Earlier this week WPP announced it was merging Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe to create Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW). Moving forward BCW 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. The combined agency has over 4,000 employees, across 42 countries.
Many readers could not help but wonder the timing of the merger but then today our sister publication Profectio received a press release from WPP with some pretty big news that is certainly shaking up how WPP does business.
Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP was on CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier today and said:
“It’s a step taken to try and improve the offer. If I looked at Cohn & Wolfe, for example, they had a very good year last year. Burson — a bigger business — had a tougher year. In terms of topline growth… that becomes increasingly critical, so bringing these two businesses together… will improve the prospects for the combined business. Obviously, there will be efficiencies.”
Here in Canada Burson-Marsteller operates through an affiliation with NATIONAL Public Relations [Marketplace Listing]. We have not had anything to report about Cohn & Wolfe since 2016 with this merger.
With most business mergers there are some staff layoffs due to some duplicate job functions, which means we can expect to see some turn over in the coming months, despite Martin’s comments above.