RESTON, VA — ICF Next is shedding most of its commercial PR business, selling its commercial marketing group to an undisclosed buyer.

"In mid-July we signed definitive agreements to sell our commercial marketing group. The group's projected revenues for 2023 as part of ICF are approximately $70 million. Included in the sale were our commercial loyalty programs and integrated communications services for consumer and financial clients,” chair and CEO John Wasson said in today’s Q2 earnings report.

“This group has brought ICF tremendous capabilities that have contributed to the growth of the engagement and communications services we provide to our government and utility clients. Given our focus on key growth markets within our government and commercial energy client sets, we believe the commercial marketing group will be better positioned to thrive under its new ownership, and we are pleased to note that their senior leadership and staff have been offered positions by the acquiror," Wasson said.

The sale of the commercial marketing group is expected to be completed in this year's third quarter, with ICF seeing a small gain from the deal, Wasson said. Proceeds from the sale will exceed the purchase price of the CMY, an engineering firm ICF bought in the second quarter, and will be used for debt repayment, he said.

ICF Next will continue to offer PR and marketing services to clients in non-commercial sectors such as government and utility, Wasson said.

"We have signed an agreement that will lead to a new direction for the future of our commercial marketing and loyalty team. Our employees and clients are very excited, as this reflects the momentum we’re currently experiencing in the market and fulfills a market need," Kris Tremaine, head of the commercial marketing group, told PRovoke Media.

"We will build on the award-winning work we’re doing with some of the world’s most dynamic and recognizable brands helping them increase authentic participation with their audiences through advocacy, loyalty and engagement. And most importantly, we’vebuilt a strong, enhanced leadership team with senior veterans, including Jackie Hopkins from Edelman, Hal Riley from Inspire, as well as loyalty expert, Tom Madden who leads our loyalty business. Our plans haven’t finalized yet, but we expect to share more information in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned," she said.

The group, which included what was PR shop Olson Engage, has seen extensive turnover since the holding company ICF rolled up all its agencies into one brand, ICF Next, in early 2019.

Tremaine has led the group since 2020, following the departure of John Armstrong.

Notable departures also include Bryan Specht, the longtime Olson Engage leader who parted ways with ICF Next a year after assuming a group leadership role. He has since launched data-focused communications firm Salient Global which is supported by a leadership team made up primarily of people who also come from ICF Next — including global president and senior managing partner Tricia Ewald, who had run ICF Next’s brand engagement group.

ICF Next senior partner Jeff Olson, also an Olson Engage alumnus, departed soon after. He now runs his own consultancy after spending two years as Rite Aid’s communications head. In July, partner Jeremy Mullman left ICF Next after 13 years to lead M Booth’s media relations practice.