Consumer agencies forced to look at their headcounts

The economic downturn this week took its toll on the consumer PR sector as a number of agencies made significant job cuts.

Scaling back Cohn & Wolfe CEO Fiona Noble under pressure
Scaling back Cohn & Wolfe CEO Fiona Noble under pressure

Cohn & Wolfe is understood to have announced some red-undancies, while consumer shops Lexis, Brando and Borkowski have also been forced to make cuts.

Sources at WPP-owned Cohn & Wolfe confirmed that a redundancy process was under way. CEO Fiona Noble did not deny that jobs cuts were being made but declined to reveal the scale.

Industry sources suggested around ten per cent of its 150 staff, including four members of the consumer team, may be consulted.

Meanwhile, Lexis PR has made seven people redundant, with a board director and associate director among the casualties at the 100-strong agency. ‘We've made these cuts because we've seen client budgets increasingly under pressure,' said CEO Margot Raggett. ‘It is important that the PR industry responds to the financial crisis prudently.'

Borkowski has made two staff redundant as a result of losing client Zavvi (see page 3). Brando has also been forced to lose two consultants but MD Paul Lucas claimed: ‘It's not unusual for consumer agencies to realign headcount in the winter following traditional consumer campaign peaks during the spring and summer.' Lucas added: ‘This year is going to be a challenging one for everyone and we have had to make two staff members redundant.'

Other consumer agencies are known to be reducing headcounts through recruitment freezes and by failing to renew short-term contracts.

Until now, job cuts have been mainly restricted to fin-ancial and corporate PR agencies. City PR big hitters Brunswick and FD are among those to make redundancies.

This week's job cuts

Cohn & Wolfe has made an unspecified number of redundancies

Lexis PR has made seven people redundant

Brando has made two people redundant

has made two people redundant

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