WARSAW — Strategic communications group SEC Newgate has expanded into Central and Eastern Europe, opening a hub in Warsaw with MSL’s former leads in Poland, Sebastian Hejnowski and Zofia Bugajna-Kasdepke.

SEC Newgate CEE has been set up as a new agency, in which the Group has a 55% ownership with the balance held by the agency’s senior management. The agency's co-founders are Publicis Groupe veterans Hejnowski (pictured, right) and Bugajna-Kasdepke (left), along with Joanna Poniatowska (centre), former brand manager of Polish media and entertainment group TVN Grupa and Vogue Polska.

The office launches with 20 public affairs, public relations and creative specialists, and will be responsible for expanding SEC Newgate’s activities across the Czech Republic, SlovakiaHungaryRomaniaBulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, EstoniaBelarus, Ukraine and Moldova.

Hejnowski , who becomes CEO of SEC Newgate CEE, led MSL – the clear market leader in Poland – for most of the past 16 years until last April. He was also chief growth officer for Publicis Groupe in Poland for the latter two years, and also spent two years as CEO of sister agency Leo Burnett in Warsaw.

Fellow founding partner Bugajna-Kasdepke had been managing director of MSL in Poland for a decade. 

Hejnowski said: “There is room for another strong European player in the advocacy field in CEE. I am happy to support SEC Newgate group's commitment to grow in the region and become one of the European top players in corporate and public affairs.”

SEC Newgate already has a presence in Warsaw through Martis Consulting, which focuses on PA and PR in the Polish market and will continue to operate separately from the new firm.

SEC Newgate group CEO Fiorenzo Tagliabue said: “With over 110 million inhabitants and an overall GDP exceeding 1200 billion dollars this is a huge market with enormous potential. Central Eastern Europe has long standing ties to Europe's wider economy while the region's own economies are uniting to generate fast growth pace and innovation.

"I am confident SEC Newgate's flexible and agile approach shown by this initiative will be exactly what is needed to get the best out of such remarkable potential.”