Edelman is latest top firm to hand out the pink slips

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

control costs.'



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.



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