ROCKVILLE, MD: Just five months after its acquisition by Omnicom,
healthcare specialty shop Matthews Media Group (MMG) has joined the
ranks of agencies forced to make staff cuts.
CEO Molly Matthews said the eight eliminated positions were not part of
any downward trend, but rather an attempt to "right-size." "We felt that
some of our people maybe weren't matched to the business we have," she
offered, "and eight out of 180 (employees) really isn't much."
However, several industry insiders called the layoffs an anomaly, citing
the current strength of MMG's core practice: patient recruitment for
clinical trials. Porter Novelli CEO Bob Druckenmiller was among those
expressing surprise. Last July his firm launched its own patient
recruitment arm, Patients 1st, which Druckenmiller said was expanding
its work force to meet demand.
However, such recent offerings as Patients 1st highlight the increased
competition that is likely another factor in MMG's difficulties. A
number of new players have come on the scene in the past few years,
making it harder to secure contracts and find patients, who some say are
being scared away by recent negative press surrounding clinical
Though no top executives were included in the layoffs, a number have
left the firm in the past year, among them CFO Sean Al-Temeemi, EVP Bob
Fries, SVP Ruth Jordan, and VPs Rich James and Mark Randolph.
MMG, a $9 million firm, signed a $23 million contract with
the National Cancer Institute in April.