Business News

Fostering global relations

By Business & Finance
08 October 2013
John Hume and Eoin Brophy

Bright days for bright sparks John Hume and Eoin Brophy as their international public relations firm goes from strength to strength.

Just eight years ago two men sat staring at each other across a basement room in a low rent office on Dublin’s Baggot Street. One had recently arrived from London where he had gained experience in the complex world of financial services. The other had called Brussels his home for the previous decade and had become an internationally renowned expert in European affairs. But all that counted for nothing as the two men tried to figure out how the business, which they had just set up in Dublin, was going to work.

The name over the door said Hume Brophy but nobody in Dublin knew what they did. “We looked at each other and this much we knew; we had no clients,” Eoin Brophy recalls. “Once we identified the problem, we set about correcting it,” John Hume adds. Today, there are few people in Dublin business circles who do not know what Hume Brophy does. It is the biggest independent public affairs and PR company in the city with operations in London, Paris, and Brussels.

Earlier this year, the company expanded when it opened an office in Singapore. No dark basements this time. In its first pitch in Kuala Lumpar, it beat some of the biggest names in the Asian industry for a major full-service Asian property launch.

While other major PR operations based in Dublin are effectively run by and report to mandarins in London and New York, Hume Brophy has reversed that globalisation direction. Its Dublin headquarters on Merrion Street – across the road from the Department of An Taoiseach – is the hub of a strategic and vibrant company.

Global reach

The global map of the company influence spans the world with US clients based in New York, Chicago, Boston, California, Missouri, Washington, Miami and Pennsylvania. In Europe, the reach is no less disparate with a client list starting in Ireland and the UK and spanning across the continent to France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Hungary, Russia and Azerbaijan.

And all that’s before clients from Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are taken into account. If that wasn’t enough, the company recently bolted on a new London-based life sciences practice led by a team of health professionals and offering public relations services on a pan-European basis. “We are firm believers in offering our clients the widest range of services across the widest range of  centres of power and influence and we are shamelessly expansive,” Hume explains. “We deliver a personal hands-on service that deals with statutory and regulatory issues in all the centres. We are not like some of the multinational operations that simply hands over a client from office to office.”

Hume Brophy has invested heavily in people and there are now more than 80 people employed by the company across its spectrum of operations. “People are our biggest single asset,” explains Brophy. “They are the very bedrock of the company.”

Each office boasts a highly skilled team of multi-lingual experts fully up-to-date with their briefs. In Dublin, Hume Brophy staff work with their clients to guide them through the labyrinth of  pending and current legislation and provide well thought out media campaigns.

In Brussels, the company is one of the leading players in the very competitive EU affairs market, advising companies and organisations from all over the world on how they engage with the European Union. And in London, Hume Brophy staff understand how the Houses of Parliament work and how it relates to the city’s extensive financial services business. “The financial services sector in London is the biggest in the world and we have considerable expertise in the field,” Brophy says.

On any given day, Hume Brophy consultants can be found in capital cities all over Europe meeting with clients and governments. In April this year, the company hosted a major health seminar at the House of Commons which attracted health professionals from across the UK. In the background is a team of senior consultants who have reached the highest level in their careers; finance, health, media, aviation, transport and European regulatory affairs. These can provide the fundamental expertise on which separate teams build strategy.

The Brussels office of Hume Brophy is staffed by a team of more than 30 multi-lingual experts covering a huge range of European related issues and services. A special team of regulatory and legislative experts constantly monitoring the ever shifting ground of  European legislation and regulation. “It is vital to be constantly up-to-date on everything going on at both Commission and Parliament level,” explains Hume.


In Dublin, former OECD strategist, Maria Cryan heads up a team specialising in government affairs, health and finance. “In any practice it is the mix of skills and the range of services which is important,” explains Cryan. “That mix is here and with it we are able to provide a unique range of services from finance to consumer affairs mixed with health and science.”

The Dublin team, backed by Brussels, recently staged a major scientific conference at Trinity College which drew more than 150 delegates from scientific and medical organisations throughout Europe.

The London operation headed up by Corkman, Robert Condon specialises in financial services public relations and numbers among its clients some of the biggest international names in that sector. “The vital thing for us is to continue to develop and innovate,” explains Condon. “We are very well established as a financial services provider. Health is now becoming one of the biggest issues in Europe and we feel it is important to be in that area. We have added a health team to the office under the leadership of Mary Clarke, who has more than 13 years experience in the sector.”

There is an underlying spirit of entrepreneurship at Hume Brophy driven by both John and Eoin. It is infectious and constructive, imaginative and highly strategic. It is what has driven the company from the basement flat in Baggot Street just eight years ago to the capitals of Europe and beyond.