LONDON, March 19—Cordiant Communications plans to combine its U.K. strategic communications firm Financial Dynamics and its U.S. investor relations agency Morgen-Walke under a single brand by the second half of the year and has named Charles Watson, chief executive of Financial Dynamics, to lead the new entity.
The move comes after the two top executives at Business Communications International, the Cordinat public relations network that included FD and Morgen-Walke, as well as International Business Information in Japan, left the company. Nick Miles and Hugh Morrison, who sold Financial Dynamics to Lighthouse—which was later acquired by Cordiant—in 2000, are currently engaged in a nasty legal battle with the U.K.-based holding company.
According to Cordiant, the proposed changes follow a strategic review of the BCI network. The company plans to unite FD, Morgen-Walke, Irish PR firm Gallagher & Kelly, and C&FD in the U.K., while IBI in Japan will continue to operate under its own name, and which “will in due course become the focal point of the next phase of the development of the network in the Asia Pacific region.”
According to Watson, “The demand from our clients for communications consultancy on an international level has increased dramatically during recent years and FD has already developed a powerful cross-border capability. When investor relations firms first sought to work internationally in the 80s, clients had not caught up with that global vision of the business. Now it’s the other way around, and client are taking the lead.”
Watson says FD and Morgen-Walke have already worked together on several projects and that a small FD team, led by former Sard Verbinnen executive Anton Nicholas, has been headquartered in the New York office of Morgen-Walke for several months.
Because Morgen-Walke is better known for ongoing investor and media relations and IPO work than for the kind of major mergers and acquisition activity that drives the Financial Dynamics business, “We are engaged in an active skill transfer program,” says Watson. “We are very confident we can extend the officering in the U.S.”
Watson says the firms plan to be “hiring aggressively” on both sides of the Atlantic.