Hill+Knowlton Strategies cuts staff in response to COVID-19

Fewer than 5% of global employees have been affected.

Hill+Knowlton global chairman and CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva
Hill+Knowlton global chairman and CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva

NEW YORK: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has taken measures to reduce staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The cuts affect less than 5% of staffers globally, according to a spokesperson for the firm. The WPP agency is also reducing other operational costs. 

Hill+Knowlton had 2,250 employees globally and 450 in the U.S. last year, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2020.

“We can confirm we have taken actions to reduce operational and staff costs within the business,” the agency said in an emailed statement. “In these challenging times, H+K will continue to prioritize the health of our colleagues, providing exceptional service to our clients and the financial health of our business.”

The agency declined to provide additional specifics about the types of reductions implemented. 

WPP reported a 1.4% Q1 like-for-like revenue decline in its PR division, which includes H+K, BCW, Finsbury and Buchanan. For the entire holding company, Q1 like-for-like revenue, which excludes pass-through costs, fell 3.3%. 

The holding company also said in April that it had introduced a wide range of cost-cutting and cash-saving measures, such as freezing hires, reviewing freelance spending and postponing planned salary increases for 2020. More than 3,000 people with salaries above a certain threshold also committed to giving up 10% to 20% of their salary for an initial three-month period, the holding company said at the time. 

Last year, H+K’s revenue dropped 9% to $366 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report, as SJR spun off into a standalone content shop within WPP.

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