Editorial: Joining PR hands across the water

The dominance of the PR industry by an elite of ’supergroups’ continued apace this week with the long awaited sale of International Public Relations (IPR) - the group formerly known as Shandwick International - to US marketing group Interpublic. The pounds 104 million all-share deal confirms Interpublic’s PR empire as the second largest PR group in the world.

The dominance of the PR industry by an elite of ’supergroups’

continued apace this week with the long awaited sale of International

Public Relations (IPR) - the group formerly known as Shandwick

International - to US marketing group Interpublic. The pounds 104

million all-share deal confirms Interpublic’s PR empire as the second

largest PR group in the world.



The union has great potential. IT-driven Weber PR Worldwide,

Interpublic’s existing PR group, can turn Lord Chadlington’s vision of a

technologically-linked global operation into a reality, while IPR will

provide the global reach craved by Weber.



It remains to be seen whether the proposed relocation of IPR’s

management to New York will lead to fewer international accounts being

co-ordinated from the UK. But it would mean that the UK industry will

lose one of its few senior ambassadors. As founder of the UK’s largest

independent company Chadlington is something of an institution in his

own right. By stepping up to the new umbrella management board, he is

also making way for IPR’s transition from a first generation

personality-led consultancy to a next generation institutionalised one.

The transition is not an easy one. Companies such as Burson-Marsteller

and Hill and Knowlton, which have reinvented themselves, have succeeded

because of the longevity of their senior management.



While the consultancy world continues to cannibalise itself in a bid to

secure expertise, consultancies ready to cut the umbilical cord are in

danger of finding themselves sans successors who are sufficiently

steeped in the companies brand values to carry it forward.



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