Behind the Ruder Finn Spinoff: Family Drama

Co-CEO Peter Finn's Exit Spurred by Sibling Rivalry

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There's no spinning it. Peter Finn's decision to split from his post as co-CEO of Ruder Finn and create a separate agency under PR umbrella company Ruder Finn Group stems from a rift between Mr. Finn and his sister Kathy Bloomgarden. She now remains the sole CEO at the agency.

"The reality is my sister Kathy and I have different visions of what we want our company to be," Mr. Finn told Ad Age . "This move will make it possible for me to run a company that 's driven by my vision and for her to run a company driven by her vision."

Mr. Finn's new firm, dubbed Finn Partners, will launch later this year in New York with 160 staffers and a projected $25 million in fees in its first year of operation.

Mr. Finn's son Noah Finn will follow him to Finn Partners. Meanwhile, Ms. Bloomgarden's daughter Rachel Spielman, as well as another sister and partner Dena Merriam, will remain in their posts at Ruder Finn. (Another Finn sibling, Amy Binder, runs RF Binder.)

When Peter Finn walks out the door at Ruder, there are a few things he won't leave behind, including key staff, clients and a technology practice.

In addition to Noah Finn, a number of longtime Ruder execs are showing their allegiance to Mr. Finn by joining him at the new venture as managing partners. That group includes: Richard Funess, Gail Moaney, Ron Rogers, Howard Solomon and Alicia Young.

Several key clients will defect to Finn Partners too; they will include the Jamaica Tourist Board, the largest client in terms of billings; Liz Claiborne; Logitech; the North Face; Rosetta Stone ; StubHub; Vonage; and Hyundai CSR, among others. In Mr. Finn's estimation, Finn Partners will be taking just less than half of the $100 million firm's U.S. operations, including the West Coast business and the recently acquired Rogers Group.

Continuing the bickering, Ms. Bloomgarden estimated Ruder Finn will retain 70% of its business, servicing nine out of 10 of the firm's largest clients (pharma giant Novartis is understood to be one). She also refuted that Mr. Finn is taking the technology practice. She said that the tech business at Ruder Finn will continue to be lead by recent hire Sabrina Guttman.

"I'm really focusing on the heritage of Ruder Finn and the larger global clients we've had for many years," she said. "I do think there's room for a more regionally focused operation [like Finn Partners] that will do extremely well."

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