When U.S. corporations decided to fight piracy in the former Soviet Union, they hired The PBN Company to work with the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights to work with governments throughout the region to create protections that meet international standards. The firm handled opinion research, training programs, legislative initiatives, and advocacy efforts. Similarly, when BP felt its investment in the Russian oil company Sidanco was threatened, the company called in PBN to handle both domestic and international media coverage.
While PBN, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., has an impressive track record in U.S. public affairs—in 2000, it worked with Tricon, parent of Pizza Hut and KFC, on a government and community relations program for the Northeastern U.S.—it is distinguished from its competitors by its knowledge and experience of eastern European markets, an expertise that dates back to the Gorbachev era. PBN has worked with clients from Chiquita Brands to Diageo in the former Soviet Union. And while the focus has always been on public affairs and crisis management, the firm also has a growing financial communications practice.
PBN has offices in Moscow, Russia; Kyiv, Ukraine; Chisinau, Moldova; and Almaty, Kazakhstan; and has a partnership with former Shandwick managing director Richard Sermon in London. This year, the firm added an office in Latvia and representatives in Estonia and Lithuania to serve the growing Baltic region. Fee income for 2000 was estimated at $4.8 million, with new business coming from the Library of Congress—a program to bring together Russian political leaders in the U.S.—as well as Mary Kay Cosmetics and United Technologies.