NEW YORK, April 26—Six years ago, having established itself as one of the elite financial communications specialists in the United Kingdom, representing 30 percent of the FTSE 100 and working for one side or the other in almost every major M&A scenario, Brunswick Group recognized the need to expand beyond its highly rewarding niche. It did so by adding new practice areas—crisis management and public affairs—and by opening new offices, including one in New York.
But for the first three or four years of its U.S. operations, Brunswick failed to make much of an impact, largely relying on work fed into New York from Europe. But a new management team—Sara Strong, a former investment banker who joined in 1999 and Tim Payne, a six-year veteran of Brunswick in London who transferred to New York last year—has Brunswick growing at a healthy pace and now the addition of Hill & Knowlton litigation communications expert Mike Buckley gives the firm a new dimension.
Buckley was a senior managing director at H&K, where he was also national director for the firm’s litigation communications asset group, most recently working on the TWA bankruptcy.
“Mike is a hugely respected communicator whose appointment gives us massive credentials in corporate America,” says Payne. “He has just handled the biggest bankruptcy of the year and his skills in litigation and corporate and financial crisis perfectly complement the team we have built here over the past few years. Mike is also a hell of a lot of fun, and that is important to us.”
Buckley’s appointment as the third partner in the New York office follows hot on the heels of several other personnel moves that make it clear Brunswick is making a more aggressive push to establish itself on this side of the Atlantic. The firm recently brought on board Lauren Teggelaar and Ellen Gonda, both veterans of Gavin Anderson & Company, in its M&A practice; and also added media relations expert Cindy Leggett-Flynn and investor relations specialist Nina Pawlak.
According to Payne, about 60 percent of the firm’s work is still international, won partially on the strength of its offices in London, Frankfurt, Paris and Brussels. It handles a wide range of activities for British Airways, for example, and last year counseled UBS throughout its acquisition of Paine Webber. Its work is split evenly between investor relations and public relations.
“Brunswick offers me the excitement of joining a leading financial critical communications firm and the chance to take my existing crisis and litigation experience and continue to grow Brunswick’s U.S. presence,” says Buckley, who will join the firm full time in August after taking time off to produce a play off Broadway. “I have met over 20 of Brunswick’s people in New York and London—they are exceedingly bright, extremely focused and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Prior to joining Hill and Knowlton in 1996, Mike worked for Edelman Public Relations, working on high-profile crisis and litigation work. His past clients have included: Clorox, General Electric, ICI, Johnson & Johnson, Mitsubishi, Norplant, and Procter & Gamble. His experience includes work in product liability; class-action lawsuits; attorney’s general, EEOC, SEC, OSHA, EPA, FDA, FTC, and other regulatory inquiry; discrimination and harassment; international trade disputes; and intellectual property rights.