Burson-Marsteller's London arm has slashed more than ten per cent of its workforce in a bid to return the agency's troubled UK business to profitability.
Managing director Allan Biggar has made 13 senior staff across all practice areas redundant in an attempt to address the problem of 'top-heaviness' within B-M.
European chief operating officer Jeff Hunt, healthcare MD Lesley Bygrave, European head of knowledge Susan McKay and her deputy Alison Sheehan have all left with immediate effect.
Paul Gillions, in charge of the agency's flagship Unilever work, public affairs brand BKSH director Ian Lindsley and MD Stuart Pinkerton also faced the chop. Biggar will now personally handle the Unilever work, thought to be safe because of chairman Alan Watson's firm link to Unilever chairman Niall Fitzgerald.
In a memo to London staff last week, Biggar said the London leadership team had looked hard at how to ensure the right people were doing the right jobs. 'It's in the context of creating a healthy, profitable organisation that we have made these changes,' he wrote.
Angry ex-staff consider Biggar's move to be a high-risk strategy which - while designed to ensure that capacity starts to match fee income - could backfire if the loss of senior players leads to a loss of business.
The moves are part of a global B-M plan to cut the headcount by five per cent. Forty US jobs have also gone in the shake-up.