FTI Consulting US: Agency Business Report 2015

FTI Consulting's strategic communications unit reported a 1.5% increase in global revenue last year to $169.6 million, whereas US revenue was flat.

Mark McCall, Americas head of strategic comms
Mark McCall, Americas head of strategic comms

Principals: Edward Reilly, global CEO; Mark McCall, Americas head of strategic comms
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Global: 104 (not all offices have a strategic comms practice); US: 10
Revenue: Global: $169.6 million; US: $64.3 million
Headcount: Global: 630; US: 196
Note: The $186.2 million 2013 revenue figure reported last year included rebillables and passthroughs. It should have been $167 million

FTI Consulting’s strategic communications unit reported a 1.5% increase in global revenue last year to $169.6 million, whereas US revenue was flat. The strongest performers were financial communications, public affairs, and government affairs.

"The public affairs practice, headed out of our offices in Brussels and Washington, DC, saw the most growth due to increased government regulations out of the EU and US that impacted clients’ businesses significantly," explains Mark McCall, Americas head of strategic communications.

A challenge has been continuing to navigate the shifting economic impacts to FTI’s business, he adds.

"The US is doing well [economically], but Asia and Latin America are slowing down," McCall says.

The significant drop in oil prices in the past year also caused a ripple effect through clients’ businesses.

"Last year we were doing more transaction business in the oil and gas market. Now we are doing more bankruptcy and restructuring business in that industry," he continues.

Account wins included Exxon and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The firm’s government affairs business in Washington, DC, started helping MasterCard navigate the EU’s regulatory environment. FTI also expanded existing accounts with Fresenius Medical Care into the Americas, and SABMiller and Yum Brands into South Africa.

Account losses include Dish Network.

MDs including Barry Brandon and Bud Cramer joined the DC office. Additional key hires included MDs Alex Deane and Sean Gannon in London and New York, respectively. Elizabeth Saunders, chairman of the Americas, senior MD, and head of capital markets left the firm in January. She has since started her own firm Commodore Intelligence Partners.

While Saunders has not yet been replaced in the chairman role, FTI MD Bryan Armstrong has taken over her responsibilities as head of capital markets.

Twenty-eight staffers at the senior MD and MD level left last year, including Edward Harnaga, who joined Pfizer as a VP; Leigh Parrish, who became an MD at Joele Frank; and Jonathan Hawker, who was named director at Slate Campaigns.

However, McCall notes that the company currently has 94 senior execs, as opposed to 93 in 2014.

 "Turnover at the top was normal," he says, adding that global turnover was between 15% and 20% in 2014, compared to 21% in 2013.

New offices
The firm opened offices last year in Austin, Texas; Copenhagen, Denmark; George Town, Cayman Islands; Mountain View, California; Mumbai, India; and Princeton, New Jersey. In April, the firm opened an office in Mexico and placed its first employee, senior director Pablo Zárate, there. The firm has no plans to open further offices this year.

"We are off to a good start in Q1 and I expect that to continue throughout the year," says McCall. "We are also going to see continued pick up in crisis, litigation, and transaction work."  

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