WPP merges Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe

Two of WPP’s communications agencies Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe have merged to create one agency, Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).

Leading the new agency will be the New York-based current CEO of Cohn & Wolfe, Donna Imperato, while Don Baer, Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide’s chair and CEO will become the chairman of BCW.

BCW will have offerings including public affairs, corporate and crisis management, technology and research across sectors such as consumer, healthcare and technology.

The announcement of the merger comes just days after the marketing group reported a drop in revenue of 7.2% in its Australian public relations and public affairs arm, which includes agencies such as Ogilvy, Cannings Purple, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, PPR and Burson-Marsteller.

Kieran Moore, CEO WPP AUNZ PR & PA, said in a statement to Mumbrella: “B-M has been and will continue to be a major player in the Australian market particularly in the areas of public affairs, crisis and issues management and government communications campaigns.

“Cohn & Wolfe is not yet established in Australia. So, for us there is little impact on the Australian market.

“If the decision is made to bring Cohn & Wolfe capability and employees in to the Australian market it will supplement and complement Burson-Marsteller’s operations, leadership and team and will operate as Burson Cohn & Wolfe. Anything that boosts WPP’s PR and PA capability in Australia is good news for us, our companies and our clients.”

Imperato said Buson Cohn & Wolfe will offer clients digital solutions with roots in earned media.

“We are energised by the fresh offerings we will bring to both our clients and our employees.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO at WPP, said in a statement: “Our decision to merge the two agencies is driven by strong, compatible capabilities and expertise, a combined ability to deliver integrated solutions across multiple sectors and the scale to compete with the largest communications agencies in the world.

“We have a major opportunity and the right team to take this new agency to even higher levels of success. After years of strong leadership and delivering excellent results at Cohn & Wolfe, I know that Donna will ensure the success of the combined business.”


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