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REGIONALREPORT Triangle

Expanding his influence
 
clientuploads/Archive_Images/2013/03/Triangle-region.jpgKen Eudy has long wielded influence in Raleigh, as a television journalist, political reporter for The Charlotte Observer, executive director of the state Democratic Party in 1987-88 and head of Capital Strategies Inc., the communications agency he founded in 1994. Now called Capstrat Inc., it is one of the largest in the Southeast. But with the economy becoming more global, the Albemarle native needed a longer reach. In January, he sold Capstrat to Ketchum Inc. — part of New York-based Omnicom Group Inc. — for an undisclosed amount. It will keep its name and Eudy, 59, as CEO. The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
 
How did Capstrat get so big?
We started as a public-affairs firm. Then our clients asked, “Can you help us with our public relations?” So we hired someone. In the late 1990s, clients asked if we could strengthen their brands, so we acquired a marketing agency. Public affairs is a minority of what we do today.

How much revenue does it bring in?
I can’t go into as much detail as I used to because now we are owned by a public company. But marketing has been the real driver of our growth the last five to seven years. Though I still love the public-affairs campaigns more than anything else.

So you can’t tell me your revenue?
No. I asked for guidelines before you called. I knew you’d ask that.

Is it strange to have a boss?
As long as we continue to do the kind of job we’ve been doing, my boss will be very happy. At least I hope he will.

Did you approach them?
It was sort of a mutual thing, but we had engaged an adviser to explore our options.

Why?
Since the economy has started to recover, our clients are asking us to support them in geographies we can’t reach. There’s this one foundation that we would love to work for. They kept telling us, “Gee, we really wish you had an office in New York or Washington, D.C.” Before we even closed the deal, in December, we had a client who asked if we could support a product launch in Eastern Europe. I said absolutely. In the fall, I couldn’t have said that.

Received any negative feedback?
I have not, but I’ve been trying my best to get some. For better or worse, I think our staff and clients trust our management and me.

Are you worried that your influence will wane now that Republicans control Raleigh?
I think it’s fair to ask Republicans if they think my political affiliation is a problem. I think they’ll say, “No, he’s a capitalist.” This company started out with two people. It’s now about 125. We pay well, we contribute to our community, we haven’t accepted any incentives. I bet you could put my job record up against any Republican in the legislature.

Briefs

RALEIGHLipoScience raised nearly $45 million from an initial public offering of 45.8 million shares. It began trading on Nasdaq in late January. The company makes medical diagnostic tests, and its key product helps doctors discern signs of heart disease.

DURHAM — William Boulding was named dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He joined the faculty in 1984 and had served as interim dean since August 2011, when Blair Sheppard stepped down.

RALEIGH Elster Solutions will shutter its local plant, laying off 98 manufacturing workers by the end of the month as it relocates those jobs to Mexico. The British company, which makes utility meters, will still have about 400 workers at its North American headquarters here.

DURHAM Tryton Medical raised $24 million from private investors. It plans to use the money to win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its stents to treat bifurcation lesions.

CHAPEL HILL Southern Season will open stores in Charleston, S.C., and Richmond, Va. The gourmet food and kitchenware retailer, which was bought in 2011 by two Chapel Hill investment funds, also wants to expand to Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and other Southeastern cities.

RALEIGH CapStone Bank acquired Fuquay-Varina-based Patriot State Bank for $10.6 million. The combined bank will have $373 million in assets, $298 million in deposits and four branches.

CREEDMOOR — San Jose, Calif.-based Flextronics Americas will close its factory in Creedmoor and lay off all 157 workers by the end of the month as it moves production as part of a “strategic realignment.” The plant made DVD and video- game rental kiosks for Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Redbox.