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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Nov. 21, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 45 (download PDF version)

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Huntsworth, the U.K. PR holding company owner of Grayling, Red, Citigate and Huntsworth Health, said it will fall short of profit expectations this year as more than £4M in scheduled Q4 projects were cancelled because of global economic uncertainty.

The hit has Huntsworth planning cutbacks.

Peter Chadlington

“On the assumption that these client cutbacks are further signs of a lasting economic downturn in our primary European markets, we have taken the decision to reduce our cost base to ensure that, within six weeks, at the start of 2012, we will have returned the group to its historic operating margins,” said chief operating officer Sally Withey.

Despite the setback, the company said third quarter like-for-like revenue increased seven percent and noted “significant,” seven-figure business wins locked up recently will become operational in Q1 of 2012.

Withey said client cuts in the U.K. and Europe are in “fast-moving” consumer goods, consumer durables, environmental and CSR programs, while U.S. clients are showing “nervousness” in the pharmaceutical industry leading to slowing spending decisions and delaying new business starts.

During Q3, Citigate reported 15.5% growth, Grayling 5.2%, Huntsworth Health 3.7% and Red 15.6%, the company said last week.

In its more detailed first-half financial report in late August, Huntsworth had 1.3% revenue growth for the first half of 2011 to £88.1M as CEO Peter Chadlington said clients are taking much longer to make spending decisions and a “subdued” IPO and M&A market hurt Citigate.


Sitrick and Company is handling the PR defense of real estate mogul and Indiana Pacers owner Herbert Simon and his wife, Bui, as they face a series of lawsuits from former household employees in Los Angeles.

The Simons won a court victory Thursday against a former nanny seeking back wages, two months after a superior court judge tossed claims made by a driver and another nanny previously employed by the couple, who claimed they were fired after becoming disabled and pregnant, respectively.

“We would not have been setting the right example for our children had we decided to simply write a check to avoid negative publicity,” Bui Simon said via Sitrick’s Tony Knight, the former Los Angeles Daily News city editor and 14-year veteran of the firm.

The couple has sued the attorney for the former staffers, Joseph Davis, for defamation via L.A. law firm Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen & Shapiro.

Simon is a co-founder of publicly traded Indianapolis-based shopping center developer Simon Property Group.


Edelman’s Zeno Group has opened a Silicon Valley outpost led by the parent firm’s San Mateo office GM Todd Irwin in a bid to “broaden the scope” of its technology work.

Zeno CEO Barby Siegel cited a “real appetite in the marketplace for a mid-size agency.”

For Zeno, which saw revenue surge 24% last year to nearly $12.5M, San Mateo is its sixth office and second on the West Coast alongside Los Angeles. Its tech roster has included Life Technologies, Webtrends, and Zinio.

Irwin brings four staffers with him from Edelman/San Mateo to Zeno, including VPs Victoria Brown, Monica Walsh, Katie Wood Znameroski and Mary Ellen Ynes.

Edelman’s U.S. technology practice head Maria Amundson is taking over the Edelman/San Mateo GM slot vacated by Irwin, who led the office since 2008 with clients like Adobe and Mozilla.

Richard Edelman, CEO of parent company Daniel

J. Edelman Inc., said the move allows each firm to “better serve a greater number of clients in a critical and rapidly expanding market.”

Edelman’s Valley operation was based in Mountain View until the 2006 acquisition of San Mateo-based A&R Partners, when the tech operations were merged into A&R’s San Mateo base.


Beirut-based Millennium Group Services, a real estate development and media combine, has hired Bridges International to enhance Lebanon’s ties with the U.S.

Millennium also seeks to foster support for Lebanon’s Future Movement political party of the country's former billionaire prime minister Saad Hariri. Future Movement played a major role in the exit of Syrian troops from Lebanon in 2005.

Hariri's coalition government collapsed in January shortly after he had an Oval Office photo-op with president Obama.

Bridges, which receives a $17M monthly retainer under the one-year pact, is to maintain contract with U.S. government official, reporters, academics and think tankers.

It is to give updates on political, economic, military and cultural developments in Lebanon.


Pat Cleary, senior VP-digital affairs in FleishmanHillard’s Washington office, takes the helm of the National Assn. of Professional Employer Organizations on Dec. 5.

He will succeed interim CEO Joe Cole, who since February headed the trade group that covers 90 percent of the $70B human resources/compensation/benefits management sector.

Prior to F-H, Cleary held PA, communications and policy posts at the National Assn. of Manufacturers. He also served as chair of the National Mediation Board, deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Labor Dept. and a member of the Congressional blue ribbon panel on Amtrak.

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