CHICAGO: Edelman has shown that it, too, has suffered from the
current economic downturn, announcing plans to slash its worldwide work
force by 3%, representing 60 positions across the company.
Spurred by the slowing economy and a decrease in projected fee revenue
for 2001, the Edelman cuts were not specific to any practice area or
region, according to president and COO Pam Talbot.
However, most of the positions eliminated were in the US. The
three-person Houston office has been closed; the lean Milwaukee staff
was further whittled; and Seattle, once a hotbed for consumer Internet
clients, also lost a substantial number of employees.
Talbot emphasized the layoffs were not spurred by client losses, but
were 'proactive measures'.
'We actually could have kept going as we were,' she said, noting new
business wins from Kraft, GE and Corbis. 'But when it became clear that
we would not be able to achieve the 25% growth rates we originally
projected for fiscal year 2001, and that these would be coming in at a
more reasonable 15%, it made sense to adjust staffing and to act now to
In addition to the layoffs, Edelman has temporarily reduced the salaries
of its executive management team, transferred some employees to its
sister agency, PR21, and eliminated many 'non-essential' corporate
initiatives, such as agency marketing and promotion. Other money-saving
measures include a reduction in the use of freelancers and a tightening
of out-of-pocket expenses.
With annual revenues of about dollars 225 million and offices in North
America, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, Edelman, presided by
Richard Edelman, is the world's largest independent PR agency, and the
sixth largest overall.