For agency-world stalwart Sudler & Hennessey, 2017 was a year of seismic change. As Sudler readied itself for the retirement of CEO Rob Rogers, it implemented company-wide structural changes and welcomed a newly acquired firm into the fold.

One of the many changes implemented over the course of 2017 was the restructuring of Sudler’s employees into two major units: on one side, a more traditional promotional division, and on the other, a science and learning division. That change was announced in 2016 and Sudler has not pivoted from the model, explains Louisa Holland, CEO, Sudler Science & Learning.

“It’s worked out really well,” Holland says. “We’ve seen good focus on both sides.” The divisions, she adds, operate independently, but still come together to work on specific projects and clients.

For the past 12 years, Sudler had been led by Rogers, who served as co-CEO in the U.S. and global CCO. Yet his retirement created an opportunity for longtime Sudler execs. In its wake, Holland and June Carnegie stepped into new leadership roles, the latter as president of Sudler Promotion.

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With Carnegie now steering the direction of the company, Sudler can refocus on its creative core, Holland notes. “June is a creative by background, so having her step into that role shows Sudler is stick-ing to its heritage of creativity.”

Last year also saw Sudler absorb the talent of digital marketing shop Viscira, which was acquired in 2016. Owing to Viscira’s San Francisco base, Holland says the firms “haven’t integrated in a physical sense, but they have integrated from a thought-process perspective,” so they are “better able to build this creative technology-ideation process that [Viscira] brings.”

While Holland declined to disclose information about Sudler’s staff size or revenue — MM&M estimates the former at 600 people, down from 650 at the end of 2016, and revenue at $100 million, down from $106 million — she noted that despite the revenue decrease, Sudler is trying to build from within via key promotions. She singles out former director of client services John Marchese, who steps into the newly created position of strategic growth lead.

Much of Sudler’s work is focused on catering to an increasingly important segment within pharma: medical affairs, which Holland says allows Sudler to get its foot in the door earlier in the drug-development process than it otherwise might.