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Russo and Euro RSCG split

Healthcare communications agency Noonan Russo has formally split from Havas' Euro RSCG Life PR after about six years operating under the same umbrella

Healthcare communications agency Noonan Russo has formally split from Havas' Euro RSCG Life PR after about six years operating under the same umbrella.


Noonan Russo's assets have been purchased by former CEO Anthony J Russo and members of the division's management team. The company has been renamed Russo Partners and will operate as an independent agency.


"It's a bittersweet departure because we've all worked very well together and had many good years together, but I think it's in the best interest of what is now Russo Partners," Russo told PMLive.


Euro RSCG Life offers communications and marketing services to a number of big pharma clients, while Noonan Russo had a distinct focus on smaller start-up and mid-sized companies in the biotech, specialty pharma, healthcare services and medtech arenas.


About a year ago, in recognition of the difference in focus, Euro RSCG Life and Noonan Russo were split into separate divisions within the same company. "But once we divided up the company, it was not helping grow the business, and so I think everybody realised that it made sense for a more formal breakup to happen," Russo explained.


He said casual conversations about a management purchase of Noonan Russo began shortly after the 2006 divide, with formal negotiations beginning in September.


Because the two divisions did not share accounts or staff, the transition is expected to be a smooth one, and clients' accounts will not be impacted, Russo said. 


However, he noted that he expects the agencyís new independence to change its culture, making it more nimble and entrepreneurial. "If we want to change the infrastructure of the organisation, it will be a lot easier now that we're not part of a much larger organisation," he said. "There will be more latitude to make quicker changes."

Most importantly, operating independently will give Russo Partners "the opportunity to go after the kind of business we want to go after without being subject to the focus of a large organisation," he added.

Russo Partners is headed up by Russo, who will serve as chairman and CEO, as well as David Schull, managing director, and Brad Prunty, senior vice-president.

Russo founded Noonan Russo in 1988 and joined Havas when the communications group purchased the agency in the summer of 2001. Earlier, he served as vice-president and manager of corporate communications of the Science and Healthcare Division of the New York City-based PR firm Cameron Associates.

Before joining Euro RSCG Life PR and Noonan Russo, Schull was senior vice-president of Thorp & Company, a Florida-based PR firm with a focus on healthcare and technology. Prunty has most recently been working as a private consultant, but earlier served as COO and managing director for Noonan Russo.

Russo Partners will provide clients with corporate communications, investor relations, marketing communications, and all related implementation activities.

The agency will continue to share office space with Euro RSCG Life PR in New York City through the end of 2007. Russo noted that even after Russo Partners moves to its own space, the agency will have a relationship with Euro RSCG Life, working together on an ad hoc basis as opportunities arise.

9th May 2007


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