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A giant US advisory firm led by Alan Kelly's brother has snapped up a major Irish PR agency

Teneo has ties to some of the most powerful people in the world, such as former US president Bill Clinton.

Teneo founder Declan Kelly
Teneo founder Declan Kelly
Image: John Harrison/NI Executive

TENEO HOLDINGS, A US agency that provides advice to the CEOs of some of the world’s biggest companies, has bought Irish PR firm PSG Communications.

Declan Kelly, the brother of Labour TD Alan Kelly, is the founder, chairman and CEO of Teneo, which has links to some of the world’s most powerful figures, including former US president Bill Clinton.

The US company, which has operated in Dublin since its foundation in 2011, says that it works exclusively with the leaders of major corporations to help them address “a wide range of business and reputational issues and opportunities”.

The firm has over 500 employees and 14 offices in a variety of areas including Europe, the Middle East and China.

PSG, which was founded in 2014 following a merger between Pembroke Communications and Slattery Communications, has 55 employees and advises some of Ireland’s largest companies.

New roles

The PSG senior management team, including its CEO Mick O’Keeffe and its executive chairman Padraig Slattery, will continue in their roles.

They will now report to chairman of Teneo International Charles Watson, who will join the board of PSG, and Brendan Murphy, who currently leads Teneo’s operations in Ireland will become vice chairman.

Some of Teneo’s clients have included sports stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Graeme McDowell.

NBA Finals Cavaliers Warriors Basketball Basketball star LeBron James Source: Eric Risberg/AP Photo

Irishman Kelly said that the acquisition strengthens the company’s capabilities “in Ireland and across Europe”.

“Ireland is a critical market for many multinational corporations today and a great place to invest in the current, volatile post-Brexit environment,” he said.

“The addition of PSG provides our clients with access to additional world-class expertise and capabilities.”

O’Keeffe said that PSG has “huge respect” for what Teneo has achieved and to be part of global firm will “without doubt open the next chapter of our growth and development”.

Controversy

Teno was at the centre of some controversy last year when it emerged that Huma Abedin, a long-time trusted aide to Clinton, had been consulting for four other entities, including Teneo Holdings, while working at the State Department.

The revelation that a senior Clinton advisor had been paid an undisclosed amount to consult for the firm provoked concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

DEM 2016 Clinton Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Source: Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Abedin strongly denied this, however, writing that while working for the firm, she “was not asked, nor did (she) provide, insights about the department, my work with the secretary, or any government information to which I may have had access.”

Before starting Teneo, Kelly was appointed by Hillary Clinton as US economic envoy to Northern Ireland in 2009, when she was US secretary of state, and was executive vice president of international consulting firm FTI.

Former US President Bill Clinton previously served as a paid adviser to Teneo until the end of 2011. Former UK prime minister Tony Blair was also an advisor to the company.

Earlier this year former Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll joined Teneo as a sports advisor. Teneo’s sports business is headed up by former Nike brand president Charlie Denson.

Last year private equity giant BC Partners, which has over €12 billion of assets under management, acquired a minority stake in Teneo.

Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on Fora.ie

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