WPP announces the merger of Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe
27 February, 2018
Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) becomes one of the world’s largest global communications agencies
— WPP (NYSE: WPP) today announced the merger of Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe to create Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), one of the world’s largest, full-service, global communications agencies with deep expertise in digital and integrated communications, across all industry sectors.
The new agency will be led by Chief Executive Officer Donna Imperato, currently CEO of Cohn & Wolfe. Don Baer, Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Chair and CEO, will become Chairman and focus on delivering high-level counsel for Burson Cohn & Wolfe clients.
Burson Cohn & Wolfe combines Cohn & Wolfe’s expertise in digitally-driven, creative content and integrated communications – across the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors – with Burson-Marsteller’s strength in public affairs, corporate and crisis management, technology and research. Burson Cohn & Wolfe will be a network of more than 4,000 employees, across 42 countries.
“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,” said WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell.
“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. I would also like to thank Don for his contribution as CEO of Burson-Marsteller over the last six years. I know he will continue his dedication to serving clients and now be able to focus entirely on high-level counsel to those clients as Chairman.”
Imperato said: “The launch of Burson Cohn & Wolfe creates a new entity in the world of communications that offers our clients unparalleled, integrated digital solutions grounded in earned media. We are energized by the fresh offerings we will bring to both our clients and our employees.”
To secure seamless post-merger integration, Imperato has formed an executive group comprising select senior leaders from both agencies. The executive group will focus on the best ways to bring the agencies together ensuring continuity and excellence in client service.
WPP is the world’s largest communications services group with billings of US$74 billion and revenues of over US$19 billion. Through its operating companies, the Group provides a comprehensive range of advertising and marketing services including advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; branding & identity; healthcare communications; digital, eCommerce and shopper marketing; and specialist communications. The company employs over 200,000 people (including associates and investments) in over 3,000 offices across 112 countries.
WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the seventh year running. WPP was also named, for the sixth consecutive year, the World’s Most Effective Holding Company in the 2017 Effie Effectiveness Index, which recognizes the effectiveness of marketing communications. In 2017 WPP was recognised by Warc 100 as the World’s Top Holding Company, for the third year in a row.
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies.
About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications agency, builds brands and corporate reputations through an uncompromising commitment to creativity. The agency’s strategic approach unearths fresh, relevant insights leading to communications solutions that deliver measurable business success. Throughout its more than 45-year history, Cohn & Wolfe’s brand marketing work and world-class digital media campaigns have attracted top brands around the world, winning awards at the Cannes Lions, the Global SABREs and the Global PRWeek Awards. Headquartered in New York, Cohn & Wolfe has been named a Best Place to Work by The Holmes Report, PRWeek and PRNews.
Kevin McCormack, WPP +1 212 632 2239, [email protected]
Parris Bowe, Burson Cohn & Wolfe +1 212 798 9594, [email protected]