It has been confirmed today (Aug 22) that the firm is to scale down its central London base with around seven staff, including directors Jonathan Hopkins and Neil Honor, accepting voluntary redundancy.
The remaining six-strong team, which will be headed by director Kevin Redfern, is to move into Edelman's London offices although PR21 will remain a separate company within the DJ Edelman group .
Jerry Epstein, PR21’s New York based president and CEO, said that the scaling down of the operation follows a two to three-month review into the finances of the London operation.
He said that the review had found that the firm had been hit hard by the global economic downturn. He said: ‘Almost everyone has faced that, I guess it was our turn this time.’
Epstein, who is at the London base this week, also confirmed that Kaye, who has headed the consumer specialist firm since it was launched three years ago (PRWeek, 8 September, 2000), had this week resigned.
Sources say that Kaye decided to leave as the future direction of the firm has been in doubt for, ‘a long while now.’
‘There was lots of talk…will we consolidate with Edelman? It was unclear,’ the source added.
Epstein confirmed that before her resignation a plan to merge PR21 with Edelman’s consumer operation had been mooted, with Kaye taking another senior role.
Epstein said that this merger option was rejected. ‘There was discussion at one point that it made sense to merge but it was felt was that the brand PR21 can and will be able to continue…we will keep a line separating the two companies.’
He said that while it was possible for Edelman and PR21 to work together on briefs he did not rule out the possibility of the two firms competing for the same account.
It is understood that Kaye is to stay in the PR industry. Redfern, meanwhile, is now in talks over his new role and title.
He will report directly to Epstein and will attempt to build the firm’s healthcare and consumer client base. Epstein said he is looking to recruit a senior healthcare specialist to assist Redfern.
Current clients in the UK include BNFL, Conduit and the National Union of Teachers.