Weber Shandwick ousts five senior leaders

The firm described the departures as "a small staff reduction."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: Weber Shandwick has let five senior executives go in what the agency is describing as "a small staff reduction." 

Matthew Robson, SVP of digital and client experience, left the agency at the end of last month, as did at least three others in January, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The other exiting executives were Brett Pulley, EVP and MD of corporate content and media strategy; David Krejci, EVP of media intelligence for the global corporate issues practice; and Brooke Shepard, EVP and global insights community leader. 

Ken Kerrigan, EVP of corporate reputation and brand, confirmed last week he has also left Weber

Gail Heimann, president and CEO of Weber, said that making the reductions "was a very difficult decision and made with a great deal of deliberation and care."

The agency confirmed there were layoffs, but declined to comment on the number or about the timing.

"Weber Shandwick made a small staff reduction recently as we continue to transform our talent base to best deliver for our clients," said Jill Tannenbaum, chief marketing and communications officer at the agency. "In an era of rapidly shifting market dynamics, we must be nimble and forward-looking in order to continue to accelerate our business, while tackling our clients’ biggest challenges. While appropriate for the agency, this is never an easy decision. We are committed to helping those affected transition smoothly to the next phase of their career."

Robson did not disclose details about his departure except to confirm he has left Weber. Krejci could not be reached for comment. Shepard did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Pulley declined to comment.

Asked if the changes reflect a shift away from corporate communications, Tannenbaum said the agency is not de-emphasizing the practice. 

"Corporate communications has never been more important," she said, via email. "What we are focused on is having the right talent mix to address the evolved client challenges we see today, to drive continued growth and anticipate the opportunities to deliver for clients and our people in the future."

There have also been senior departures at Weber in Europe. U.K. chief executive Rachel Friend said in January that she is leaving the agency, two years after moving into the top role in the country. Weber is also looking for a London-based executive creative director after its EMEA creative chief, James Nester, moved to Germany for an expanded role.

Last month, the agency also launched its own proprietary technology platform, called A-Hub, staffed with physicists, hedge fund researchers and scientists.

Weber’s revenue increased by 5% in 2018 to $846 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report. The firm is a part of Interpublic Group’s Constituency Management Group, which posted low-single-digit growth in Q3 2019 on both an as-reported and organic basis. The holding company is set to report its Q4 and full-year 2019 numbers this month.

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