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Ketchum and ICON Form Strategic Partnership in Australia and Singapore

2008-08-04 09:28:00

Ketchum and ICON Form Strategic Partnership in Australia and Singapore

    NEW YORK, SYDNEY, Australia and SINGAPORE, Aug. 4 /EMWNews/ --

Ketchum, one of the world's leading public relations agencies and a unit of

Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), and ICON International Communications, a leading

independent communications consultancy in Sydney and Singapore, announced

today the signing of an exclusive affiliate agreement to form a strategic

alliance in Australia and Singapore. The partnership will enable the two

firms, which already work together on client assignments for blue-chip

brands, to provide national, regional and global support to clients.

    "ICON adds deep expertise in two key geographic markets and a

professional approach that aligns exceptionally well with Ketchum," said

Jerry Olszewski, senior partner and chief client officer, Ketchum. "Beyond

the vitally important client service that ICON provides in Australia and

Singapore, we intend to work with the firm's senior leaders to define a

Southeast Asia expansion strategy, which will mark the next phase of

Ketchum's development in the Asia Pacific region."

    "ICON's senior executives and Ketchum Greater China CEO Kenneth Chu

have worked together in various businesses for nearly 20 years," Olszewski

added. "This long relationship and their vast knowledge of the Asia Pacific

marketplace enable us to hit the ground running with a fully integrated

regional offer for clients."

    Founded in Sydney in 2000 and dubbed a "startup mega-star" in 2005 when

it was recognized as one of Australia's most successful and fastest-growing

firms by Business Review Weekly, ICON "has since grown into one of the

[region's] leading independent [strategic] communications consultancies"

according to the inaugural Holmes Report 2008 Asia Report Card. The firm

opened its Singapore office in 2005.

    "Ketchum has built a reputation for innovation and sound business

thinking that matches our own," said Phil Burfurd, chairman and chief

executive officer, ICON. "We are excited to leverage our experience in the

region to build upon this foundation."

    "The fit is perfect and the timing is right for ICON to align itself

with one of the world's leading public relations agencies," Burfurd said.

"ICON and Ketchum share similar business philosophies, company cultures and

approaches to client service. We are on the same page in relation to

harnessing the opportunities that exist in the expanding Asia Pacific

markets beyond China and Japan."

    Ketchum's and ICON's respective core businesses include a corporate

practice, with industry-best-practice crisis management and change

management offerings, and consumer (brand) marketing practices for sectors

such as aviation, technology, financial services, professional services,

packaged goods, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals.

    ICON will remain an independent, privately held company within the

agreement. The management team will include Phil Burfurd, who, having been

a journalist and senior corporate communication professional at a number of

large multinational companies for more than 40 years, will continue as

chairman and chief executive officer. ICON co-founder Chris Gray, who has

17 years experience as a journalist and senior agency leader, and John

Bailey, who has worked in more than 50 countries worldwide in a 22-year

career as a journalist and PR practitioner, will continue as managing

directors of the Sydney and Singapore operations, respectively. Working at

board and senior management level for a number of high-profile

multinational brands, ICON has developed an international reputation in

brand and corporate positioning, corporate change and organizational

management, reputation and issues management, international media

relations, public affairs, market expansion, and marketing communication.

    Ketchum's Jon Higgins, who was recently appointed senior partner,

international, will work with ICON to grow Ketchum's presence in this


    About Ketchum

    A communications innovator, Ketchum ranks among the largest global

public relations agencies, operating in more than 50 countries. With five

global practices - Brand Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Food and

Nutrition, and Technology - and specialty areas that include Concentric

Communications (experiential marketing, events and meetings), Ketchum

Entertainment Marketing, Ketchum Global Research Network, Ketchum Sports

Network, MMG (clinical trial recruitment), Stromberg Consulting (change

management and workplace communications) and The Washington Group (lobbying

and government relations), Ketchum leverages its marketing and corporate

communications expertise to build brands and reputations for clients. For

more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC),


    About ICON International Communications

    ICON International Communications is a leading independent strategic

communication consultancy with fully owned offices in Sydney and Singapore,

plus access to a partner agency network throughout Asia Pacific and beyond.

ICON designs and implements innovative consumer marketing, corporate

communication and public relations programs for companies looking to

enhance their reputation and grow their bottom line. ICON works with a

broad portfolio of local, regional and multinational clients. For further

information, visit or

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Blake Masterson

Freelance Writer, Journalist and Father of 5

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