DeVries Global: Agency Business Report 2015

While DeVries saw a 5% decline in global and US revenue year over year, growth in the UK and Asia-Pacific was 19% and 2%, respectively.

CEO Heidi Hovland
CEO Heidi Hovland

Principal: Heidi Hovland, CEO
Ownership: Interpublic Group (part of Constituency Management Group)
Offices: New York, Beijing, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, and Mumbai
Revenue: Global: Less than $50 million; US: $30 million
Headcount: Global: 243; US: 110

While DeVries saw a 5% decline in global and US revenue year over year, growth in the UK and Asia-Pacific was 19% and 2%, respectively. The  downturn was due to client consolidation in the US, says new CEO Heidi Hovland, who joined the firm in November 2014 from FleishmanHillard.

Lost US accounts include key client Procter & Gamble brands Tide, Downy, and Frédéric Fekkai, and Campbell Soup’s Pepperidge Farm bakery brand. The firm would not supply exact revenue figures, instead noting that global revenue was less than $50 million and US revenue was about $30 million.

Client wins in the past year include Sherwin-Williams in the US, Monster headphones and Innocent Drinks in the UK, as well as Quaker Oats in EMEA. Hovland adds that DeVries was named digital AOR for a Procter & Gamble beauty brand and picked up more work for Celebrity Cruises.

In Asia-Pacific, the agency added National Gallery in Singapore and New Balance, Kolon Sport, Chaumet, Fit Gym, and Spey whisky in China, expanding the firm’s presence in the fashion and luxury brand space, she notes.

"While we have really come together as a global network, each office is making a mark in its respective market," explains Hovland. "We have a focus on diversifying our client portfolio beyond the few big clients, which is the right thing to do, but not a process that happens overnight."

DeVries delved into the relationship between marketers and women last year through its Shades of Otherhood study, revealing spending trends among US childless women, who are "frequently overlooked by marketers," adds Hovland, noting that they spend more on beauty and groceries.

In addition to Hovland’s arrival as CEO, the firm added Won Kim as VP, digital catalyst in New York and Kevin Foo as a VP in Singapore.

DeVries Global US president and COO Laura Pesin Eder left in January 2015 to join Edelman to run its New York consumer practice. Adrianna Bevilaqua, the firm’s MD of creative and strategic planning, left to join M Booth in early 2015. In early 2015, the firm migrated its Guangzhou, China, office to a sister agency within the IPG network.

The agency declined to give a staff turnover rate.

Faith in younger staff
DeVries puts a lot of stock in its younger staff and Hovland plans to leverage the influence of that demographic "through programs that enable them to connect their personal and professional passions at work and beyond."

A flatter structure and a more consistent title system will soon take shape at the firm, continues Hovland, which "will create opportunity for our talented leaders to step up, do new and different things, and continue to shine." 

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