No one in advertising likes to hear the R-word: restructuring. For BBH New York‘s 120-employee office, restructuring means laying off approximately 25 to 30 per cent of its office, Ad Age reports.
In spite of its big accounts — including Google, the Weather Channel, and Axe — BBH NY is described by Ad Age as a struggling agency.
Although it lost the Sprite account in April when Coke moved to Leo Burnett, BBH Group CEO Gwyn Jones told Ad Age that changes have more to do with clients decreasing their ad spend budget overall.
Word began spreading on Madison Avenue earlier this week, and it’s now confirmed, that BBH NY CEO Greg Anderson was out. Other employees are following suit.
Here’s how Jones — who gained power in July after Publicis became its full owner — explained the “restructuring” to staff in an email acquired by AgencySpy:
“We have had a very up and down year in New York. Some real breakthroughs and creative highs for clients like AXE, Google, Cole Haan, UNICEF and our recent appointment to The Weather Channel Companies, all under the creative leadership of John Patroulis – coupled with some real challenges on the business side: the loss of Sprite earlier in the year, and some unexpected and significant volatility recently in revenues from existing clients.
In this context we think it is the right time to push ahead with a restructuring of the business, reflecting the need all agencies face to keep their cost base as variable as possible, and as part of this, we will be forced to announce a number of redundancies. We are not disclosing the number of people affected but, given these circumstances, CEO Greg Andersen, who helped evolve BBH into an agency built for the modern media landscape, has volunteered to resign and pursue other opportunities that have been presented to him, and we have accepted his resignation. Furthermore, as part of the wider restructure, Managing Director Richard Stainer is shortly set to return to the UK where he is in in talks with the London office about a role.
We are extremely fortunate to have, in our Chairman Emma Cookson, someone who has been at the agency in New York since it opened its doors 14 years ago and who is uniquely equipped to bring continuity and to partner with John and Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Watson in leading the agency forward.
Obviously you never want to have to announce job losses, and those impacted by this news are not just colleagues but friends and valued members of the BBH family. We will do our best to help them find new positions in New York and throughout the BBH network. But this is advertising and we live in particularly uncertain times. We will dust ourselves down, we believe this move will make us stronger.”
Emphasis is ours.
Do you work at BBH? Email [email protected] with any insights.
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