Porter Novelli lays off senior execs in NY, Chicago

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli recently laid off about a dozen senior executives, according to industry sources.

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli recently laid off about a dozen senior executives, according to industry sources.

The departures include senior members of Porter's digital team, Brad McCormick, EVP of digital media, and John Havens, EVP of social media.

Porter CEO Gary Stockman said the firm laid off executives in New York and Chicago a few weeks ago but declined to name them. “It was to align our teams against clients,” he said. Stockman would not confirm the number of those laid off.

McCormick was appointed to Porter's digital team three years ago. He joined from Ruder Finn Interactive, where he was a founding member and SVP. Havens joined two years ago from BlogTalkRadio, where he served as VP of business development. McCormick continues to consult for the agency, while Havens is currently consulting independently on emerging and social media projects.

Stockman said the agency is “very committed to digital,” and that no one leads the discipline because it is infused throughout the firm.

Peter Pitts, whose most recent title at the agency was director of global regulatory and health policy, was also let go. Pitts, a former associate commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, is also the president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest think tank. Susan Hayes currently leads the firm's healthcare practice.

Earlier this month, Omnicom Group, Porter's parent company, reported a slight uptick in organic PR revenue growth of 1.3% for the second quarter, which ended June 30.

In February, Porter acquired technology and social media firm Voce Communications, a $12-million PR agency. At the time, Stockman said he expected the acquisition to strengthen Porter's offering in San Francisco. The agency planned to merge its existing technology practice with 30 Voce employees in San Francisco. Stockman said the layoffs were not related to the acquisition.

Porter recently moved into new offices at 7 World Trade Center in New York.

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