Redundancies made as Welbeck shuts up shop

Shandwick is the second Top 10 agency to make a large number of redundancies in a fortnight.

Shandwick is the second Top 10 agency to make a large number of redundancies in a fortnight.

Seven staff from Shandwick Welbeck have been laid off. The most senior among them is the head of the healthcare team, Judith Atkins.

Welbeck's chief executive, Claire Davidson, is also leaving. But Shandwick London CEO, Philip Dewhurst, said she was 'leaving' rather than being made redundant. Davidson was unavailable for comment.

A further two Welbeck staff, working in the entertainment division, will be transferred to other companies in the Interpublic Group, Shandwick's parent.

The moves were part of Shandwick's gradual integration of Welbeck, which will cease to exist on 1 January, said Dewhurst. The 35 remaining Welbeck staff will become part of Shandwick's consumer, lifestyle and healthcare teams.

Chris Genasi, chief executive of Shandwick's corporate practice and former Welbeck director, assumes responsibility.

This was, in turn, part of the integration of the Weber and Shandwick brands, which is due to take place from January (PRWeek, 22 September).

Dewhurst said: 'It's part of the rationalisation process, following our merger with Weber.' He said the move would be to the advantage of clients who were shared between Shandwick and Welbeck, giving them one point of contact at the agency.

But Lutz Meyer, European CEO, said no redundancies would be made in the rest of Europe. In fact, 'we are desperately in need of high quality staff,' he said.

Meyer also said the wider European market was 'less mature' than that of the UK and therefore it was growing more quickly.

Burson-Marsteller made 13 London staff redundant last week, and slashed five per cent of its workforce worldwide (PRWeek, 8 December).

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