More firms added to staff-cut roster

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

practices.



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

force.



FitzGerald Communications also lost 12 staffers, spread across its

Boston and San Francisco offices. The cuts represent a 6%

contraction.



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

corporate.'



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?'



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