Witt O’Brien’s specialises in crisis and emergency management for both governments and corporations, worldwide. It is a market leader in maritime emergency management, supporting more than 11,000 vessels trading in US waters. Navigate is a leader in crisis and strategic communications for the global maritime sector. Based in London and Singapore, the group supports the owners and managers of more than 4,000 vessels across several asset classes. It also supports leading maritime organisations with a wide range of corporate communications services.“This acquisition broadens our support for the maritime industry at a critical time,” said Tim Whipple, chief executive officer of Witt O’Brien’s. “Ship owners and managers face an evolving range of disruptions that can put their operations and reputations at risk. These include disease pandemics, cyber-attack, hurricanes, and oil spills. We believe the best approach is to integrate outstanding emergency management with effective crisis communications. We’ve partnered with Navigate for two years, so we have a strong working relationship. While our initial focus will remain in the maritime sector, we see significant potential to grow our combined offerings in both the private and public sectors. We’re delighted to welcome the Navigate team to our family of businesses.”
Navigate’s founders Mike Elsom, Bill Lines in London and Ed Ion in Singapore will continue in leadership roles. They will report to managing director Sean Fitzgerald, a communications industry veteran who joined Witt O’Brien’s in 2019, following a career in increasingly senior positions at Ketchum, the global corporate communications agency, as well as Mattel and Levi Strauss.
Navigate’s Bill Lines added: “This initiative represents a shipping industry first: the integration of world-class crisis management with a global crisis communications and reputation management capacity, in one seamless offering. Witt O’Brien’s shares our commitment to innovation and resiliency in the maritime sector. We are hugely excited about the future and look forward to serving our clients as one team.”