Michael Roth
Michael Roth

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth reported a $45.6M net loss for the second quarter as revenues plunged 19.6 percent due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It had earned $169.5M a year ago.

He said IPG initiated a "program of structural operating cost reduction to lower our expense base and raise our margin opportunities," while furthering development of its "most contemporary disciplines" including media, data, technology and healthcare marketing offerings.

IPG "remains business positive year-to-date, and our pipelines of business opportunities is solid," according to Roth.

The constituency management group, which includes Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton, Octagon, Current Global, DeVries Global, Golin, Rogers & Cowan PMK and FutureBrand, posted a 17.6 percent decline in Q2 revenues to $267.7M. It was down 15.6 percent on an organic basis.

For the first half, revenues slipped 7.7 percent to $575.3M and 6.4 percent organically.

Andy Polansky, who heads the CMG, told O'Dwyer's PR units registered an organic revenue decline in the high-single-digit range during the quarter. That result compares to low-single-digit growth a year ago.

On a reported basis, the Q2 PR decline was in the low double-digit range.

For the first six months of 2020, the CMG PR firms are down in the low-single-digit range on both as reported and organic basis.

Healthcare is a bright spot across the PR group's portfolio, according to Polansky. "Our specialty firms, most particularly ReviveHealth, continue to have standout performance. CPG, food and beverage, financial services and tech budgets have held up fairly well," he said.

Polansky said there's been more collaboration across the CMG teams, which is leading to more business opportunities and client solutions.

"Our new business pipeline is better than this time last year, though we still see a very uncertain environment given the global pandemic," he said.

Looking ahead, Roth said, "visibility will remain unclear for as long as COVID is disrupting everyday life and macroeconomic conditions."

While Roth promised that IPG will be disciplined in managing its business, aligning expenses to any changes in revenues, he looks forward "to returning to our strong trajectory of organic revenue and profit growth as a recovery takes hold."