Multi-specialist with strong corporate and public affairs capabilities
With the accession of 10 new Eastern European members to the European Union in 2004, the past 12 months have seen increased focus on the spending power and political influence of “new Europe,” and no consultancy has benefited more than Mmd, which has a decade-long track record in the region and an unrivalled network of offices across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
Mmd was founded in 1985 and opened its first CEE office in Prague in 1993, followed in quick succession by offices in Hungary (1995) and Poland (1996). From the start, founder and managing director Alistair McLeish firm sought to combine best practices in international communications management, hiring leaders with experience working for multinational PR firms, with top local talent, with its understanding of each market’s social, political and media institutions. Today, 90 percent of the firm’s employees are indigenous to the countries where they work.
The leadership team includes several executives with international experience: chief operating officer Chris Dobson; Jock Mendoza-Wilson (formerly of Weber Shandwick’s Dubai office); IT expert Sconaid McGeachin; general manager of regional practice Fiona McCollum; client services director Milan Deutsch; and general managers Jan Simunek (Czech Republic), Ian Herbison (Romania and Bulgaria), Conor Pickering (Poland), and Stephen Lock (Russia). Most have experience with large western agencies, and in multiple markets within the CEE region.
Mmd is now almost certainly the largest PR network in Eastern Europe, with around 150 people. The firm’s first central European office, in Austria, was opened in 2003 through a joint venture, and McLeish himself has relocated to Switzerland to be closer to the headquarters of the western European and U.S. multinationals that make up the bulk of Mmd’s client base.
The firm has five major practice areas—corporate communications and public affairs, consumer, business-to-business, healthcare and technology—but specializes in several areas unique to the developing markets of the region: pre- and post-privatization communications and foreign direct investment, as well as handling broader corporate reputation and brand building programs, issues and crisis management, and—increasingly—corporate social responsibility initiatives. The high-value corporate and public affairs work has been growing most rapidly, particularly since many of the CEE states joined the European Union, and now accounts for 65 percent of the firm’s revenue, as media relations becomes more commoditized across the region.
New business in the past 12 months included a range of Eastern European and multinational clients: Erste Bank, Atel, Oskar, Unicredit, Tetrapak, Petroval, Gillette, Henkel, MSD, and Motorola. The firm also expanded its work for several existing clients—IBM, Visa, Intel, EasyJet, Danone, E.ON Ruhrgas, Mittal Steel, SAP, GE, and Oki—to additional markets, and continues to grow the scope of its work for Intel, still its largest client in the region..