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WPP consolidates again, merges Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe

WPP’s Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe are merging to create Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW). According to a release from WPP, the agency has been touted to have “deep expertise in digital and integrated communications, across all industry sectors.”

Burson Cohn & Wolfe combines Cohn & Wolfe’s expertise in digitally-driven, creative content and integrated communications – across the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors – with Burson-Marsteller’s strength in public affairs, corporate and crisis management, technology and research. Burson Cohn & Wolfe will be a network of more than 4,000 employees, across 42 countries.

The new agency 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 and focus on delivering high-level counsel for Burson Cohn & Wolfe clients.

WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell said,  “Our decision to merge the two agencies is driven by strong, compatible capabilities and expertise, a combined ability to deliver integrated solutions across multiple sectors and the scale to compete with the largest communications agencies in the world.”

He added: “We have a major opportunity and the right team to take this new agency to even higher levels of success. After years of strong leadership and delivering excellent results at Cohn & Wolfe, I know that Imperato will ensure the success of the combined business. I would also like to thank Don for his contribution as CEO of Burson-Marsteller over the last six years. I know he will continue his dedication to serving clients and now be able to focus entirely on high-level counsel to those clients as chairman.”

To secure seamless post-merger integration, Imperato has formed an executive group comprising select senior leaders from both agencies. The executive group will focus on the best ways to bring the agencies together ensuring continuity and excellence in client service.

Imperato said: “The launch of Burson Cohn & Wolfe creates a new entity in the world of communications that offers our clients unparalleled, integrated digital solutions grounded in earned media. We are energised by the fresh offerings we will bring to both our clients and our employees.”

Marketing has reached out for more comments.

In recent years,  WPP has consolidates several of its agencies. Media agencies MEC and Maxus were merged globally to create Wavemaker just last year and it also launched a new global brand agency named Superunion, following the integration of five of its brand consultancies – Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT.


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