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Ketchum (Worldwide)

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Ketchum is the second-largest public relations network within the Omnicom portfolio, now sitting under the umbrella of the Omnicom PR Group. The current business was formed in 2009 from the merger of the mainly US-based Ketchum, with sister network Pleon, operating in Germany and other European markets. The combined agency adopted the name Ketchum Pleon in most European markets until 2012, when it shortened to Ketchum. The Ketchum Pleon brand continued in Germany until 2016. The network now operates in 70 countries through over 100 offices and affiliates. Industry watcher PRovoke estimated fee income of $500m in 2020, ranking Ketchum as the global #5 behind sister FleishmanHillard but some way ahead of another Omnicom-owned agency Porter Novelli. In several markets in Europe and Asia, all three agencies have been merged under a single Omnicom PR Group banner. Ketchum is noted for its creative expertise: it was winner of PRovoke's Global Creative PR Agency of the Year for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, and has won PR Week's Campaign of the Year award multiple times in recent years, most recently in 2020. In 2019, PRWeek named the agency the Best Agency of the Past 20 Years for winning more awards in that period than any rival. In 2017, Barri Rafferty was appointed as CEO, becoming the first woman to lead a top five PR network. She departed in 2020 (to join Wells Fargo as head of corporate communications) and was replaced by Mike Doyle. The main agency houses several satellites, including Daggerwing, a specialist in employee and management change. The company was founded in 1923 in Pittsburgh by George Ketchum and two partners. For much of the next 60 years it was known as KM&G, until adopting the Ketchum Communications title in the mid-1980s. It was acquired by Omnicom in 1996. Pleon was created in Germany in 2003 from the merger of several European Omnicom-owned agencies, including BBDO Germany's Kohtes Klewes. It lost its lead as Germany's biggest PR agency in 2011 to Media Consulta.

Capsule checked 16th February 2021

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Mar 2017: The steady drip of consolidation throughout the global marketing services industry continues. Omnicom announced plans to merge its three global PR networks of FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli in France, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. The three separate brands will be retained, at least for the time being, along with separate client liaison teams, but senior management and back office operations will be combined and the merged unit will work from a single combined office with a unified P&L under the overall banner of Omnicom PR Group, or OPRG. Leaders put an upbeat spin on the plan. "We are now going to have critical mass in a way we haven’t before," said FleishmanHillard global CEO John Saunders. "I think for everybody it gives expanded growth opportunities as well as potential career paths in businesses that will be significant bigger than they would have been in the past."

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Apr 2016: The Holmes Report published its latest ranking of the world's leading PR agencies by fee income. Edelman easily retained the #1 position, albeit with a slightly reduced margin over second-placed Weber Shandwick, owned by Interpublic. Omnicom's FleishmanHillard and Ketchum held the #3 and #4 positions. WPP's Burson-Marsteller moved up to equal 5th alongside Publicis-owned MSLGroup. However the biggest change was a 37% increase in fee income for China's BlueFocus which jumped five places in the ranking to the #10 spot, unseating Havas PR. Among the holding companies, Omnicom slipped from first to third place by combined estimated fee income, behind Interpublic and WPP.

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