NEW YORK: The bloodletting continued last week with four major
agencies and a handful of smaller shops making job cuts - most
highlighting the continuing decline of the tech market and the
aftershock from the events of September 11.
Hill & Knowlton made cuts in its hi-tech arm, Blanc & Otus. The 12
staffers cut from Boston, San Francisco, and New York leaves the
division with 90 employees scattered between the three offices. Greg
Spector, president and CEO of the firm, said five employees in San
Francisco and two on the East Coast are working four-day weeks to
prevent further layoffs.
Brodeur Worldwide, which helped build its tech reputation with 13 years
of service to client IBM, was forced to lay off nine employees from the
Stamford, CT, and Boston offices in further fallout from IBM's $50 million PR reshuffle.
"It's balancing staff and client demand," said Andrea Carney, Brodeur
CEO. "Clients are not going away, but they're really shifting their
budgets on us up and down on a quarterly basis. I won't promise I won't
have to make any more layoffs."
In Washington, DC, Fenton Communications reduced its staff by 10%, or
six employees, to compensate for a loss in clients since September
The employees were both senior and junior staff, from VP to account
Several other jobs will remain unfilled for the time being, including an
SVP slot. Agency founder David Fenton blamed the slowdown on the
difficulty of breaking through a crisis-saturated media. "It's hard to
compete with anthrax," he said.
Porter Novelli also cut two staffers in its LA tech group, while Stanton
Crenshaw cut five people across its New York and California offices.
KVO, owned by Fleishman-Hillard, shut its doors in Mountain View,
It was not known at press time whether the affected staffers would be
offered other jobs within KVO or at Fleishman. KVO CEO Sharon VanSickle
said the closure was planned, but accelerated by the economy.
Agency CEOs agreed that the media relations, public affairs, and tech
areas are suffering most.