Ketchum to streamline agency operations, move to one P&L

NEW YORK: Ketchum, the world’s fifth-largest PR agency by revenue, is planning to move to a structure with one P&L in the coming months.

The firm is also planning to drop practices in favor of a focus on industry sectors, according to a message to agency executives seen by sources.

The Omnicom Group firm declined to comment on the specifics of the message. However, Ketchum CEO Barri Rafferty said in an emailed statement that the agency is undergoing changes.

“I am excited to confirm that we are evolving the agency,” Rafferty said. “Our talent is getting excited and we believe the changes will be extremely valuable to our clients. We can’t wait to share the full story with you soon.”

The move comes less than five months into Rafferty’s tenure in the agency’s top job, which she assumed from now-chairman Rob Flaherty at the start of the year. It also comes after a flat first quarter for the Omnicom Public Relations Group, of which Ketchum is a part, and a tough 2017 for the PR industry in general.

Ketchum saw a revenue decline of 4% last year, according to PRWeek’s 2018 Agency Business Report, to $517 million.

Several other agencies have simplified their structures in the 16 months. Last August, several executives left Hill+Knowlton Strategies as the firm shifted its operations under one P&L. Fellow WPP agency Ogilvy also adopted a single P&L for its U.S. operations across marketing services early last year.


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