Ruder Finn: Agency Business Report 2013

"Last year was an opportunity for us to rethink our business," says Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

Principals: David Finn, global chairman; Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO (pictured)
Ownership: The Ruder Finn Group
Offices: Global: 12 wholly owned; US: 4
Revenue: Global: $56,148,000; US: $33,704,000
Headcount: Global: 485; US: 193

“Last year was an opportunity for us to rethink our business,” says Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

The impetus for that came in late 2011 when Bloomgarden's brother and co-CEO Peter Finn completed the formal separation of about 30% of the firm's business to form Finn Partners.

“We really wanted to build platforms that are global and in areas where we see future growth,” explains Bloomgarden. 

The firm closed Ruder Finn Design, its traditional print-design practice and absorbed some of the operations into digital unit, RFI Studios. It also closed its Paris office since most of the work was for local clients and instead partnered with French agency, Image 7, for on-the-ground needs. 

Global expansion
To create a network that can service international markets on a regional basis, Ruder Finn opened offices in Brussels and New Delhi. “We looked at where we need to be, not at where we are,” Bloomgarden says.

In addition, Ruder Finn identified and committed to four practice areas where it has the most bench strength and can best serve clients on a global basis: corporate and public trust, health and wellness, technology and innovation, and consumer connections.

As a result of the restructuring, 2012 revenues were down 10.8% in the US and 2.6% globally. In the first two months of 2013, however, Ruder Finn had double-digit growth versus the year prior. “In the process, we've increased profits into the double digits,” says Bloomgarden.

Now, 60% of the firm's client base is for large, global assignments. New multi-country accounts include pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo (New York, London, and Asia) and the firm also expanded its existing relationship with Visa.

Within its practice areas, the agency saw significant growth in creating employee engagement programs within large multinationals, as well as digital- and technology-driven solutions. In early 2013 Ruder Finn launched a global health IT practice. 

To rebuild its West Coast presence, Ruder Finn opened a San Francisco office, which currently has four people and is being led by Dushka Zapata, formerly of Ogilvy. Opera Software is one of the outpost's first clients.

“Given that tech is a key area,” says Bloomgarden, “San Francisco will be an important office for us.”

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