NEW YORK--Frank PR, one of the UK's most successful consumer PR firms, is to launch its first US office in New York at the end of this month.

The agency, which is owned by Australian holding group Enero, has hired former GolinHarris SVP Jim Dowd as US managing director.

Frank CEO and founder Graham Goodkind told the Holmes Report that there is a "bit of a gap in the US market for an agency with our type of approach."

Since launching in 2000, Frank has grown to almost £7m in fee income and has won numerous awards for its client work, becoming one of the largest specialist firms in the UK's fiercely competitive consumer PR industry. In addition to its 65 staff in London, the agency operates a smaller office in Australia.

Frank follows in the footsteps of leading UK firms such as Freud and Red Consultancy, which entered New York before eventually exiting the market. The US operations of UK shops Exposure, Splendid and Cake have met with more success, but Goodkind admitted that "a bit of humility is important."

"A lot of UK firms have launched with Brits that have gone over - I wanted someone who is an expert in the market on the ground, very well-connected in the New York scene, but also has that Frank joie de vivre," said Goodkind.

"I’m confident that our offer and approach to PR will do pretty well in America," he added. "There is no arrogance there and a lot of humility - we have to learn our way around."

Frank's US launch plans date back to 2010, but were put on hold because of financial difficulties at parent company Enero, then known as Photon.

Dowd arrives after 18 months at GolinHarris.  He previously led his own agency, The Dowd Agency, which he sold to Middleberg Communications in 2009. Prior to that he was director of publicity for NBC Universal.

 “I have always known and respected Frank from afar and felt that its creative, high energy, results-focused approach to PR would play out really well in the US market," said Dowd. "When the opportunity arose to spearhead the launch and get on board, I didn’t need any convincing. The proposition we are offering clients will be refreshing, easy to execute and will offer immediate ROI.” 

Goodkind added that Frank would be announcing new clients and hires in the coming weeks.