WPP merges its Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe PR agencies

Sunil John: Asda’a CEO becomes president of BCW Middle East

Communications company holding group WPP is to merge two of its PR agencies, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe. The new firm will be called Burson Cohn & Wolfe. They are represented in the MENA region by Asda’a Burson- Marsteller and BPG Cohn & Wolfe.
Sunil John, the founder and CEO of Asda’a, will become president of BCW’s Middle East operations. Asda’a, founded in 2000, has been part of the Burson-Marsteller network since WPP acquired a majority stake in 2008.
John said: “With a population of 350 million people, some 60 per cent of whom are under the age of 30, the Middle East is a dynamic region poised for exceptional growth across all sectors and markets. The scale of the new BCW network, our focus on ever greater integration, and now our flexibility as an independent regional entity will give us a distinct advantage in pursuing exciting opportunities across the region.”
Cohn & Wolfe has been part of the BPG network since it took a minority stake in BPG PR in 2013. The brand had previously been in the region under Grey Group. Avi Bhojani, CEO of the BPG holding group, told Campaign: “The BPG Group has been one of the pre-eminent local marketing services agencies in the region since its inception in 1980, and during our 38 year history we have partnered with a number of WPP and other international entities while maintaining our operating independence.
“We are proud to have had the Cohn & Wolfe suffix to our successful PR practice in recent years. We remain both today and for the future a strong and powerful PR practice that has been operating in the region and growing since 1995, when we started due to the needs of the Dubai Shopping Festival.
“Whatever future direction WPP may choose to take with the merger of its companies, at BPG we will continue to deliver best-in-class execution and innovative integrated marketing solutions for our local, regional and international clients. Our team and regional support infrastructure remain unchanged, and we continue to have access to global best practices.
“And we would like to confirm that the BPG Group is not looking at any merger or acquisition at this stage.”