Paul Holmes 23 May 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
NEW YORK—Peter Finn, co-chief executive of Ruder Finn, is launching Finn Partners, a separate firm that will operate as part of the Ruder Finn Group. The new firm will have a staff of around 160 spread across five US offices, and fee income of around $25 million, serving clients including the Jamaican Tourist Board, IEEE, Liz Claiborne, Logitech, The North Face, Rosetta Stone, StubHub, Vonage, Whitney Museum of American Art, and a recently-added corporate responsibility assignment for Korean automaker Hyundai.
The Ruder Finn Group now consists of three firms, each led by a different sibling from the Finn family: Finn Partners; RF|Binder, led by Amy Binder; and Ruder Finn, under the leadership of Kathy Bloomgarden. Finn will continue to serve in his role as co-CEO of Ruder Finn, until Finn Partners officially launches as a separate company later this year.
According to Finn: “Over the past half-decade there has been a lot of discussion about the value of independence. The leader of an independent agency can follow his own vision and create the kind of culture he believes in. I have a very particular point of view about the kind of business I want to lead and this move gives me the opportunity to create a business based on that vision. It’s a return to the ethos of an independent firm that has always been important to us.”
One area of emphasis will be creating a workplace environment that ranks among the best in the industry, says Finn, who adds that the new firm will be run on a “true partnership” model. There will be six senior partners—Richard Funess, who was president of Ruder Finn Americas; Howard Solomon, who leads the firm’s west coast operations; Alicia Young, head of the Ruder Finn technology practice in New York; Gail Moaney, who heads the firm’s travel and tourism business; and Noah Finn, who will lead the digital practice—“but every member of staff will be a partner.”
The firm will be particularly strong in the technology arena, but will have capabilities spanning all of Ruder Finn’s practice areas, including digital and social media, consumer, travel and economic development, global issues, the arts, and public and corporate affairs. It will have offices in New York (home to slightly more than half of its 160 employees); Chicago; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles and San Francisco (where the recent acquisition of Rogers Group gives it about 60 people in the two California offices).
The firm will also have an office in Israel, and will continue to have access to the Ruder Finn Group’s international operations, which include offices in London and Paris and an extensive network in the Asia-Pacific region.
Asked whether the firm could compete effectively against top-tier agencies without the critical mass it had before the split, Finn says: “We are never going to be the biggest, but we will be focused on doing great work for great clients. We will continue to have access to global resources, which is important, but more important is that both companies can prosper better by focusing on a vision to which they are truly committed.”