Bite jobs largely safe as Next Fifteen chief maps out switch from global to digital

Next Fifteen is expecting to make a small number of redundancies at Bite as it merges the Asia-Pacific and mainland Europe operations of the agency into its Text 100 network.

Next Fifteen chief executive Tim Dyson: remains in charge of Bite
Next Fifteen chief executive Tim Dyson: remains in charge of Bite

More than half of Bite's approximately 160-strong global workforce will be moving into Text 100 as a result of the strategic shift, according to Next Fifteen chief executive Tim Dyson, who said redundancies were not the motive for the change.

Dyson, who has been reviewing the future of Bite while acting as the agency's chief executive over the past year, said it had "struggled to be a global agency" and needed to carve out a different reason for existence.

In future Bite will operate in the UK and the US and Dyson plans to strengthen its focus on content, analytics and the development of technology for chief marketing officers.

"Three to five years from now it will not be unusual for CMOs to dedicate a portion of their budget to technology to solve marketing problems rather than an agency," he said.

"We’re unlikely to hire classic PR people to Bite in future," he admitted.

In Asia-Pacific, where Bite was named PRWeek's Mid-Sized Network of the Year in 2013, Bite's eight offices and around 80 staff in Asia-Pacific will be merged with Text 100's nine offices and around 300 staff.

Bite's Asia-Pacific chief David Ketchum has not resigned or been made redundant but is considering his future with the group, Dyson claimed.

Bite's offices in the US and UK, where it employs around 90 people between London and Glasgow, are not affected, unlike its Paris, Munich and Stockholm operations.

Dyson declined to comment on the situation in Germany but said that Bite France would operate as a subsidiary of Bite UK and Bite's five-strong Stockholm team would be absorbed into Text 100.

Kath Easthope, Bite's Europe chief, will stay on as UK chief with reponsibility for Bite France, Dyson added.

He said he would remain in charge of Bite for now, but it was likely that the process of recruiting a new chief would be started after about six months.

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