MWW Group: Agency Business Report 2012

Becoming independent from Inter-public Group in December 2010 was MWW Group's biggest highlight for 2011, says CEO Michael Kempner, who explains that the management-led buyout has allowed the agency to get back to its roots and concentrate on clients, services, and employees, rather than budgets.

Principal: Michael Kempner, CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: US: 10
Revenue: $38,626,000
Headcount: 200

Becoming independent from Interpublic Group in December 2010 was MWW Group's biggest highlight for 2011, says CEO Michael Kempner, who explains that the management-led buyout has allowed the agency to get back to its roots and concentrate on clients, services, and employees, rather than budgets.
 
“It was our best year ever,” he says of 2011, “and Q1 2012 was the best quarter we've had in the company's history.”
 
MWW saw an 11% increase in revenue over 2010, while its US profit margin increased 19% in 2011. New business accounted for 60% of growth, with 40% being organic.
 
Last year, the agency launched its energy, cleantech, and sustainability practice and named former Rand Corp. executive Mark Bernstein to lead it. Revenue from MWW's consumer practice rose 18% due to wins including Zumba Fitness, Frontier Airlines, Atkins Nutritionals, and Subaru. The firm's IR practice showed the least growth.
 
Other wins include AARP Foundation, Coinstar, Discovery Bay Games, Nextag, Walgreen Co., Virgin America, and Sylvan Learning Centers. MWW lost accounts including Nutrisystem and Movietickets.com.
 
In 2011, MWW hired 15 new executives, such as former Edelman staffers Ephraim Cohen, EVP of technology and digital content; Jared Hendler, EVP and global director of digital and creative services; and Kathy Fieweger, EVP and GM of the firm's Chicago office. Another hire, VP and director of insights and research Doug O'Reilly, led the development of NetRelevance, an MWW tool that measures a brand's trust and helps it build relevance to stakeholders.
 
MWW last year also promoted group VP of consumer marketing Joe Cohen, VP of media strategies Leslie Linton, and VP of finance John Ferrari to SVPs.
 
Claire Koeneman, GM of the Chicago office, left the firm.
 
International expansion begins
At press time, MWW was expecting to make its first global expansion at the beginning of Q2 by opening a London office.
 
Kempner says MWW has been thinking about entering London for years and the new office will allow the firm to offer clients more opportunities. He adds that “London is just the first stop” and the agency hopes to expand throughout Europe.

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