Padilla Speer Beardsley: Agency Business Report 2013

After years of growth, 2012 was "a little disappointing," admits Padilla Speer Beardsley CEO Lynn Casey, referencing a 5% decrease in revenue from $17.8 million in 2011 to $16.8 million last year.

Principal: Lynn Casey, CEO and chair
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Minneapolis and New York
Revenue: $16,875,860
Headcount: 113

After years of growth, 2012 was “a little disappointing,” admits Padilla Speer Beardsley CEO Lynn Casey, referencing a 5% decrease in revenue from $17.8 million in 2011 to $16.8 million last year.

The firm attributes a significant portion of the decrease to continuing changes at its New York office, where it cut ties with two clients, a division of Elsevier and b-to-b company BraunAbility. The move was made as Padilla seeks to refocus the office to offer larger, more integrated opportunities.

The shift in focus meant the firm had to let some people go who specialized in b-2-b clients, says Casey. However, she is more optimistic about the role the office will play at the company in 2013 as its retooling is complete.

Changes in leadership
“We realized that in order to really move ahead as a firm, we needed to make some changes to leadership, staffing, and client base in that office,” Casey adds.

Greg Tarmin, who had been with American Express, MSLGroup, and Cohn & Wolfe, was hired as MD in New York in late 2011. In the second half of 2012, the agency hired several VPs, including Amy Epstein and Riff Yeager. Bob McNaney replaced Paul Omodt as VP of the crisis and critical issues group.

The New York office, inherited from a 1987 merger between Padilla & Speer and Brum & Anderson, has historically underperformed, but Casey remains dedicated to making sure the office succeeds.

“I don't believe an agency based in the Midwest can be credible to national and international clients without an office in New York City,” she opines.

Overall, an increase in healthcare clients last year and early this year has been a bright spot for the firm. New wins included RTI Biologics, Torax Medical, and Midwest and Mountain Dental.

The firm continues to make strides on a more integrated offering, but still doesn't have the capability to provide a full-scale digital CRM platform in-house, which led The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission to pick Olson PR as AOR in 2013, ending a nearly two-decade relationship with Padilla.

Despite the setback, Casey is optimistic about 2013, noting that recent new business wins were more than double what the firm achieved in the same months last year.

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