Interpublic’s R/GA moves into consultancy and NPD as it plans move from international to global

Interpublic-owned digital agency R/GA (although we’re not supposed to call it that any more according to CEO Bob Greenberg) is planning to challenge the might of management consultancies Accenture, Bain and McKinsey with a new consultancy offering which he terms ‘business transformation.’

R/GA is also creating an enlarged NPD operation. The agency has recently scored heavily with its involvement in the Nike+ FuelBand.

Business transformation will be headed by managing director Chris Stutzman who joins from media consultancy Forrester Research. NPD, or ‘product innovation’ as R/GA prefers to call it, will be headed by vice president Jeff Mancini who joins from the Omnicom-owned brand consultancy Interbrand.

Greenberg (pictured), in an interview with the New York Times, also says that the New York-based company is going to open new offices in Austin, Los Angeles, Bucharest and Sydney to add to its seven current outposts in Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, San Francisco, Singapore, Stockholm and Sao Paulo.

“I do think we’re going to need about 20 more offices,” says Greenberg, because Interpublic “has asked us to become global, as opposed to being international. We have one client who’d like us to be in Tokyo, Korea, Mumbai and Shanghai as soon as possible.”

R/GA is the star in the Interpublic firmament at the moment with one of its traditional agency networks, Draft/FCB, seemingly in a permanent state of upheaval, McCann recovering from a turbulent 2010 and Lowe & Partners, although also in recovery mode, still overly-dependent on Unilever.

Ad Age says worldwide revenue was $242m last year compared to $190m in 2010 with about 1100 employees. Which makes R/GA about the same size as indie agency LBi, currently up for sale for about $600m and slightly larger than AKQA which was bought by WPP for about $540m a couple of weeks ago.

So what should we call R/GA then? Greenberg isn’t saying although he talks of a new agency model and points out that these days “everything is digital.”

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.