Arun Sudhaman 11 Jul 2014 // 9:30AM GMT
LONDON—A number of senior executives are departing Waggener Edstrom's UK operation, including GM Cairbre Sugrue.
Sugrue is to leave in September to become an independent consultant, after two years leading Wag-Ed's UK operation. EMEA client development director Girish Balachandran, who has also spent two years with the firm, is returning to India for personal reasons.
Wag-Ed EMEA head Chris Talago will take on leadership of the London office, while also taking on Balachandran's business development duties.
Meanwhile, the firm's broadcast team, led by Nick Meir and Simon Cliffe, is leaving to launch its own standalone agency, with which Waggener-Edstrom is aiming to create a partnership.
In addition, EMEA insight and analytics head Colin Wheeler left last month, but continues to consult for Wag-Ed UK.
A Waggener Edstrom spokersperson said that the departures were the result of a "combination of the typical reasons that happen through the normal course of business as a workforce evolves."
"We are thankful for [Sugrue's] contributions to our London office and wish him well," said the spokesperson. "We hope that we might someday be able to extend the great work [Balachandran] did for us in EMEA into APAC."
The spokesperson added that the UK operation had a "strong bench in terms of leadership", pointing to its growth of 23% in 2013, including 13 new clients over the past 12 months.
Sugrue told the Holmes Report that, after several years working for other companies, "the time is right for me now to set my own business up."
Prior to joining Wag-Ed in 2012, Sugrue led Edelman's technology practice in the UK. Previously, he worked in-house at Oracle and at Weber Shandwick.
In the US, the GM of Wag-Ed’s Austin office also stepped down last month. Cheri Winterberg left the firm after more than three years to become VP of communications at local upstart Bigcommerce. Wag-Ed’s tech practice lead Kim Davis, who is based in Seattle, will run the 14-person Austin office remotely for the interim. Meanwhile, the agency has named a three-person leadership team for the office comprised of Hava Jeroslow, director of content; Mindy Nelson, VP of tech; and Keely Stephens, account director for tech.
The firm has faced other notable departures this year. In January, the Holmes Report revealed that chief client officer Claire Lematta and editor-in-chief David Patton had departed the agency.
Prior to that, Wag-Ed slashed 5% of its global workforce, in part because of a reorganisation of Microsoft’s PR spend. More recently, the agency shut down its France operation, but has seen encouraging new business from Lithium, Volvo and AVG.
According to the World PR Report, Waggener Edstrom global PR fee income saw a marginal decline of 0.7% in 2013, to $117.6.