Ruder Finn History
David Finn founds Ruder Finn (at the time known as Ruder & Finn), one of the first PR agencies, with his partner Bill Ruder. They begin the agency in a linen closet at the Lombardy hotel, only steps away from the company’s present location.
After purchasing his first
camera at age 40, David
begins his photography
career during a vacation in
Norway with his wife, Laura.
While exploring, David
stumbles upon Vigeland Park
in Oslo and begins snapping
dozens of photos of the park’s
lifesize figures by artist Gustav Vigeland.
After seeing the photos, publisher
Harry Abrams suggests he compile the shots into a book. David later returns to Oslo to take more photos and embark on what he calls “the wonderful adventure of seeing,” leading him to publish his first of more than 100 photography books: Embrace of Life: The Sculpture of Gustav Vigeland.
David and Bill work with Jay Pritzker, owner of Hyatt Hotels, to create a prestigious award for architecture, the “Pritzker Architecture Prize,” which would live on to become the most coveted award in the field, comparable only to the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes.
Ruder Finn executes the “Glad Bag-A-Thon,” the nation’s largest organized clean-up and recycling initiative largely predating other corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, in partnership with Glad Bags and Keep America Beautiful.
David Finn’s daughter, Kathy Bloomgarden, pushes Ruder Finn to new frontiers — launching the firm’s China office and healthcare practice, and kicking off a new chapter in the agency’s storied history. From there, Ruder Finn begins winning some of its largest corporate clients and expands globally — opening offices in London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and India.
David works with then
President and First Lady,
Bill and Hillary Clinton,
to bring 20th-century
sculpture to the Jacqueline
Kennedy Garden at The White House.
The most famous house in America then
hosts eight exhibitions featuring outstanding artists, photographed by David and displayed
in a book with a foreword by Hillary Clinton:
20th-Century American Sculpture in the
White House Garden.
Ruder Finn becomes the first major PR agency to launch a digital shop, Ruder Finn Interactive (RFI Studios).
David goes to Ground Zero
in the immediate days
following the tragic World
Trade Center attack,
photographing the thousands of subway stations, fences, building walls and telephone poles where people hung posters, pleas for information, messages to family members, children's drawings and commemorative signs for missing loved ones. E.L. Doctorow is so moved by the photographs that he joins David in writing a book, Lamentation: 9/11, to document the historical moment. David’s close friend, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan writes the book’s foreword.
Meanwhile, Ruder Finn also partners with the Department of Homeland Security under the George W. Bush administration to develop Ready.gov as the centerpiece of the department’s citizen-preparedness program. The website seeks to communicate the Federal Government’s official guidelines on how to prepare and respond to another potential terrorist attack.
President Kennedy hires the firm to rally public support for the 1960 nuclear test ban treaty.
David Finn writes
The Corporate Oligarch,
published by Simon and
Schuster and since
translated into over
10 languages. The book that
would ultimately lay the foundation for stakeholder capitalism – portraying corporations as the "central institution in American life” while simultaneously underscoring the importance of public service.
David Finn works with world-famous sculptor, Henry Moore, to bring 25 sculptures to New York City, in an exhibition sponsored by art collector George Ablah. It was a major outdoor installation across the five boroughs and was featured in The New York Times.
David Finn counsels the curation of the PepsiCo Donald M. Kendall outdoor sculpture garden, housing a remarkable collection of works by major twentieth century artists that further emphasizes Finn’s unique ability to bring art to the public.
David Finn becomes a member of the Academy of Arts & Sciences, a society that honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”
President Bill Clinton names David to the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory committee to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
David Finn begins working closely with the United Nations, and in particular, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with whom he would collaborate for over a decade. The two become close friends.
Entering a New Era:
David Leads Ruder Finn in Global Expansion
Ruder Finn helps Novartis launch the global introduction to a newly FDA-approved Gleevec — the first targeted therapy breakthrough on the road to a cure for cancer.
Ruder Finn undergoes restructuring, and Kathy Bloomgarden assumes the role of sole Chairman and CEO of the Ruder Finn Group. David remains Chairman Emeritus. Under Kathy’s leadership, Ruder Finn furthers momentum in building a global leadership position.
David Finn donates his photo archive to the department of image collections at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. The archive consists of more than 110,000 negatives, transparencies, and images on contact sheets and more than 35,000 corresponding large photographic prints of sculpture from the 12th-20th century.
To commemorate Citi’s 200th anniversary, Ruder Finn creates a multi-channeled global campaign to reignite Citi’s employees around the company’s purpose. Ruder Finn’s work was recognized in PRWeek’s 15th anniversary edition as one of 15 most innovative and effective campaigns over the past 15 years.
David Finn is inducted into PRWeek’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of the communications industry and the establishment of the PR profession.
2018 - Present
The agency continues the expansion of its tech, innovation and digital practices under Bloomgarden’s leadership, taking clients from now to what’s next, with new communication tools, and adding RF Experience, RF Techlab, RF Relate, RLA, and Osmosis Films to its arsenal.