Ownership: The Ruder Finn Group
Offices: Global: 14 wholly owned; US: 5
Revenue: Global: $57,663,000; US: $37,790,000
(Finn Partners – Global: $23,618,000, US: $23,063,000)
Headcount: Revised Ruder Finn headcounts after Finn Partners split: Global 448; US 195
The Ruder Finn soap opera continued throughout 2011 and finally resolved itself in December, when co-CEO Peter Finn completed the formal separation of about 30% of the agency to form Finn Partners.
Ruder Finn reviewed the way it reported revenues in previous years and marked down billings to reflect the exclusion of a portion of fixed-price project budgets to allow for expenses related to them. The reevaluation suggests the agency overstated revenues by $16 million to $18 million in previous years.
Finn took with him Richard Funess, now president of Finn Partners, and Ron Rogers, founder of Los Angeles-based The Rogers Group, which was acquired by Ruder Finn in Q1 of last year.
Finn explains that his new agency is on track to surpass $30 million in fees in its first year of operation.
Finn's sister, and now sole CEO of Ruder Finn, Kathy Bloomgarden says she kept the majority of the formerly combined firm's $1 million-plus clients, including Novartis, Citibank, PepsiCo, Moët Hennessy, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, L'Oréal, Pfizer, Volkswagen, Roche, and Abbott. The Jamaica Tourist Board, Logitech, and Hyundai accounts went with Finn Partners.
“It was a year of transformation where we focused on improving the quality of the business and the client list,” says Bloomgarden. “Now, we're not dependent on any one client.”
Ruder Finn refocused its portfolio around four pillars: corporate and public trust; health and wellness; technology and innovation; and consumer connections.
It opened two offices in India last fall, in Mumbai and Dehli, and formed a strategic partnership with Japan's Kyodo PR. It was named Caribou Coffee's AOR this January.
Following the split, Bloomgarden intends to beef up Ruder Finn's Bay Area offer, but will not open a Los Angeles office. Sabrina Guttman joined in mid-May to lead the tech and innovation practice, but left in less than three months saying “the direction the firm was going just didn't feel like a good fit to me.” She re-emerged at Burson-Marsteller.
It is hard to assess the respective firms' performances after such a transformational 12 months, but next year will be much clearer.
On the split with her brother, Bloomgarden says, “It's a positive thing for both firms. It unlocks the value potential for both of us to grow in a dynamic way.”