Arun Sudhaman 14 Nov 2012 // 12:00AM GMT
MOSCOW--Russia has renewed its global communications mandate with Ketchum, after a review that attracted the interest of several major global PR networks.
A Ketchum spokesperson told the Holmes Report that the contract has been extended for one more year, although it remains unclear whether the firm will continue to service the business beyond that point.
In September, the Holmes Report revealed that the Kremlin was locked in negotiations with Ketchum, following the expiry of the multimillion dollar contract in May of this year.
Ketchum secured the lucrative account in 2006, and has since worked to build a better international reputation for Russia. The firm leads an international consortium that includes sister Omnicom agency Gplus in Brussels, and Portland Communications in London, reporting to Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov in Moscow.
Russian media earlier reported that an agency auction for the business was set to take place, piquing the interest of several international firms. However, it is not thought that a formal brief was issued.
A Ketchum spokesperson said the firm was “thrilled” with the outcome. The one-year extension, she noted, is “consistent with how it has been in the past.”
“We understand that work will be continue and we will be a part of it,” added a representative from Portland Communications.
Sources earlier informed the Holmes Report that the Russian government has been reorganizing its communications approach since Putin returned to government earlier this year. This effort, said the source, has included the creation of new communications units and positions under Peskov.
In addition, it is thought that Ketchum’s remit is shifting in terms of its area of focus, towards a greater emphasis on Russia’s economic development and its positioning as an investment destination.
Last month the country called in another PR firm, Hudson Sandler, to help improve an international investment image that pales in comparison to other countries. Writing in the Holmes Report earlier this week, VTB Capital head of marketing and communications Olga Podoinitsyna called the issue “a significant communications challenge.”