Finn Partners: Agency Business Report 2015

Finn Partners increased revenue 19% globally and 12.5% in the US, with half of that growth due to acquisitions.

Finn Partners chairman and CEO Peter Finn
Finn Partners chairman and CEO Peter Finn

Principals: Peter Finn, chairman & CEO; Richard Funess, president
Ownership:  Independent
Subsidiaries: Widmeyer Communications and DVL Seigenthaler
Offices: Global: 12; US: 8
Revenue: Global: $52,797,000; US: $48,418,000
Headcount: Global: 370; US: 335

Finn Partners increased revenue 19% globally and 12.5% in the US, with half of that growth due to acquisitions. The agency acquired New York-based gabbegroup’s health and education practice last fall and strengthened its London office, which opened in 2013, by purchasing Johnson King, a b-to-b technology specialist agency.

Winning new clients including Air France, Association of American Universities, Talbot Teas, and Viacom, among others, contributed to the firm’s healthy growth.

Two account losses were ExactTarget and Metalogic. Both were acquired by other companies and marketing and communications were consolidated

Digital strength brings stability
Peter Finn, chairman and CEO, says digital was a key factor in the firm’s organic growth.

"The digital practice has grown to about 45 people and we also had consistency across our senior management. They worked together and shared leads and brought real stability," says Finn. Staff turnover was almost entirely at the below-VP level and just under 10%.

In early 2015, Finn Partners broke into Nashville through the acquisition of DVL Public Relations & Advertising and Seigenthaler PR, which were merged to form DVL Seigenthaler. The combined firm has annual billings of $11 million and staff of 80.

"Nashville is one of the fastest-growing markets in the US, but the deal allowed us to become not only the largest PR firm in Nashville, but also one of the largest in the Southeast," Finn says.

He says more acquisitions are planned in the US this year, and the team is also researching opportunities in Asia-Pacific and Canada.

"Our strategy had been to build market share where we have offices, but Nashville was a departure from that. We will look for other opportunities where we can become a leader in a new market."

Top-performing offices were Washington, DC – thanks to growth in the education sector – San Francisco, and Europe, fueled by tech clients and digital and social media work. Offices in Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale were weaker performers.

New offices opened in Munich and Paris last year, as well as in Detroit, which now has 10 staff.

Cultural diversity is important to the firm. By year end, the firm wants one in four of its employees to be culturally and racially diverse, up from one-fifth last year and one-sixth in 2013.

The agency also does pro bono work with the National Urban League. Managing partner Scott Widmeyer helped establish a scholarship for journalism students at West Virginia University who are African-American and first-generation West Virginians. Staffers will provide education around digital and social media to US students.

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