IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 70

International SOS | From East to West
This is the year we became the
undisputed number one in our field.
— Arnaud Vaissié
The acquisition was completed in July 1998 and is
widely recognised as one of the most significant
steps in the company’s history. The acquisition was a
perfect fit due to each company’s relative strengths
and weaknesses: International SOS Assistance, whilst
half our size, had a strong presence in the US, was
certainly better known in Europe than we were, and
had a relatively small presence in Asia. Despite our
success, AEA was not well known outside Asia and
the brand Asia Emergency Assistance rather tied it
to that territory in customers’ minds. The acquisition
provided a client base in the markets we wanted to
develop as well as an international brand; it also
brought with it a new product: Security services. In
addition, given the economic crisis in Asia expanding
westwards was the right move at the right time.
This was an enormous step and there followed the
major task of integrating offices, staff, phone lines,
IT and more. 1999 became a year of consolidation.
International SOS Assistance had three regional
offices: Philadelphia, Geneva and Singapore. Our
US outpost at that time in Seattle was moved to
Philadelphia, where it remains today; the offices
in Geneva and London became platforms for our
expanding European operations and their
Singapore office merged with ours.
Becoming the World Leader
in Our Industry
As a result of the acquisition we became the world’s
leading medical assistance company. The company
now had more than 2,000 employees, 25 Assistance
Centres, 18 international clinics, 100 remote medical
facilities across five continents, and a client base
of more than 2,500 of the world’s leading
multinational companies.
The next step was to rebrand the newly combined
company. For the first year a joint name was used:
‘AEA International SOS Assistance’, or informally
‘AEA/SOS’. Meanwhile much time was spent
deciding how best to brand the company in the
longer term. Those who had a strong affinity for
AEA were reluctant to take on the International SOS
identity, but as Pascal pointed out: “It’s a great
brand and a very large amount of money has been
spent acquiring it, so let’s use it!” And so the new
brand became the shorter ‘International SOS’.


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