Wilson McHenry Closes Doors After GCI Talks End
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Wilson McHenry Closes Doors After GCI Talks End

Discussions between GCI Group and high-tech public relations firm Wilson McHenry have fallen through, leaving GCI without a general manager for its troubled San Francisco office and Wilson McHenry out of business.

Paul Holmes

SAN FRANCISCO, April 4—Discussions between GCI Group and high-tech public relations firm Wilson McHenry have fallen through, leaving GCI without a general manager for its troubled San Francisco office and Wilson McHenry out of business.
 
According to Bob Pearson, president of GCI North America, “It was never an acquisition; it was more of innovative rescue.” But discussions were terminated after partners Lerry Wilson and Julie McHenry apparently decided to simply disband their firm—which had declined in revenues from $10 million to around $4 million—and pursue other interests.
 
GCI had parted company with its San Francisco general manager, Martin Alintuck, and the leader of its technology practice, Diane Gleason, apparently in anticipation of appointing Wilson to one or both positions. Pearson said the firm expected to appoint a successor for Gleason from inside the company, and that it is “looking to make a senior hire at the general manager level” in the Bay Area.
 
“We are also pursuing more options with [parent company] Grey,” Pearson said. “Grey’s operations in the San Francisco are doing quite well.” GCI and Grey recently created an integrated model in Atlanta that could serve as a prototype for a similar move in San Francisco.
 
GCI has experienced significant difficulties in the Bay Area in recent years. It lost general manager Greg Spector to Blanc & Otus two years ago, and then lost both principals of Kamer Singer & Associates, acquired in 2000. Revenues in the Bay Area declined last year from $13 million in 2000 to around $7 million.
 
As for Wilson McHenry, its revenues declined from $10 million in 2000 to around $4 million at the time of its closure. It had about 30 staff, who were apparently let go earlier this week. Pearson said GCI might hire individual employees from the defunct firm “if they bring business with them.”
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