affected by the reassessment, which will result in significant account budget cuts, the sources said.

Visa USA brought on Fleishman as its lead agency in May 2004 after previously working with GolinHarris. The account was understood to be worth several millions. Edelman has worked with Visa in several Asian markets.

The company is continuing “to build our in-house team of communications professionals, and to that end, we have decided to rebalance our agency footprint around the world,” said Antonio Lucio, global chief brand officer at Visa, in an emailed statement.

“This move comes partly as a result of the recent integration of the communications and marketing functions at Visa, which will allow us to gain many more synergies and ensure a fully integrated communications approach,” he added, in the statement.

Visa declined to comment further on the issue.

Visa's global corporate relations department of 90 staffers was shifted under marketing in April when global head of corporate relations Doug Michelman, who reported to CEO Joseph Saunders, exited the company.

Lucio, who joined Visa in late 2007 as CMO, is the head of Visa's marketing efforts.

During his time at Visa, Michelman oversaw corporate relations including global media and analyst relations, issues and crisis management, communications programs, and digital communications strategies. His role at the company has not yet been filled though it is looking for a replacement.

The agencies declined to comment on the reassessment.

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