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Roth Expands Footprint

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NEW YORK Roth Associates, in a bid to expand its agency search and client-agency relationship business domestically and abroad, has opened an office in the Los Angeles area and struck a joint venture with London-based consultancy The Observatory.

The 50-50 venture, Roth Observatory International, will pursue searches that are global or encompass both Europe and North America. Roth Observatory also will offer client-agency consulting services, such as in the area of compensation. The two consultancies, however, will continue to operate separately in their respective markets as well.

"It's a global economy and it's a global communications world, particularly as the Internet takes over," said Richard Roth, founder of Roth Associates in New York, which opened in 1987 and whose global clients have included Gillette and Shell. "Being able to manage that is difficult [for marketers]. It's all one."

Stuart Pocock, co-managing partner of The Observatory, said the partnership with Roth would provide a "soul mate. Also, a more robust platform and a real desire to grow that business in a global arena."

The two consultancies plan to share databases, processes and procedures. "We're trying to build a business here," said Pocock. It's "not just 'follow the money.'"

At the same time, Roth has opened a new office in Santa Monica, Calif., that will be run by Casey Burnett. Burnett, a Roth staffer since 2004, has moved West to assume the role of director of West Coast operations. "It is a market where there are major marketers and proximity can't hurt," said Roth.

Before Roth, Burnett was a senior representative for governmental affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers' Association in Washington, D.C.

The Observatory, which opened in November, was co-founded by Pocock and Lucinda Peniston-Baines, former colleagues at Agency Assessments International in London, which Roth previously partnered with on global reviews such as Jaguar's in 2005.

One of The Observatory's first major reviews was for pan-European creative duties on Numico baby food that the London office of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett won last month. Burnett bested three other finalists: WPP Group's JWT in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Havas' Euro RSCG in London and Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi in London.