Tribal creates £10m public sector giant

The Tribal Group is aiming to create a public sector comms powerhouse, having merged its triumvirate of PR agencies and unveiled ambitious expansion plans.

Central government and CSR specialist Geronimo PR, local government troubleshooter Tribal MPC - formerly known as Marina Pirotta Communications - and healthcare and design agency Atlas Media Group have been pulled together to trade under the name Geronimo Communications from today (1 July).

Geronimo PR founder Karen Harris has been appointed as CEO of the new operation, which will have more than 100 staff and turnover of £10m. It will be positioned to offer a full comms service to local and central government bodies.

Geronimo PR's 40 staff have relocated to offices in Newman Street, London, where the merged entity will be headquartered. Atlas's 40 staff will continue to operate from their Leeds office, while Tribal MPC workers, most of whom are on secondment to public sector PR departments, will hotdesk at the Newman Street base.

'We decided on the Geronimo Communications name because Geronimo has a greater market penetration and valued reputation,' said Harris, who was bought out of the remaining nine months of her earnout period by The Tribal Group.

In addition, the group plans to acquire or set up three other divisions: an advertising agency, an events company and a research firm. The Geronimo Communications board, led by Harris, comprises MPC founder Marina Pirotta, Atlas acting MD Tim Moat, Tribal operations and finance director Andrew Jackson and former Geronimo PR deputy managing director Sarah Harris.

Karen Harris will continue to report to Tribal CEO Henry Pitman. Tribal went on a comms spending spree in 2003, buying Geronimo PR for £13m (PRWeek, 15 August 2003), and Marina Pirotta Communications for £2.75m (PRWeek, 11 June 2003). Its first comms acquisition was Atlas in September 2002 for £4m.

The Tribal Group was set up in 1999, and employs over 2,000 staff with a turnover of £229m. Last year it won an NHS contract to build and manage six specialist treatment centres.

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