RLM Finsbury: Agency Business Report 2014

An executive shuffle in the C-suite made news at RLM Finsbury last month.

Principals: Roland Rudd, chairman; Michael Gross, CEO (pictured); Stephen Labaton, president
Ownership: WPP
Offices: Global: 9; US: 3 (New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC)
Revenue: Global: $65 million to $100 million
Headcount: Global: 200; US: 92

An executive shuffle in the C-suite made news at RLM Finsbury last month. The agency appointed former senior New York Times writer Stephen Labaton as US president.

Labaton joined the firm as partner in 2012 and his remit also includes stints as a consultant to Goldman Sachs and founder of Georgetown Policy Advisers.

"I’ll be continuing to develop new business, as well as servicing some of our large and small clients and helping to lead the firm, particularly in the US," says Labaton.

He succeeded Michael Gross, who stepped into the CEO role in April. Walter Montgomery transitioned from CEO to cofounder and partner.

"A particular focus of mine as CEO is increasingly working as integrated global teams on assignments," says Gross.

Strong year
He is also exploring domestic expansion and a potential office opening in San Francisco. Paul Holmes, a partner at the firm since 2007, will become managing partner of RLM Finsbury’s New York office.

In February, the firm’s holding company WPP posted organic global PR and public affairs revenues down 1.7% in 2013.

Gross did not disclose exact figures, but he says it was a "strong" year for the firm.

Expanding the public and regulatory affairs and science and technology practices was a focus in 2013. Scott Hoeflich, previously a senior aide to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, was hired as an SVP, as was ABC News correspondent Ned Potter. The firm’s first global appointments included Eric Eve as a managing partner for global strategy and Patrick Gallagher as global CFO. Former Verizon CCO Peter Thonis came on as a senior adviser in November.

In October, RLM Finsbury opened an office in Singapore to support clients in Southeast Asia. Agency partner Simon Moyse relocated to manage operations.

"This past year, we have continued to focus on adding senior-level talent in the financial comms, corporate reputation, issues management, and public affairs areas, and on forging a cohesive international leadership team," says Gross.

Account wins last year included bookmaker Paddy Power, Verizon, Norwegian oil giant Statoil, and Starbucks. Ongoing major relationships include investment company BlackRock and Toyota.

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