LONDON—PR21, the Edelman subsidiary, is suspending operations in London and says it will focus on growing its operations in the U.S. PR21 president and chief executive Jerry Epstein says the firm will re-enter the European market “when conditions allow.”
According to Epstein, “Our growth has been centered in the United States. Worse than not keeping pace, the London operation has diminished to the point where there is no other real option.”
The London office was acquired in 2000 when Edelman bought several overseas offices of Rowland Worldwide, and served what Epstein described as “a prestige list of blue chip clients.” It was intended to serve as the headquarters of PR21’s European network.
“Unfortunately, over the course of the last couple of years, the management team was unable to even sustain what was a thriving operation,” said Epstein. After the loss of some high-profile clients including Speedo and Conduit, the firm restructured last year. Chief executive Beverly Kaye resigned, and directors Jonathan Hopkins and Neil Honor accepted voluntary redundancy. For the past six months, the six-person office has been led by director Kevin Redfern.
Epstein, meanwhile, remains upbeat about the firm’s prospects in the U.S., pointing out that in the past 12 months it has opened an office in Los Angeles, rebuilt its San Francisco office, and added to its Chicago-based research capabilities. All practice areas grew by double digits last year, Epstein says, and PR21 has won more than $5 million in new business in the past 12 months, including work from Kia Motors, Anheuser Busch, Canon, United Airlines and Nestle USA.
“We have spent considerable time and resources to establish the PR21 U.S. operation into one of the premier independent marketing communication and corporate firms in the country,” he says. “As a result our growth in the U.S. in the past year has exceeded our expectations.”