UPDATE: Porter Novelli lays off 5% of US staff

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has laid off about 5% of its US staff, according to CEO Gary Stockman. PRWeek had previously reported on the firm's staff reductions since the beginning of the year, but the agency has now provided more details.

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has laid off about 5% of its US staff, according to CEO Gary Stockman. PRWeek had previously reported on the firm's staff reductions since the beginning of the year, but the agency has now provided more details.

The layoffs affected several offices, but the biggest cut was 15% of the agency's Washington, DC, office. Layoffs were also made in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, but at a smaller percentage.

The economy is the culprit, noted Marian Salzman, CMO for Porter Novelli.

Stockman confirmed that the agency's San Francisco office laid off four people, including EVP Bob Wynne. Before the cuts, the office staffed about 37 people, Wynne said. He joined the agency last year after leaving the communications department at Oracle. Kevin Winston and Margaret Mathis will now head the Bay Area operations. Brad MacAfee, the agency's head of U.S. technology council, will offer executive leadership for the Bay Area team.

“We are committed to building a viable, healthy and market-defining presence in the Bay Area and are taking steps to position our operation for growth as the economy recovers,” Stockman said in an e-mailed statement.

The layoffs in the Los Angeles office only impacted PN's FischerHealth division. Offices like Austin, TX, and Atlanta were not affected because they are doing well, according to Salzman. Layoffs also varied by practice.

“We're hiring in digital,” she said. “But more traditional areas are suffering.”

Stockman added that the cuts were not part of a mandate from parent company Omnicom Group. Earlier this year, fellow Omnicom PR agencies Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard also conducted layoffs.

“Like other agencies, we have been assessing our staffing levels in various offices and working to bring them into line with our current level of business,” said Stockman.

Updated March 25, 2009, 12:09pm

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