Edelman today announced the proposed acquisition of South African-based communications consultancy Baird’s Renaissance, marking Edelman’s entry into Africa. The acquisition is expected to close in about one month’s time and is subject to regulatory clearance. The agency will be renamed Edelman South Africa. The award-winning firm has been an Edelman affiliate for more than 20 years. Francois Baird, founder and chairman of the agency, will be chair of Edelman Africa. Baird will report to David Brain, president and CEO of Edelman Asia Pacific Middle East and Africa (APACMEA), and be based in Washington, D.C. and Johannesburg. Baird will serve as chair for the board of Edelman South Africa and as co-chairman of Baird’s CMC, an international communications management consultancy.
“Africa is the next great growth frontier for our clients, and South Africa is the biggest economy on the continent,” said Matthew J. Harrington, global chief operating officer, Edelman. “The acquisition of Baird’s represents the culmination of a long-standing successful partnership. It will be a platform in which we can build new relationships with companies in Africa, and strengthen the way in which we support existing clients in this growing region. This acquisition provides Edelman with the capability to support clients throughout the entire continent.”
Commenting on the announcement, Baird said, “Now, we look forward to proudly taking our place in the world as Africans, able to bring Africa to the world. After 20 productive years as an Edelman affiliate, I am very proud that my team and I will now truly be part of the Edelman family. There is enormous opportunity to leverage the strength of the entire Edelman network, intellectual capital and talent to benefit this dynamic continent and to deploy our Africa expertise and network to the benefit of Edelman clients.”
Tod Donhauser, currently executive vice president and head of the technology policy group in Washington, D.C., will relocate to Johannesburg to become managing director, Edelman South Africa. He will report to Robert Holdheim, CEO, South Asia, Middle East and Africa (SAMEA). Peter Mageza, now deputy chairman of the board at Baird’s Renaissance, will become vice chairman of Edelman South Africa.
With 20 full-time staff and 10 consultants, Baird’s Renaissance has more than 20 years of experience in Africa and has delivered results in 29 of the continent’s 55 countries. The agency’s client roster spans the government, financial, telecommunications, health, tourism, energy and mining sectors.
“I am delighted that Francois and his team will soon be fully-fledged members of the Edelman family and that our clients will now receive a seamless service in South Africa and across the continent,” said Brain. “Trade, investment and even cultural flows increasingly link Africa with the Middle East and South Asia. A hub operation in South Africa, moreover, gives us a foothold from which to expand our offering across the African continent.”
Edelman South Africa, the firm’s 67th global office, will be a Level 1 Black Economic Empowerment Company. The Black Economic Empowerment program empowers previously disadvantaged groups of South Africans to become stakeholders in the economy of South Africa.
Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 67 offices and more than 4,800 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year” and its 2012 “Digital Agency of the Year.” Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and 2012 and among Glassdoor’s top ten “Best Places to Work” in 2011 and 2012. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research), Blue (advertising), BioScience Communications (medical communications), and agencies Edelman Significa (Brazil), and Pegasus (China). Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.
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May 15, 2013 Correction: An earlier version of this release stated Peter Mageza was Deputy Chairman of the board of Baird’s CMC. He was Deputy Chairman of the board of Baird’s Renaissance.