FGH, which remains 50.01 per cent owned by WPP, has named Finsbury managing partner Faeth Birch (pictured) as CEO for the UK, Middle East and Asia region, with Finsbury colleague James Murgatroyd appointed regional chairman.
Mike Feldman, formerly managing partner of Glover Park Group, and Winnie Lerner, former managing partner of Finsbury New York, become regional co-CEOs for the North America region.
Meanwhile Alexander Geiser, already named as overall global CEO, will be the regional CEO for the Europe region. Geiser was previously managing partner of Hering Schuppener.
The intended merger of the three financial, corporate and public affairs firms was announced in July 2020. At that time it was revealed Finsbury founder Roland Rudd and Glover Park Group founder Carter Eskew would be global co-chairs and that WPP chief executive Mark Read would join the main board.
The merged firm is headquartered in New York but operates from 18 offices around the world and employs almost 700 consultants. From those, 150 executives have become equity owners – the ‘founder generation’ – buying a combined 49.9 per cent stake in the consultancy. Some of the equity has been put into a war chest for new senior hires.
WPP and FGH will not reveal the valuation used for the management buy-in, but combined annual billings will be about $200m, which means the firm will now rub shoulders with the other three global corporate/financial comms specialists Brunswick ($307m) Teneo (an estimated $280m) and FTI ($243m).
Birch, who has been with Finsbury for 19 years, told PRWeek the UK, Middle East and Asia region now employs 180 consultants, with the UK representing around 75 per cent of the regional revenues. Her key reports are UAE-based Simon Moyse, who is responsible for the Middle East, and Hong Kong-based Ben Richardson, responsible for Asia. The leadership team also includes Finsbury strategic comms partner Dorothy Burwell.
Birch said: “The merger of the three firms comes at a time when companies and organisations are navigating through an increasingly complex operating environment and balancing challenging social, political and economic dynamics. We can now offer fully integrated comms campaigns.”
In 2019, PRWeek estimated Finsbury’s annual UK revenues at £33m, a six per cent fall from the previous year. 2020 is likely to have seen another slight decline in revenues, although corporate and financial comms and public affairs have outperformed other segments of the PR industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
Rudd said: “This is a great moment for Finsbury Glover Hering. We’re all energised and excited by the opportunity to create a very special, owner-led firm and be an even better partner to our existing and new clients.”
FGH has been formed from the merger of London-based Finsbury, New York-based The Glover Park Group (GPG) and Germany’s Hering Schuppener, although Finsbury and Hering Schuppener have been closely aligned since 2016.
It claims it will now be able to offer a suite of services including business transformation, corporate reputation and leadership strategies, crisis and issues management, government relations and policy, digital strategy, design and creative solutions - as well as the more traditional transaction and financial comms.
FGH will operate from offices in Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Riyadh, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington D.C.