Zeno Group cuts 25 positions in response to COVID economy

Senior managers and executives take salary reductions as firm trims workforce by 5%.

Zeno Group CEO Barby Siegel
Zeno Group CEO Barby Siegel

CHICAGO: Zeno Group has laid off 25 employees, furloughed others and enacted salary cuts. 

The firm’s cost-savings steps include a global headcount reduction of less than 5%, furloughs and temporary salary reductions for senior managers and company leaders, said Zeno CEO Barby Siegel, in a statement. 

“We unfortunately had to say goodbye to 25 people globally,” Siegel told PRWeek via email. “Temporary salary reductions differ by level and were handled on a market-by-market basis.... All members of the global leadership team have also agreed to a temporary salary reduction.” 

Siegel did not say how many people are being furloughed. 

The agency had 489 employees in 2019, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report, including 289 in the U.S. 

Siegel said in a statement that the agency is “strong at the core” and added that “virtually all of our clients remain with Zeno, albeit some at reduced levels given new economic realities.” She described the cost-cutting measures as a “reset” for an agency that saw “vibrant growth” before the pandemic. 

The firm is helping those affected with one-on-one services including financial counseling and well-being assistance.

Zeno is a standalone agency inside DJE Holdings alongside Edelman, United Entertainment Group and other shops. This week, Edelman laid off 390 staffers, or less than 7% of its workforce, and enacted salary reductions of 5% to 20% by compensation level. At the time, CEO Richard Edelman said there would be staff reductions at Zeno and UEG. Representatives of UEG did not respond to inquiries seeking comment. 

Zeno’s revenue grew 8% last year to $79.3 million, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report. The firm was also named U.S. Agency of the Year at the 2019 PRWeek Awards. 

PR firms from Interpublic Group, Omnicom Group and WPP have also eliminated positions and introduced cost-cutting measures in response to the pandemic.

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