WPP to launch Cuba office as part of Latin America expansion

WPP is about to set up a shop in Cuba, in an unprecedented move amid improving relations between the island nation and the US.

Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's chief executive
Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's chief executive

Under a contract with the Cuban state-owned Palco Group, the world’s biggest advertising network now has a permanent executive based in Havana who will be backed by a local support team.

Since February, WPP had contacted a number of Cuban agencies and businesses. It will set up an office in the Miramar neighbourhood near Havana’s business centres.

The move follows the ending of US trade sanctions on Cuba after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro agreed to open economic and travel ties.

The trade embargo was put in place in 1960 and was extended at almost all imports in 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

WPP’s foray into Cuba marks the latest stage in the network’s Latin America expansion plan, where it said it generates revenues of £1 billion ($1.6 billion) and employs 20,000 people.

In a statement, the company said: "WPP is working to provide its international clients with strategic counsel on the institutional and economic environment in Cuba, as well as advice and guidance in planning for eventual Cuba market entry and brand visibility on the island nation.

"In these areas WPP is to deliver its services in collaboration with front-rank local companies, also to promote foreign projection of the products and services generated from Cuba."

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