Ketchum, Porter Novelli combine Brussels operations

The Omnicom shops will continue to operate using both brands in the city.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

BRUSSELS: Ketchum and Porter Novelli are integrating their operations in Brussels. 

The Omnicom Group firms will continue to use both agency brands while operating from their shared Brussels office. Integration will begin immediately, the two shops said on Wednesday in a statement. 

Ketchum Brussels MD Peter Otten will lead the combined business as MD and Luc Michiels, acting MD of Porter Novelli Brussels, will serve as financial director. 

The integrated office’s services will include influencer marketing, digital and social media, analytics, issues and crisis management, corporate and internal comms, change management and policy and advocacy on E.U. legislation and regulation, the firms said. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to combine the complementary strengths of Ketchum and Porter Novelli in the Belgian market," said Ketchum EMEA president and COO Mark Hume, in an emailed statement. "Moving forward there is no ‘us’ and ‘them;’ together we are creating one of the largest communications consultancies in Brussels, with access to the tremendous talent and resources of both agency brands."

The agencies will advise clients in healthcare, food and agriculture, chemicals and petrochemicals, CPG and consumer products, retail, technology, construction and financial services, according to the statement. 

“We firmly believe the seamless integration of our PN Brussels office with our sister agency, Ketchum, will provide greater opportunity for both in the marketplace, including additional opportunities for our talent while also allowing our clients to thrive with the support of a more robust team,” said PN CEO David Bentley, via email.

Both firms are part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, formed in early 2016, alongside shops including Marina Maher Communications, FleishmanHillard, Portland, Cone and Mercury. 

Former OPRG CEO Karen van Bergen moved into the role of dean of Omnicom University, the holding company’s management development program, at the start of this year, reporting to Omnicom CEO John Wren. John Doolittle, president of Omnicom’s DAS Group of Companies, has replaced her on a temporary basis as it searches for an external replacement. 

Omnicom’s PR revenue increased by 0.2% organically in Q1 to $331.6 million. 

Ketchum’s revenue was down 1% globally last year to $512 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report, while Porter’s revenue was up 1% to $150.5 million

This story was updated on June 17 with comments from Bentley and Hume. 

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