NEW YORK: The pink slips flowed in PR agencies last week, with
another 54 people starting to fine-tune their resumes.
Cohn & Wolfe said goodbye to 30 of its 250-person staff last Tuesday,
with casualties mostly junior people in the tech and corporate
The agency's New York office was the hardest hit, losing 12 people.
Porter Novelli was also forced to let 12 people go in New York, the
latest in a series of cuts that has shaved 5% (65 jobs) from its work
FitzGerald Communications also lost 12 staffers, spread across its
Boston and San Francisco offices. The cuts represent a 6%
And Fleishman-Hillard admitted that it had made layoffs in its San
Francisco office, although West Coast president Doug Michelman refused
to be drawn on exact numbers.
Catherine Lugbauer, EVP of operations at Interpublic's Allied
Communications Group, revealed last week that IPG's Weber Shandwick
Worldwide has cut 139 people since the end of last year, mostly in the
newly-merged agency's tech practice.
Agency chiefs are philosophical about layoffs. 'We find ourselves in the
same condition as other top 25 PR firms,' Cohn & Wolfe CEO Steve Aiello
told PRWeek. 'Budgets have been cut for major clients, projects have
been postponed and there have been client losses, especially in tech and
Explainable it might be, but no one is underestimating the shock of the
current market. 'It's a very difficult thing,' said P-N's CEO, Bob
Druckenmiller, of his agency's layoffs. 'Who would have thought this
would happen a year ago, when we were scrambling to find people?'