Ketchum Ltd

Ketchum and Pleon to Merge, Creating Global Communications Powerhouse

London (ots/PRNewswire) - In an agreement that marks one of the largest mergers ever in the public relations industry, Ketchum, a leading global public relations firm, and Pleon, Europe's largest strategic communications consultancy, have announced today they will combine operations. The merger creates one of the largest, most geographically diverse communications consultancies in the world, and by far the largest communications consultancy in Europe, augmenting Pleon's position as the established European market leader. The combined consultancy has more than 2,000 employees in owned operations and will now operate in 66 countries with 103 owned and affiliated offices worldwide. Building on the strong business performance of both firms, Ketchum and Pleon are committed to creating a best-in-class consultancy, bringing together high-caliber talent and a range of clients representing many of the world's top brands and corporations. On a worldwide basis, this merger will combine Ketchum's strong global management capabilities, collaborative culture and reputation for creativity with Pleon's entrepreneurial style and expertise in strategic business communications. Both firms have been widely recognized for delivering effective and often award-winning work on behalf of their clients. As a result, both firms typically rank at or near the top of client loyalty assessments. Ketchum and Pleon also have both created work environments often recognized among the best places to work in the industry. "Today, organizations everywhere around the world value the competitive advantage that well-executed public relations and communications programs can deliver," explained Raymond L. Kotcher, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum. "Clients are looking to their agencies for service that is effective and efficient at the local and regional level and consistent and seamlessly integrated globally - across time zones, geographies and cultures. In today's highly complex environment, clients also are looking for expert counsel and innovative communication solutions to help them meet their challenges and seize opportunities. By combining operations, we create a platform that ensures we will continue to deliver demonstrable value for our clients everywhere they do business and well into the future." Each firm brings considerable and distinctive strengths to the merger: - Established in 1923, Ketchum has long been considered a leader in building brands and corporate reputations. Ketchum also is known for the professional development of its staff and has been widely recognized for its culture of collaboration and its creativity. This is best exemplified in the award-winning work the agency does for its clients. For example, with 112, Ketchum has won more Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvils than any agency in history. Silver Anvils are one of the industry's highest honors. - Since its beginning as Kohtes & Klewes in 1988 and now as Pleon Europe, the consultancy has been recognized for its corporate communications expertise, incorporating a deep understanding of business, political and social environments into client solutions. Pleon has been a strong and reliable business with solid growth, and was recently named "European Consultancy of the Year" by The Holmes Group. "Our combined expertise brings a wide-ranging, deep arsenal of talent to our European offer and at the same time provides EU-based multinational clients one of the strongest worldwide networks in the industry," said Timo Sieg, senior partner and CEO of Europe, Ketchum Pleon. "Together we will transform our businesses and build a unified communications consultancy, with a culture that will maximize our collective success." The firm will operate as Ketchum globally and as Ketchum Pleon in the U.K. and across continental Europe. Raymond L. Kotcher, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum, will retain leadership of the organization and Timo Sieg, who most recently served as chairman and CEO of Pleon, will be the company's CEO of Europe. David Gallagher is appointed president of Europe and continues as a senior partner of the firm and as CEO, London. Mark Hume serves as the chief financial officer for the region. Management teams at both firms are committed to achieving a seamless integration beginning immediately, with full integration completed by year end. Jon Higgins, who also is a senior partner of Ketchum with responsibility for its international operations, now adds the title of CEO and becomes senior partner and CEO, international. Along with Joachim Klewes, a senior partner with Pleon in Germany, Higgins will co-lead the global merger integration team. Higgins also will have management responsibility for the firm's newly combined operations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Sieg joins Ketchum's global Executive Committee, which in addition to Kotcher, Higgins, and Gallagher includes Dale Bornstein, senior partner, global practices; Rob Flaherty, senior partner and president; Rob Lorfink, senior partner, COO and CFO; Jerry Olszewski, senior partner and chief client officer; Barri Rafferty, senior partner and director, New York; and Lorraine Thelian, senior partner, North America. Global headquarters will be maintained in New York. The European headquarters will be located in Dusseldorf, Germany. About Ketchum A communications innovator, Ketchum ranks among the largest global public relations agencies, operating in more than 50 countries. With five global practices - Brand Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Food & Nutrition, and Technology - and specialty capabilities that include Access Communications (high- and consumer-tech PR), Concentric Communications (experiential marketing, events and meetings), MMG (clinical trial recruitment), Ketchum Global Research Network, Ketchum Sports and Entertainment Marketing, and Stromberg Consulting (change management and workplace communications), Ketchum leverages its marketing and corporate communication expertise to build brands and reputations for clients. In 2009, Advertising Age named Ketchum to its annual "Ones to Watch" Agency A-List, noting the agency's long-standing client partnerships, digital and disruptive media expertise, and CSR and sustainability programming. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC), visit http://www.ketchum.com. About Pleon Pleon is Europe's leading communications consultancy. It offers global reach with local experience, combining business understanding, political insight and creative thinking to devise and implement communication strategies that deliver tangible results to its clients. Pleon has 33 branded offices across Europe, Middle East and Africa. More than 25 percent of its clients are serviced in more than one country and up to 100 clients are listed among the Euro Stoxx top 300. Pleon was recently named "European Consultancy of the Year" by The Holmes Group. For more information, visit http://www.pleon.com. Contacts: Ketchum: Robyn Massey +44-(0)20-7611-3658 robyn.massey@ketchum.com Alicia Stetzer +1-646-935-3910 alicia.stetzer@ketchum.com Pleon: Dirk Popp +49-351-84-30-414 dirk.popp@pleon.com For more information about the merger, please visit http://www.ketchumpleonmerge.com. ots Originaltext: Ketchum Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch Contact: Contacts: Ketchum: Robyn Massey, +44-(0)20-7611-3658, robyn.massey@ketchum.com. Alicia Stetzer, +1-646-935-3910, alicia.stetzer@ketchum.com. Pleon: Dirk Popp, +49-351-84-30-414, dirk.popp@pleon.com

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