Porter Novelli is the smallest of the three main international public relations networks within the portfolio of marketing group Omnicom. Industry watcher The Holmes Report estimated fee income of $110m in 2019, putting the agency just inside the top 25 worldwide, but some way behind its Omnicom stablemates FleishmanHillard and Ketchum. In several European markets including France, Italy and Spain, the local office of Porter Novelli was merged with Ketchum and FleishmanHillard to operate as a single business under the Omnicom PR Group brand. The agency provides a broad range of PR communications services across five main practices, but it is perhaps strongest in three key sectors of brand marketing, technology and healthcare. It also has a long-established reputation for public affairs work. There are now 90 offices in 60 countries worldwide, including affiliates. A string of account losses in the 2000s and early 2010s led to a complete overhaul of the management team in 2012 under new CEO Karen van Bergen. She restored the agency's equilbrium before moving up in 2016 to head Omnicom Public Relations Group, overseeing all the parent company's PR networks. Brad MacAfee replaced her as CEO of Porter Novelli, but he too departed at the end of 2019. His successor was eventually confirmed as David Bentley, previously VP digital at consultancy McKinsey & Co. The Porter Novelli brand was first established in 1972 in Washington, DC, by Jack Porter and Bill Novelli with the aim of using commercial PR tactics to address social issues on behalf of non-profit organizations. It was acquired in 1981 by ad agency Needham Harper & Steers, which was itself later was absorbed into the Omnicom portfolio as a result of Needham's merger with DDB and BBDO. It subsequently absorbed the PR arm of another Omnicom agency, Doremus, and added an extensive presence in Europe in the 1990s through a merger with UK-based Countrywide Communications.
Capsule checked 24th October 2018
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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."
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