SEC Newgate will hold a 55 per cent stake in the new venture, called SEC Newgate US, which will be based in New York and Washington. It will be chaired by SEC Newgate CEO Fiorenzo Tagliabue, with Michael Holtzman, president of Bellwether Strategies, made managing director.
The company said the move will give it "a low risk, local presence and approach the US market" with "well-established key professionals".
SEC Newgate – which formed last year from the merger of Newgate owner Porta and Italian holding company SEC – said in November that it is targeting the US in particular for acquisitions as part of its three-year strategic plan.
The firm, which has 31 offices in 15 countries, said today the US is a "key strategic market" as it "strengthens its geographic presence and ambitions to act as a global player in the communications market".
Holtzman's 20-year comms career includes leading the successful international campaign for Beijing’s bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games while he was SVP public affairs at Weber Shandwick Worldwide. He was also a top advisor to Vancouver’s winning bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
Previously, Holtzman served as a Middle East/North Africa advisor in the US State Department’s Office of Policy Planning Staff. He was also a communications advisor in the Executive Office of the President of the United States and director of public affairs at The Council on Foreign Relations.
Tagliabue said: "Despite COVID-19's impact on the global current state of affairs, we decided to pursue this fundamental step in our strategic development plan given the paramount importance of the US market. I believe SEC Newgate is dealing with this huge market with a solid approach which, while it limits our financial exposure, provides us with a solid base, a very seasoned partner, and a platform for further expansion over the coming years."
PRWeek reported in April that the company had paused new hires and was looking at a range of programmes for employers in its various markets, but did not plan to furlough staff.