Rubin Leaving Weber Shandwick
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Rubin Leaving Weber Shandwick

Bruce Rubin is leaving Weber Shandwick Worldwide to open his own public relations firm specializing in crisis and litigation communications.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, October 25—Bruce Rubin’s firm was one of the first acquired by Larry Weber after The Weber Group became part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and so Rubin has seen some changes in the past four years. First Weber was merged with Shandwick International, and more recently Weber Shandwick was merged with BSMG Worldwide.
 
Rubin survived the first merger, establishing himself as one of only a handful of executives in the Weber Shandwick organization with senior management and crisis counseling experience, but he won’t survive the second. He is leaving the agency to open his own public relations firm specializing in crisis and litigation communications.
 
“It will be me and maybe one other person,” Rubin says of his new firm. “You can’t throw junior people at that kind of business.”
 
Rubin’s crisis experience dates back to his time at Rubin Barney & Birger, and includes work on tobacco litigation—representing all three big tobacco companies. He also won multiple national awards for his role in the crisis management that followed an earnings surprise at Sybase, which fell victim to accounting fraud in one of its overseas subsidiaries.
 
“My whole career has been about client service, not agency management, and I found myself doing more agency management in recent years,” he says. “The stuff I get particularly excited about is triage, it’s the first 72 hours after a crisis strikes. That’s where I believe I can add the most value. And that’s the kind of work you can do just as easily on your own as you can in the context of a big agency.”
 
Rubin Barney & Birger, the largest independent PR firm in Miami, was sold to IPG in 1997. At the time it had close to 50 employees and fees of around $3.5 million. Today, as the Miami office of Weber Shandwick Worldwide, it has about 20 employees, and is managed by Rubin’s former partner, Christine Barney. Rubin, meanwhile, was serving as executive vice president, spending time in New York and Miami, and also was CEO of Latin America for the company.
 
Rubin will continue to be “of counsel” to Weber Shandwick for the next six months.
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