FD cuts jobs as public affairs division feels financial strain

Top City and corporate PR agency FD intends to make around 12 people redundant, with its public affairs arm feeling the pain most acutely.

Packing up: FD is planning to make around 12 people redundant
Packing up: FD is planning to make around 12 people redundant

The consultancy, third in PRWeek’s 2008 Top 150 PR Consultancies report by fee income, blamed the faltering economy for the impending action.

A senior director at the firm confirmed it had entered a period of consultation. He said: ‘Like everyone else in the industry we have regrettably had to look at making some cost savings to ensure the continued strength of the business in the context of a more challenging economy.’

The director, who asked not to be named, acknowledged that the result of this process may involve ‘up to a dozen people’ leaving the firm’s UK operation. FD employs about 250 people in the UK.

FD declined to specify the business lines or seniority of the positions under threat, but it is understood that the firm’s public affairs business will be disproportionately affected. However, the director denied rumours that its public affairs division, previously called LLM, would lose 50 per cent of its staff.

FD is believed to have paid about £4m when it bought LLM in 2005 but the public affairs practice, once famed for its strong links to New Labour, was subsequently hit by the departures of key staff such as co-founder Jon Mendelsohn and MD Craig Leviton.

Meanwhile, Bell Pottinger plans to make three staff redundant. Chime Communications chairman Lord Bell said: ‘We do not intend to significantly cut our employment as things stand, but we are all in a world of great uncertainty.’

Last week PRWeek reported that technology PR specialist Waggener Edstrom is to make ten per cent of its UK staff redundant (PRWeek, 21 November). Other major agencies are understood to be considering job cuts, but many may choose to wait until the New Year.

Timeline

October 2008 FD-LLM rebrands to FD Public Affairs

April 2008 FD-LLM chairman David Cracknell leaves after only four months at firm

August 2007 FD-LLM co-founder Jon Mendelsohn quits

March 2007 FD-LLM MD Craig Leviton departs

January 2007 LLM renamed FD-LLM

July 2005 FD buys LLM Communications

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