Public relations executive Steven Lipin launched a new firm called Gladstone Place Partners on Tuesday, as the former business journalist seeks to steal market share from more established corporate communications rivals.
The move comes six months after Mr Lipin quit Brunswick Group, the London-based global communications firm he joined 16 years from the Wall Street Journal, where he covered mergers & acquisitions.
Gladstone plans focus on a broad spectrum of PR services, ranging from advising corporate boards in crisis situations to helping global chief executives involved in a merger or under attacks from an activist investor.
“We are hitting the ground running, ready to serve clients in critical communications matters at the nexus of the corporate world, financial markets and media,” Mr Lipin said in a statement, which also outlined a series of employees and advisers joining the firm.
“The demands faced by companies today are unprecedented, stemming from a hyper-connected social media environment, increased competition for talent and capital, and pressures from regulators, critics and others.”
With access to boards and C-suite executives, top communications advisers have emerged as major fee generators in what is typically a high-margin business. It has become common for leading firms to take home multimillion dollar payments, especially when advising on blockbuster M&A transactions.
Gladstone Place will be competing in the US with several established rivals including Joele Frank, Sard Verbinnen, Finsbury and Abernathy MacGregor. Mr Lipin’s old firm Brunswick is the industry leader by size and revenues with more than 1,000 people across 24 offices globally including 300 in the US.
Mr Lipin’s decision to strike out on his own also comes as the uncertainty caused by the tumultuous early months of President Donald Trump’s administration has contributed to a slowdown in transactions.