Maja Pawinska Sims 04 Jun 2020 // 7:00AM GMT
LONDON — Omnicom public affairs firms Portland and Gplus have completed the merger they began in November last year, to create one 300-strong agency under the Portland brand.
The move sees the retirement of the Gplus brand, the political communications and regulatory risk consultancy that was founded in Brussels in 2000 and had 50 employees in Brussels, Paris, Berlin and London.
The new expanded Portland now has eight offices in London, Washington DC, Doha, Nairobi, Singapore, Brussels, Paris and Berlin. The three former Gplus offices in Brussels, Paris and Berlin will continue to be led by Thomas Barros-Tastets, who as senior partner for Europe will report into Steve Morris, Portland’s international chair.
Barros-Tastets said deepening the partnership “had been a longstanding ambition.” He added: “We firmly believe there is demand for a global network that can deliver boutique quality at scale. Both companies have a strong legacy in delivering on high stake issues, with seamless service across borders.”
There have been no redundancies as part of the merger, although Portland confirmed that Gplus’ other managing partner, Daniel Brinkworth, left the firm earlier this year.
The two Omnicom-owned agencies have a long history of collaboration and had already worked together on clients across healthcare, technology and media. Portland said the merger reflected a “growing appetite” among both agency’s clients for international advice and delivery across communications disciplines.
Mark Flanagan, who became chief executive of Portland in January after founder Tim Allan stepped down, said: “While the external environment might be uncertain, this partnership reflects what we know clients want today, and will continue to want in the future: a premier, integrated, international offer.
“We look forward to drawing on Gplus’s many strengths, particularly in political communications and regulatory risk, in delivering this together. I’m very pleased to officially welcome the team into the Portland fold.”
Morris – a former European Commission spokesperson and an EU adviser to former UK prime minister Tony Blair – said: “While the UK may have left the EU, the importance of European markets and regulation won’t diminish. Clients are increasingly looking for advice which can explain not just the view from London or Brussels, but the full picture. We are proud to be deepening, not reducing, our engagement in Europe.”